The Inspiration Behind the Monkees Hit Davy Jones Didn’t Understand

by Jeremy Spirogis
Davy Jones of the Monkees by a Union Jakc/British flag

For a bubblegum pop group, the Monkees could possibly be quite indirect. Their movie Head is famously surreal. In addition, a few of their songs have lyrics which are onerous to grasp.

The Monkees’ music was a product of its period. In the 1960s, bands just like the Byrds and the Beatles have been having hits with odd lyrics and the Monkees’ catalog replicate that. In truth, Davy Jones himself didn’t perceive the that means of one of many Monkees’ largest hits.

Davy Jones of the Monkees by a Union Jakc/British flag
Davy Jones | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Monkees track impressed by a lazy day

“Daydream Believer” is without doubt one of the Monkees’ most enduring songs. Jones’ spirited singing and the track’s piano riff are memorable. However, what on earth is it about? Who is Jean and what’s all this discuss of a bluebird and a six o’clock alarm?

The track’s author, John Stewart (to not be confused with the pundit of the identical identify) supposed the track as a part of a trilogy. He informed American Songwriter “I remember writing ‘Daydream Believer’ very clearly. For some reason I was writing songs all day, every day…I remember going to be thinking, ‘What a wasted day — all I’ve done is daydream.’”

Stewart’s unproductive day led him to jot down “Daydream Believer.” The track’s inspiration — Stewart’s daydreams — explains why a number of the imagery within the track is nonsensical. Stewart was later upset when the Monkees’ model of the observe modified a single phrase of the unique track. 

How Arista Records modified the lyrics of ‘Daydream Believer’

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“Daydream Believer” by the Monkees

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Stewart recalled “I by no means thought it was certainly one of my greatest songs. Not in any respect. And then after I heard the Monkees do it, I stated, ‘My God! The line was presupposed to be, ‘You as soon as considered me as a white knight on his steed/now you understand how funky life might be.’ You know, after the marriage how issues can get funky?”

However, the lyrics have been modified to “Now you know how happy I can be.” According to Stereogum, it is because the Monkees’ document label Arista Records, didn’t like using the phrase “funky.” It’s notable the track was launched earlier than funk hit its peak reputation within the 1970s.

The impression of ‘Daydream Believer’

Davy Jones of the Monkees in a suitDavy Jones of the Monkees in a suit
Davy Jones | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

RELATED: How Misheard Beatles Lyrics Inspired One of the Monkees’ Hits

The hit model of the track didn’t replicate Stewart’s authentic intent, nonetheless, it proved fairly profitable. According to the e-book More Songwriters on Songwriting, Stewart lived off royalties from “Daydream Believer” for over twelve months. More cash began rolling in when Anne Murray lined the track years later.

Stewart isn’t the one just one who had some points with “Daydream Believer.” According to Mental Floss, Jones wasn’t certain what it meant. Part of this was as a result of, as an Englishman, he wasn’t conversant in the time period “homecoming queen.” In addition, he needed to sing the track in a key with which he was not snug. After the track turned successful, Jones determined the track may not have been so unhealthy.

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