Top 10 Monkees Songs

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10. "Valleri" (1968)

Monkees Valleri
The Monkees - "Valleri". Courtesy Colgems

Written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, "Valleri" was originally recorded in 1966 and included in The Monkees TV show in 1967. However, it was never officially released. In 1968, with the Monkees in control of their own artistic process and producing their own music, "Valleri" was re-recorded with an added brass section to be included on the album The Birds, The Bees, and the Monkees. Mike Nesmith was against releasing "Valleri" as a single, but he was overruled. It became a #3 pop hit and was the group's final top 10 pop hit.

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9. "D.W. Washburn" (1968)

Monkees D.W. Washburn
The Monkees - "D.W. Washburn". Courtesy Colgems

"D.W. Washburn" was the first single released by the Monkees following cancellation of their TV series. Without the promotion via the weekly show, the song failed to make the pop top 10. It was written by the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It remains a good example of a folky style often favored by the group when in control of the recording process. Without support from their TV show, "D.W. Washburn" only reached #19 on the pop charts.

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8. "That Was Then, This Is Now" (1986)

Monkees That Was Then This Is Now
The Monkees - "That Was Then This Is Now". Courtesy Rhino

Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees recorded "That Was Then, This Is Now" in 1986 as part of a wave of 20th anniversary celebrations of the group's music. It rode the burst of nostalgia on to the pop charts and climbed into the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. In response to the new success, Davy Jones joined Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz to record the album Pool It! for release in 1987. It peaked at #72 on the album chart.

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7. "Porpoise Song" (1968)

Monkees Porpoise Song
The Monkees - "Porpoise Song". Courtesy Colgems

Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote "Porpoise Song" for the Monkees' feature film Head. It utilizes psychedelic rock styling with echo distortion of the lead vocals. Chimes, bells, and water sounds are all used in the mix. The Monkees produced the song themselves along with Gerry Goffin. "Porpoise Song" was a relative commercial failure, along with the movie, but represents the group as an intact musical unit with their own artistic direction. "Porpoise Song" appears twice in the movie Head at the beginning and end. It peaked at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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6. "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (1966)

Monkees More of the Monkees
The Monkees - More Of the Monkees. Courtesy RCA

"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" is the B-side for the Monkees' biggest hit single "I'm a Believer." It became a hit on its own peaking at #20 on the pop chart. The song was written and produced by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. It was first recorded by the pop group Paul Revere and the Raiders. "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" was notoriously covered by legendary punk band the Sex Pistols.

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5. "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" (1967)

Monkees A Little Bit Me A Little Bit You
The Monkees - "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You". Courtesy RCA

"A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" was the second Neil Diamond song released as a single by the Monkees. It was the group's first single to feature Davy Jones on lead vocals. Reportedly "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" was recorded with no input by any of the Monkees beyond Davy Jones, and they do not appear on the record. The record inflamed the conflict between the Monkees and record label personnel over artistic control of the group's music. Music executive Don Kirshner was fired over the issuing of "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" as an unauthorized single. The record was initially pulled from distribution but then reissued with a new B-side since fans and radio stations had already jumped on the song as the band's next release.

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4. "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (1967)

Monkees Pleasant Valley Sunday
The Monkees - "Pleasant Valley Sunday". Courtesy RCA

The legendary songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote "Pleasant Valley Sunday," a piece of social commentary about status symbols and suburbia. The inspiration for the name of the song was a street named Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange, New Jersey. In an effort to gain some control of the recording process Mike Nesmith invited producer Chip Douglas to helm the production. "Pleasant Valley Sunday" featured musical input from the entire group and landed at #3 on the pop singles chart. It also climbed to #11 on the pop singles chart in the UK.

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3. "Daydream Believer" (1967)

Monkees Daydream Believer
The Monkees - "Daydream Believer". Courtesy RCA

John Stewart of the legendary folk group the Kingston Trio wrote "Daydream Believer." Producer Chip Douglas brought the song to the attention of the Monkees. It is his voice that interacts with lead vocalist Davy Jones on the humorous spoken word intro. "Daydream Believer" was the final #1 pop hit single by the group spending four weeks at the top of the charts. Canadian singer Anne Murray covered the song in 1979 and reached #12 on the US pop chart. In the wave of Monkees nostalgia in the 1980s, a remixed recording of "Daydream Believer" was released as a single and peaked at #79 on the pop chart.

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2. "Last Train To Clarksville" (1966)

Monkees Last Train to Clarksville
The Monkees - "Last Train To Clarksville". Courtesy Colgems

The Monkees debut single "Last Train To Clarksville" was written and produced by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The pair had such a close connection to the success of the group that they formed a group and toured with Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones in the mid 1970s playing classic Monkees songs. The musical style of the song has been compared to the Beatles' hit "Paperback Writer." "Last Train To Clarksville" was a #1 hit song two months after the TV show The Monkees debuted in September 1966. Although not explicit in the song, many assumed the lyrics refer to a soldier leaving to fight in the Vietnam War.

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1. "I'm a Believer" (1966)

Monkees I'm a Believer
The Monkees - "I'm a Believer". Courtesy RCA

"I'm a Believer" was written by Neil Diamond. He originally recorded the song himself, but when the Monkees released it as the first single from their More Of the Monkees album in November 1966, it quickly went to #1. "I'm a Believer" remained at #1 for seven weeks and was the bestselling record of the year for 1967. It is estimated to have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Jeff Barry, a veteran of classic girl group and Phil Spector efforts, produced "I'm a Believer." Among the top session musicians who appear on the record are Al Gorgoni, Sal Ditroia, Dick Romoff, and Artie Butler. The pop-rock group Smash Mouth covered "I'm a Believer" in 2001 on the Shrek soundtrack and hit #25 on the pop singles chart.