Wednesday, April 17, 2024

EXCLUSIVE The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz is Still a Believer in Grammy Lifetime Honoree Neil Diamond


The Grammys are coming Sunday January 28th on CBS. Micky Dolenz wrote this about Neil Diamond, who was recently named as a Lifetime Achievement honoree. He wanted to share this with us exclusively.

special byline: by MICKY DOLENZ

I first heard Neil Diamond’s “I’m A Believer” in mid-October 1966, when his producer, Jeff Barry, played it for me and the other Monkees, the phenomenal track that Barry had recently cut with Neil on acoustic guitar. Neil had already had a couple of hits on the radio that year—“Cherry, Cherry” and “Solitary Man”—but this was to be one of the biggest records of both his and my career. It came out just a few weeks after I sang the lead vocal; and by Christmas of ’66, it was headed for the #1 slot on Billboard, Cash Box and Record World. It went on to become a worldwide smash in 1967 for The Monkees. A timeless classic, Neil brought it back to the charts in his own re-recorded version in 1971, but these days I mostly have to tell kids that I sang it long before Shrek! Smash Mouth, of course, took “Believer” to the top as a part of that movie in 2001.

Neil also wrote “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow),” which was on The Monkees’ second album, More of the Monkees, and the success of that and “I’m A Believer” inspired him to write our next single. “A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You” was recorded in late January 1967, and became a huge hit just a few weeks later. My late great buddy, Davy Jones, sang the lead on “A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You,” and I honor him and Neil by singing it now at all of my solo shows. Always taking time to mention how blessed we were to work with so many gifted songwriters, like Neil.

And that brings us up to present day. The final Neil Diamond song written for The Monkees was one called, “Love to Love.” After two back-to-back Neil Diamond smash singles, The Monkees went on to record and play our own album, Headquarters. With the group’s hectic schedules at that time, we never finished “Love to Love.”

In 2016, however, Michael and Peter and I reconvened to finish the track that Neil had started with Davy and producer Jeff Barry forty-nine years earlier! It ended up being a standout song on our Top 10 album, Good Times; our last Neil Diamond classic, and my last chance to sing with Davy Jones. Thank you, Neil, for giving me and everyone else so many good times and great hits throughout the years.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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