Produced by Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, who drums on the track, Wyatt's Believer hurtles along to Dave MacCrae's pounding piano and features lots of prog-rock guitar noodling by Fred Frith, who also contributes a violin solo. (This sort of thing was allowed in pop songs in 1974, apparently.) Meanwhile, in light of Wyatt's recent personal tragedy, Diamond's lyrics — "What's the use of trying?/All you get is pain/When I needed sunshine/I got rain" — carry additional emotional heft, while the song's central theme of overcoming hardship and transcending misery is genuinely inspirational coming from an artist who was doing just that.
Yet Wyatt isn't proud of I'm A Believer, released two months after his expressionistic masterpiece, Rock Bottom. In a 1996 interview, he revealed he was being pushed into recording radio-friendly singles by his then-label, Virgin.
"I didn't really mean to do that one," Wyatt told interviewer Richie Unterberger. "I thought, well, what should I do that's just like the most unhip thing you can possibly think of? But, that's really nice (laughs)? And I thought of the Monkees doing Last Train to Clarksville or something like that. But then, I couldn't remember the title, and I did I'm A Believer. I'm not full of malice, but I do dislike Neil Diamond a lot, and I'm sorry that I've done a Neil Diamond song. If I lived my life over again, I would leave them to the master (laughs)."The master, however, is having the last laugh. Diamond recently revealed, of all the songs he's written, and all the hits he's charted, I'm A Believer has been the most lucrative.
I'm A Believer (link expired)
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