Wednesday, February 23, 2011

California Dreamin': The Mamas & The Papas

MUSIC Wednesday
Written by
: John Phillips & Michelle Phillips
: 1965
: November 1965

Album: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
Label: Dunhill Records
I am in the mood for some of that early 1960s California sound from The Mamas & the Papas. It's February in Montreal, winter's breath still upon our faces, and many people here are dreaming of warmer times, still a couple of months away. This one does the ticket. The song is about the longing for the warmth of California. In Rolling Stones magazine 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time, it ranks no. 89.

Some liner notes, from Wikipedia:
According to John Phillips in a Bravo documentary, and Michelle Phillips in an NPR piece, the song was written in 1963 while they were living in New York. He dreamed about the song and woke her up to help him write it. At the time, the Phillipses were members of the folk group The New Journeymen which evolved into The Mamas & the Papas.
They earned their first record contract after being introduced to Lou Adler, the head of Dunhill Records, by the singer Barry McGuire. In thanks to Adler, they sang the backing vocals to "California Dreamin'" on McGuire's album This Precious Time. The Mamas and the Papas then recorded their own version, using the same instrumental backing track to which they added new vocals and an alto flute solo by Bud Shank.

McGuire's original vocal can be briefly heard on the left channel at the beginning of the record, having not been completely wiped.[2] The single was released in late 1965 but it was not an immediate breakthrough. After gaining little attention in Los Angeles upon its release, Michelle Phillips remembers that it took a radio station in Boston to break the song nationwide.[3] By early 1966, the song peaked at #4 and stayed on the charts for 17 weeks.

The Mamas and the Papas: Album Cover: If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears: 1966.
California Dreamin'
By John Phillips & Michelle Phillips

All the leaves are brown
and the sky is grey
I've been for a walk
on a winter's day

I'd be safe and warm
if I was in L.A
California Dreamin'
on such a winter's day

Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
well, I got down on my knees
and I pretend to pray 

You know the preacher likes the cold
he knows I'm gonna stay
California Dreamin'
on such a winter's day

All the leaves are brown
and the sky is grey
I've been for a walk
on a winter's day

if I didn't tell her
I could leave today
California Dreamin'
on such a winter's day x3

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