California Dreamin'

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"California Dreamin'"
Single by The Mamas & the Papas
from the album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
B-side "Somebody Groovy"
Released December 8, 1965
Format Vinyl record (7") 45 RPM
Recorded November 4, 1965 Western Recorders, Hollywood, CA
Genre Psychedelic pop, folk rock
Length 2:38
Label Dunhill Records
Writer(s) John Phillips, Michelle Phillips
Producer(s) Lou Adler
The Mamas & the Papas singles chronology
"Go Where You Wanna Go"
(1965)
"California Dreamin'"
(1965)
"Monday, Monday"
(1966)
The Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'" from their debut album, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.

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"California Dreamin'" is a song written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips and first recorded by The Mamas & the Papas, released as a single in 1965. The song is #89 in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1] The lyrics of the song express the narrator's longing for the warmth of California during a cold winter.

The song became a signpost of the arrival of the nascent counterculture era.[2][3]

"California Dreamin' " was certified as a Gold Record (single) by the RIAA in June, 1966,[4] and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.[5]

History[edit]

The song was written in 1963 while John Phillips and Michelle Phillips were living in New York. He dreamed about the song and woke her up to help him write it. At the time, John and Michelle Phillips 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 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 and backing vocal tracks to which they added new vocals[6] and an alto flute solo by Bud Shank. P. F. Sloan did the guitar introduction.[7] McGuire's original vocal can be briefly heard on the left channel at the beginning of the record, having not been completely wiped.[8]

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.[9] After making its chart debut in January, 1966,[10] the song peaked at #4 in March on both the Hot 100, lasting 17 weeks, and Cashbox, lasting 20 weeks.[11] Sharply dividing the popular music market that month, rivals "California Dreamin'" and "Ballad of the Green Berets" eventually tied for the #1 record of 1966, according to Cashbox. "California Dreamin'" also reached #23 on the UK charts.

Other versions[edit]

Some high profile artists who have recorded this song include R.E.M., The Beach Boys, America (two versions), Wes Montgomery, Gary Hoey, Dead Artist Syndrome, José Feliciano (B-side on his 1968 hit single Light My Fire), The Carpenters, Baby Huey & the Babysitters, the Four Tops, Melanie, Bobby Womack, Queen Latifah, The Seekers, George Benson, Hugh Masekela, Eddie Hazel, Raquel Welch, Benn Jordan, Wilson Phillips, Dik Dik and John Phillips without The Mamas & the Papas. In 1978, a disco version proved popular in European clubs for Italian project Colorado, reaching 45 on the British charts,[12][13] and house cover versions have been released by DJ Sammy and Royal Gigolos. The John Mayer Trio covered "California Dreamin'" on the June 4, 2009 episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. A more uptempo version was recorded by the Japanese punk band Hi-Standard as was the recording by the band Seven Faces. Their "California Dreamin'" EP was released on Fat Wreck Chords in 1996. In 1987, Orange County-based punk band M.I.A. released a version of the song on their "After the Fact" LP. In 2004 Lutricia McNeal released her recording of the song[14][15] on her album titled Soulsister Ambassador. Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song as a bonus track for their 2007 video game Alvin and the Chipmunks.

The Liverpool folk quartet River City People recorded a version of California Dreaming as a double A sided single with Carry the Blame in 1990, reaching number 13 on the official UK top 40 singles chart.

The punk/metal band Mower did a version for their CD "Not for you" (2006).

South Korean professional acoustic finger-style guitarist Sungha Jung plays this song on his 2010 debut album, "Perfect Blue", since the song was a considerable hit on South Korean radio in 1996.

Russian rock band Mumiy Troll recorded the rough translation of a song named "Калифорния Снится" (Kaliforniya Snitsya).

Rock legend Meat Loaf recorded the song on his 2012 album Hell in a Handbasket with Patti Russo.

The Beach Boys version[edit]

"California Dreamin'"
Single by The Beach Boys
from the album Made in U.S.A.
B-side "Lady Liberty"
Released 1986
Format Vinyl
Recorded May 1986
Genre Rock
Length 3:10
Label Capitol Records
Producer(s) Terry Melcher
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Rock 'n' Roll to the Rescue"
(1986)
"California Dreamin"
(1986)
"Happy Endings"
(1987)
(With Little Richard)
---
"Kokomo"
(1988)

The Beach Boys recorded a second version of "California Dreamin'" in 1986 for their greatest hits compilation Made in U.S.A.. It was produced by Terry Melcher and featured Roger McGuinn from The Byrds on 12-string guitar. John Phillips, Michelle Phillips and McGuinn appear in the video. Denny Doherty was on the East coast and declined; Cass Elliot had died in 1974. This version of the song was referenced in the lyrics to The Dead Milkmen's 1988 novelty hit "Punk Rock Girl".

The song performed moderately well hitting no. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #8 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary.[16]

Use in media[edit]

The song was used in American Pop, the 1981 American animated musical drama film produced and directed by Ralph Bakshi.

The song is used repeatedly in the 1994 Wong Kar-wai film Chungking Express, in which a character played by singer Faye Wong obsessively listens to it. The original song by The Mamas & the Papas was also used in the soundtrack on the Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning film Forrest Gump. A version by the band The Bald Eagles was used for the remake of the movie The Hills Have Eyes. In the movie Congo the song is sung by members of an expedition as they prepare rafts for an ill-fated river trek.

"California Dreamin'", as covered by Bobby Womack (1968), features prominently in 2009 British film Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold, where the main character Mia dances to it and uses it as her audition piece. The collection CD on which the song appears also plays a role, and is "The Best of Bobby Womack" (2008), on which "California Dreamin'" appears on track 17, as Mia requests at her audition.

The song was also featured prominently in the movie, Quiet Cool, in which the character Joshua listens to it on his portable cassette player. [17]

The song was also used in the South Park episode 201.

In the British time travelling sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart, one of the main characters, Phoebe, sang this song, thinking it had been written by her husband, Gary Sparrow. (Gary Sparrow travels from the 1990s to the 1940s and claims to write songs, which are actually songs from popular bands or singers, such as "Yesterday" by The Beatles and "Imagine" by John Lennon.)

A cover of the song by Shaw Blades was used in the final scene of the season 2 finale of Californication.

The song is used in promos for HBO Films' Cinema Verite.

In 2001, the song was featured in an Australian TV commercial for Butter-Menthol throat lozenges.[18]

In 2004, the Mexican bank Banamex used the theme for a TV Commercial.

In 2003, was used in a sketch for The Sketch Show.

The song is used several times in the 1980 comedy The Hollywood Knights.

A version performed by Belgian women's choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers is used on a California Lottery commercial to promote Powerball. The same version is used by Los Angeles-based rap-rock band Hollywood Undead as their walk-out song at live concerts.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 16, 2007. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Eagles, Fleetwood Mac Selected for Hall of Fame | Music News". Rolling Stone. 1997-10-28. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  3. ^ Susan Stamberg (2002-07-08). "'California Dreamin,' Present at the Creation (Archived Radio Program)". NPR.org. NPR. Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  4. ^ "California Dreamin'". RIAA.com. The Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2014-07-11. "The RIAA Database may require user input" 
  5. ^ "California Dreamin'". grammy.org. The Recoding Academy. Retrieved 2014-07-11. "CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' The Mamas And The Papas Dunhill (1966) (Single) Inducted 2001" 
  6. ^ "Show 33 - Revolt of the Fat Angel: American musicians respond to the British invaders. [Part 1]". The University of North Texas Digital Library. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  7. ^ Dan Daily (July 1, 2004). "Classic Tracks: The Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreamin'"". Mix Magazine. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ Rock Family Trees, BBC, interview with McGuire, 1999. McGuire's original harmonica solo can also just be made out under the flute solo.
  9. ^ "California Dreamin'". npr.org. July 8, 2002. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  10. ^ Steve Sullivan (4 October 2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings. Scarecrow Press. pp. 483–. ISBN 978-0-8108-8296-6. 
  11. ^ Bronson, Fred (1988). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (This source shows the song peaking at #5) (Paperback ed.). New York: Billboard Publications, Inc. p. 195. ISBN 0-8230-7545-1. 
  12. ^ "Colorado (2): California Dreaming/Space Lady Love". Discogs. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Colorado". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Lutricia McNeal - California Dreaming on YouTube". December 6, 2010. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Lutricia McNeal - California Dreaming lyrics". December 6, 2010. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  16. ^ "AllMusic 'Made in U.S.A' awards". AllMusic. 
  17. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091815/soundtrack
  18. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nks_-NjmoVI

External links[edit]