If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears

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If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1966
Recorded1965 – 1966
GenrePop rock, folk rock, psychedelic pop, sunshine pop
ProducerLou Adler
The Mamas & the Papas chronology
If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
The Mamas & the Papas
Singles from If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
  1. "Go Where You Wanna Go"
    Released: 1965
  2. "California Dreamin'"
    Released: September 1965
  3. "Monday, Monday"
    Released: March 1966
  4. "Do You Wanna Dance?"
    Released: 1968

If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears is the 1966 debut album by The Mamas & the Papas (erroneously spelled "The Mama's and the Papa's" on the cover). In 2003, it was ranked #127[1] on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, with its rank rising to #112 in the 2012 revision.

The stereo mix of the album is included in its entirety on All the Leaves are Brown (2001), a 2-CD retrospective compilation of the band's first four albums and various singles, as well as on The Mamas & the Papas Complete Anthology (2004), a 4-CD box set collection released in the UK.

The mono mix of the album was remastered and reissued on vinyl by Sundazed Records in 2010, and on CD the following year.

Cover art[edit]

If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears is one of the first albums to have several different covers:[citation needed]

Cover #1: The original cover (shown at the right) features the group in a bathroom, sitting in a bathtub with a toilet in the corner. These were pulled from stores after the toilet was declared indecent;[citation needed] they have since become valuable in the collector's market with one copy selling at auction for $300.[2]
Cover #2: Most of the toilet bowl is covered with a scroll listing the presence of "California Dreamin'" on the album
Cover #3: Two additional songs from the album are shown on the scroll: "Monday, Monday" and "I Call Your Name"
Cover #4: Same as #3 but with a Gold Record Award blurb added (in black) to the left of the group
Cover #5: Black cover with closely cropped shot of the group removed any hint that the picture was taken in a bathroom.

The cover art was produced and shot by photographer Guy Webster.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone4.5/5 stars[4]

The album received a positive retrospective review in Rolling Stone, where critic Rob Sheffield remarked "The Mamas and the Papas celebrated all the sin and sleaze of Sixties L.A. with folksy harmonies, acoustic guitars and songs that told inquiring minds way more than they wanted to know. And on their January 1966 debut, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, they somehow made it all sound groovy." He described the album as a dark look at L.A. culture which sounds accessible and optimistic thanks in large part to Lou Adler's production.[4] Bruce Eder wrote in Allmusic that the album "embraced folk-rock, pop/rock, pop, and soul, and also reflected the kind of care that acts like the Beatles were putting into their records at the time." He added that it had a stronger polish than The Mamas and the Papas' other albums, in part because it predated the personal conflicts which tainted their later works.[3] The album was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[5]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
  1. "Monday, Monday" (John Phillips) – 3:28
  2. "Straight Shooter" (J. Phillips) – 2:58
  3. "Got a Feelin'" (J. Phillips, Denny Doherty) – 2:53
  4. "I Call Your Name" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 2:38
  5. "Do You Wanna Dance" (Bobby Freeman) – 3:00
  6. "Go Where You Wanna Go" (J. Phillips) – 2:29
Side two
  1. "California Dreamin'" (J. Phillips, Michelle Phillips) – 2:42
  2. "Spanish Harlem" (Jerry Leiber, Phil Spector) – 3:22
  3. "Somebody Groovy" (J. Phillips) - 3:16
  4. "Hey Girl" (J. Phillips, M. Phillips) – 2:30
  5. "You Baby" (Steve Barri, P. F. Sloan) – 2:22
  6. "The 'In' Crowd" (Billy Page) – 3:12


Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1966 Billboard Pop Albums (Billboard 200)[7] 1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "127 | If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears - The Mamas and the Papas". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 27 May 2005.
  2. ^ MAMAS And The PAPAS If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears 1967 TOILET COVER LP - auction details
  3. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears at AllMusic. Retrieved 13 April 2006.
  4. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (April 15, 1999). "Rolling Stone Library: The Mamas & The Papas If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears > Review". Rolling Stone (810). p. 111. Archived from the original on June 20, 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2007.
  5. ^ ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  6. ^ Dan Daily (July 1, 2004). "Classic Tracks: The Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreamin'"". Mix Magazine. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  7. ^ If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears - The Mamas & the Papas > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic. Retrieved 23 April 2008.

External links[edit]