If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears

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If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
Studio album by The Mamas & the Papas
Released March 1966
Recorded 1965 – 1966
Genre Pop rock, folk rock, psychedelic pop, sunshine pop
Length 33:42
Label Dunhill
Producer Lou 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 (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.

This album is included in its entirety on All the Leaves are Brown, a retrospective compilation of the band's first four albums and various singles, The Mamas and the Papas Complete Anthology (4CD Box).

A remastered mono CD and vinyl release was released on Sundazed Records.

Cover art[edit]

If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears is one of the first albums to have several different covers.[citation needed] The first cover features the group in a bathroom sitting in a bathtub with a toilet in the corner. Copies with this cover were pulled from stores after the toilet was declared indecent.[citation needed] The remaining covers featuring the toilet have since become collector's items.[citation needed] A second album cover was released with a scroll over the toilet listing the presence of "California Dreamin'" on the album. Two more songs were later added to the scroll/box over the toilet. Still later, a Gold Record Award blurb was added (in black) to the left of the group. Finally, a later album cover was released with a closely cropped shot of the band surrounded by a black border that removed any hint that the picture was taken in a bathroom.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars[3]

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.[3] 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.[2]

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)[5] 1


  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. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears at AllMusic. Retrieved 13 April 2006.
  3. ^ 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 20 June 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2007. 
  4. ^ Dan Daily (July 1, 2004). "Classic Tracks: The Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreamin'"". Mix Magazine. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ 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]

Preceded by
Ballads of The Green Berets by SSgt. Barry Sadler
Billboard 200 number-one album
May 21–27, 1966
Succeeded by
What Now My Love
by Herb Alpert and His Tijuana Brass