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California Dreamin’: Classic Songs Recorded by Various Artists, Vol. 1


The Mamas and The Papas California Dreamin Japanese Single Cover Volt and Volume California Dreamin Monday Monday CDS2California Dreamin
’ is a song that came to The Mamas & The Papas’ main songwriter songwriter John Phillips in a dream one night in 1963, while he and the band were still living in New York. He then woke up band member Michelle Phillips, and she helped him write the song, which has long since become a certified classic (Rolling Stone magazine placed it at No. 89 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs Of All time”). The lyrics to California Dreamin’ deal with the narrator’s longing for the warm weather of “The Golden State”.

1.
If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears Album Cover Volt and Volume4California Dreamin’ by The Mamas & The Papas: Released in late 1965, The Mamas & The PapasCalifornia Dreamin’ reached No. 4 on the U.S. Pop Chart in early 1966 and subsequently stayed on the chart for 17 weeks. This classic song is available on the group’s debut album If you Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears and the 2-CD compilation All The Leaves Are Brown: The Golden Era Collection.

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

 2.
The Warmth Of The Sun Album Cover The Beach Boys Volt and VolumeCalifornia Dreamin’ by The Beach Boys: A non-album track, The Beach Boys’ excellent cover version of California Dreamin’ was released as a single in 1986 and reached No. 57 on the Pop Chart and No. 8 on the Adult Contemporary Chart. The Mamas & The Papas’ incomparable original recording probably remains the ultimate version of this classic to most music lovers, but The Beach Boys’ cover of California Dreamin’ is a very passionate rendition and quite memorable in its own right. I love this version as much as the original, if not more (I can't make up my mind). Available on the compilation The Warmth Of The Sun.

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

3.
Fly Me To The Moon Album Cover Bobby Womack Volt and VolumeCalifornia Dreamin’
by Bobby Womack: Iconic African-American singer/songwriter Bobby Womack released his debut album Fly Me To The Moon in 1969. Reaching No. 34 on the Soul/R&B Album Chart, Fly Me To The Moon features a sublime version of California Dreamin’ (the album’s most distinctive track), which peaked at No. 43 on the Pop Chart and No. 20 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Also available on The Best Of Bobby Womack.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

4.
Feliciano Album Cover Jose Feliciano Volt and Volume2California Dreamin’
by Jose Feliciano: Released in 1968, Feliciano! was the most successful album of Puerto Rico-born Jose Feliciano’s career in the U.S., peaking at No. 2 and staying on the Album Chart for all of 59 weeks. Feliciano! also reached No. 1 in Canada and No. 6 in the U.K. and was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Album of the Year”. The album contains a lovely, acoustic Latin-Pop version of California Dreamin’. Also available on the compilation No Jive: The Very Best Of José Feliciano.

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

5.
Games Dames And Guitar Thangs Album Cover Eddie Hazel Volt and VolumefrontCalifornia Dreamin’ by Eddie Hazel: Parliament and Funkadelic lead guitarist Eddie Hazel recorded his only official album titled Game, Dames And Thangs in 1977 (posthumous material was released after his death in 1992). An edited version of Eddie Hazel’s stunning, Jimi Hendrix-inspired 6:17 minutes-long California Dreamin’ was released as a single, backed with an instrumental version of the song. It’s a great example of an artist putting his own stamp on a classic.

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

6.
Phonogenic Not Just Another Pretty Face Album Cover Melanie Volt and VolumeCalifornia Dreamin’
by Melanie: In 1976, American singer/songwriter Melanie released the album Phonogenic…Not Just Another Pretty Face, her first record on RCA. Overall, the album was a rather patchy affair, but Melanie’s cover version of California Dreamin’ is a piano-led torch song interpretation that is both unique and immersive.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

7.
White Rabbit Album Cover George Benson Volt and VolumeCalifornia Dreamin’
by George Benson: Ten-time Grammy Award-winning American Soul/Jazz/Pop guitarist George Benson recorded an outstanding 7:22 minutes-long instrumental interpretation of California Dreamin’. Never released as an edited single, Benson’s version of this classic can be found on the album White Rabbit, which was released in 1971, or the 2-CD compilation Top Of The World: The Best Of George Benson.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

8.
Come The Day The Seekers Album Cover Volt and Volume2California Dreamin’ by The Seekers: Folk-influenced Pop quartet The Seekers formed in Melbourne in 1962 became the first Australian group to achieve major chart and sales success outside of their native country, scoring several hit singles in the U.S. and the U.K. The Seekers’ album Come The Day, released in 1966, features a lovely, worthwhile Folk-Pop version of California Dreamin’. Also available on the compilation The Seekers: The Ultimate Collection.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

9.
As Time Goes By Album Cover The CarpentersCalifornia Dreamin’ by The Carpenters: This legendary American brother/sister duo’s smooth version of California Dreamin’ is included on As Times Goes By, a rarities collection of demos, outtakes, live shows, and television performances, released in Japan in 2001, but not until 2004 internationally (due to copyright descrepancies). As Time Goes By contains fourteen tracks (two are medleys) and spans the years 1967-1980. Also available on the 2-CD The Carpenters compilation Gold.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

10.
The Very Best Of The Ventures Album Cover The Ventures Volt and Volume2California Dreamin’ by The Ventures: A hugely successful American instrumental Pop/Rock group (in the same vein as the British instrumental band The Shadows), The Ventures scored several hit singles during the 1960s, and thirty-six of their albums charted, seventeen of which entered the Top 40. An album titled Go With The Ventures! was released in 1966 and featured a vibrant cover of California Dreamin’. This version is also included on the compilation The Very Best Of The Ventures (1966).



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

11.
Wallflower Album Cover Diana Krall2California Dreamin'
by Diana Krall: In 2015, Jazz/Pop singer Diana Krall released her twelfth studio LP, Wallflower -- a covers album -- which reached No. 1 on the Jazz Chart and No. 10 on the Pop Chart. Her empathetic interpretation of The Mamas & The Papas' classic, California Dreamin', is jazzy, smoky and smouldering, with a René Paulo-esque piano sequence.

12.
The Baby Huey Story The Living Legend Album Cover Volt and VolumeCalifornia Dreamin’
by Baby Huey: James Ramey a.k.a. Baby Huey weighed approximately 350 pounds and abused drugs and alcohol. On October 28, 1970, the singer died of a drug-related heart attack at the tender age of 26. Released posthumously, in 1971, the album The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend was a commercial failure, but since then it’s gained wide acclaim and is now considered to be a classic of its time period. His interpretation of California Dreamin’ is a flute-tinged instrumental.

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

13.
Songs For A Winter Night Album Cover Andy Monroe Volt and VolumeCalifornia Dreamin’ by Andy Monroe: New York City resident Andy Monroe is a singer/songwriter and dramatist. During the course of 15 years, he recorded a winter-themed song for family and friends as his annual holiday greeting, all of which are included in the collection titled Songs For A Winter Night (named after the Gordon Lightfoot song Song For A Winter’s Night), released in 2011. This contemplative, acoustic guitar-based version of California Dreamin’ has a charm of its own, peaking with a sweet harmony sequence.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

14.
Dedicated Album Cover Wilson Phillips Volt and VolumeCalifornia Dreamin' by Wilson Phillips: Surely it's only appropriate that this list is rounded off with a version by the female trio partially named after John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas. His daughter, Chynna Phillips, is one of the trio's singers, the other two (Carnie Wilson and Wendy Wilson) being the daughters of Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson. The trio's reading of California Dreamin' is fairly faithful to the original, albeit more slick and less atmospheric.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]


Other artists who also recorded California Dreamin’:

America
Wes Montgomery
The Four Tops
Al Jardine
Meat Loaf
Barry Manilow
Nancy Sinatra
Lee Moses


For more classic songs recorded by various artists, also read:

And I Love Her: Classic Songs Recorded By Various Artists, Vol. 2

 

Posted by Joel Grøndrup on Monday, June 17, 2013
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