Song of the Day #5,190: ‘California Dreamin” – Barry McGuire

Here’s an interesting case of a band kinda sorta covering itself.

Before the iconic, wistful pop song ‘California Dreamin” was a top five hit for the Mamas and the Papas, it was recorded by singer-songwriter Barry McGuire for a 1966 album titled This Precious Time. The song was written by John and Michelle Phillips in 1963 while they were in a band called The New Journeymen, a precursor to the Mamas and the Papas.

The duo contributed backing vocals to McGuire’s version, and those vocals — along with the whole backing track — were carried over when The Mamas and the Papas recorded their own version of the song. Denny Doherty sang a new lead vocal and the harmonica solo was replaced with a flute solo, but otherwise the songs are the same.

[Chorus 1]
All the leaves are brown (All the leaves are brown)
And the sky is gray (And the sky is gray)
I’ve been for a walk (I’ve been for a walk)
On a winter’s day (On a winter’s day)
I’d be safe and warm (I’d be safe and warm)
If I was in L.A (If I was in L.A.)
California dreamin’ (California dreamin’)
On such a winter’s day

[Verse]
Stopped in to a church (Stopped in to a church)
Passed along the way (Passed along the way)
Well I got down on my knees (Got down on my knees)
And I pretend to pray (I pretend to pray)
You know the preacher likes the cold (Preacher likes the cold)
He knows I’m gonna stay (Knows I’m gonna stay)
California dreamin’ (California dreamin’)
On such a winter’s day
[Harmonica Solo]

[Chorus]
All the leaves are brown (All the leaves are brown)
And the sky is gray (And the sky is gray)
I’ve been for a walk (I’ve been for a walk)
On a winter’s day (On a winter’s day)
If I didn’t tell her (If I didn’t tell her)
I could leave today (I could leave today)
California dreamin’ (California dreamin’)
On such a winter’s day (California dreamin’)
On such a winter’s day, (California dreamin’)
On such a winter’s day

Song of the Day #1,818: ‘California Dreaming’ – The Mamas & The Papas

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,190: ‘California Dreamin” – Barry McGuire

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Yeah, I’m not sure this one can really be classified as a cover. Interesting backstory though.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    Love this track you’re on… very interesting!

  3. Andrea Katz says:

    Love these things you’re digging up!

  4. Andrea Katz says:

    Love these things you’re digging up…enjoying this track you’re on.

  5. willedare says:

    I wonder how Barry felt about them re-using this track with a new lead vocal for The Mamas and The Papas…

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