California Dreaming

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘California Dreaming’

The song, “California Dreaming”, was originally recorded by Barry McGuire in 1965

“California Dreaming…on such a Winter’s day” is well know lyric written by husband and wife John (1935-2001) and Michelle Phillips (b.1944) in 1965 and recorded by American musician Barry McGuire (b.1935). McGuire never released his version commercially, however, he did perform vocals on the song’s first recording with the Phillip’s as part of their group, The Mamas and Papas, who released it in December 1965. It peaked at No.4 on the US singles chart and made No.23 initially in the UK.

The song has, understandably, been recorded on a number of occasions, including in 1979 by rock band America, which was used as the title track of a film of the same name released that year. Their version went to No.56 in America.

The Beach Boys covered the song in 1986 for their album “Made In The USA” and charted just one place lower (No.57) in their homeland. British group The River City People got their biggest hit of all in 1990, when they took the song to No.13 in the UK, somewhat higher than The Mama and Papas original, who came back in 1997 when the song was used in a beer commercial, prompting a re-release and this time it went to No.9 there.

Sia (Furler) recorded a version in 2015 for the soundtrack of the film ‘San Andreas’, whose cast included one Kylie Minogue, whom Furler had worked with a year earlier on her album “Kiss Me Once“! Her version went to No.92 on the UK singles chart, No.87 in France and No.14 in Lebanon!

But whose version is the best? MAMAS AND PAPAS original, AMERICA’s film version, RIVER CITY PEOPLE’s 90’s cover or SIA’s soundtrack?

Take a look at some of the other posts in this series and don’t forget to follow the playlist.


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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!
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