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?