Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The Mamas & The Papas

Go Where You Wanna Go

Written and first recorded by The Mamas & The Papas (1966).
Hit version by The 5th Dimension (US #16/CAN #9 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Go Where You Wanna Go’ was written by John Phillips, and was first recorded by the Mamas & The Papas for their LP If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.

“In [Hal] Blaine’s book, Michelle admits ‘Our group had never sung with anything but an acoustic guitar until that fateful day in 1965 when we came together in Studio 3 at Western Recorders. There, the Mamas and the Papas’ ‘sound’ was created with the distinctive beat that Blaine already made himself famous for.’

“That ‘sound’ was the key. Sloan writes, ‘We needed to find a mic that worked magic for their voices, and the perfect echo and reverb for them. Without it, their voices didn’t seem to fly.’ You can hear it on the first Mamas and Papas single, ‘Go Where You Wanna Go’, which inexplicably failed to catch on when it was released on Dunhill.”

What Really Happened To The Mamas And The Papas?, by Mitchell Cohen, 2017

“‘Go Where You Wanna Go’ was later made into a hit by the The 5th Dimension, who recorded the song for their debut studio album, Up, Up and Away, in 1966, becoming the group’s very first single release.”

Dream a Little Dream of Me

First recorded by Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra (1931).
Also recorded by Wayne King & His Orchestra (1931), Kate Smith (1931).
Hit versions by Frankie Laine (US #18 1950), Jack Owens (US #14 1950), “Mama” Cass with The Mamas & The Papas (US #12/MOR #2/UK #11/AUS #1 1968).

From the wiki: “‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’, written by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt and lyrics by Gus Kahn, was first recorded in February 1931 by Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra (with the vocal by Nelson) and also by Wayne King and His Orchestra (with vocal by Ernie Birchill). “Dream a Little Dream of Me” was also an early signature tune of Kate Smith (‘God Bless America’).

“Then, in the summer of 1950, seven recordings of ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ were in release, with the versions by Frankie Laine and Jack Owens reaching the US Top 20 at respectively #18 and #14.

Dedicated to the One I Love

Originally recorded by The “5” Royales (US #81 1957).
Inspired by “I Don’t Want You to Go” by The Casanovas (1955).
Hit versions by The Shirelles (US #3 1961 reissue) and The Mamas and The Papas (US #2/UK #2 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Dedicated to the One I Love’ is a song written by Lowman Pauling and Ralph Bass which was a hit for The ‘5’ Royales, The Shirelles, and The Mamas & The Papas. Pauling was the guitarist of The ‘5’ Royales; Bass produced the 1957 recording session. The 1957 release peaked at #81 on the Billboard Hot 100. Songwriters Pauling and Bass owed a lot of their inspiration to Chester Mayfield’s song ‘I Don’t Want You To Go’ recorded by The Casanovas in 1955 on Apollo, the former label of The ‘5’ Royales.

California Dreamin’

First recorded by Barry McGuire (1965).
Hit version by The Mamas & The Papas (US #4/UK #23 1966).

From the wiki: “According to John Phillips in a Bravo documentary, and Michelle Phillips in an NPR piece, the song was written in 1963 while they were living in New York. He dreamed about the song and woke her up to help him write it. At the time, the Phillipses were members of the folk group The New Journeymen which would evolve into The Mamas & the Papas.

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