♫ Kokomo ♫

Tonight I must have listened to 20 songs, seeking just the right one … and I picked several, only to find out I had just played them within the past month or two … funny how quickly I forget what I’ve done!  Brain rot, I guess!  Anyway, when I listened to this one and found I only played it once, some 4 years ago, I said, “Bingo!!!”  Watching this tonight, I think … “They do look older, but they aged really well … if anything, they look better now than they did in their earlier years!”


I liked the Beach Boys well enough in their heyday, the 1960s, but then their “fifteen minutes of fame”  (actually around 4 years) came to an end, and for me, life got real very fast, and by 1988, I had been married, divorced, and was struggling with three jobs trying to support three children, one severely disabled, and earn a Master’s degree.  It had been years since I had even thought about the Beach Boys.  But then came a new song from the Beach Boys … somehow more mature than some of their previous work, yet still bringing to mind the carefree existence of the beach days.

This song came together when the music producer Terry Melcher was hired to work on a song with The Beach Boys for the Tom Cruise movie Cocktail. The Beach Boys’ glory days were behind them, and they had been playing fairs and nostalgia shows. They were one of the most popular bands of the ’60s, and had a bunch of songs dealing with recreation and fun, which is why they were asked to record for the movie.

Melcher was the son of actress Doris Day. In 1964, he worked as a staff producer at Columbia Records, where he teamed up with future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston on the hit “Hey Little Cobra,” which was credited to The Rip Chords. He was a producer on the first two Byrds albums and went on to work with Paul Revere And The Raiders. He knew The Beach Boys and contributed to some of their work, including backup vocals on Pet Sounds. Through Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, he met Charles Manson and worked on some projects with him before thinking better of it. In 1969, Manson and his “family” murdered five people at a house Melcher rented to director Roman Polanski and his wife, actress Sharon Tate. Polanski was away filming, but Tate, who was pregnant, was one of the victims. After the murders, Melcher went into seclusion. This was a big comeback for him as well as The Beach Boys.

Brian Wilson was the creative force behind The Beach Boys, but he had nothing to do with this song.  Terry Melcher wrote this song with the help of John Phillips, who was a former member of The Mamas And The Papas, along with Beach Boy Mike Love, and Scott McKenzie, who had a hit in 1967 with “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair).” Phillips’ daughter Chynna was in the group Wilson Phillips with Brian Wilson’s daughters, Carnie and Wendy.  Small world, isn’t it?

According to Mike Love …

“The verses and the verse lyric was written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. He wrote ‘Off the Florida keys, there’s a place called Kokomo, that’s where we used to go to get away from it all.’ I said, ‘Hold on. We used to go sounds like an old guy lamenting his misspent youth.’ So I just changed the tense there. ‘That’s where you want to go to get away from it all.’ So that was the verse. And it was very lovely. But it didn’t have such a groove, I didn’t feel.

So I came up with the chorus part: ‘Aruba, Jamaica, ooo, I want to take you to Bermuda, Bahama, come on, pretty mama. Key Largo, Montego…’ That’s me, the chorus and the words to the chorus was Mike Love. The verse was John Phillips. The bridge, where it goes, ‘Ooo, I want to take you down to Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and we can take it slow. That’s where you want to go, down to Kokomo,’ that’s Terry Melcher. Terry Melcher produced the Byrds and Paul Revere & the Raiders, very successful producer. But he actually produced that song and he wrote that bridge part, which Carl Wilson sang beautifully. And I sang the rest of it. I sang the chorus and the verses on that particular song.”

Kokomo
The Beach Boys

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take ya
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go, Jamaica

Off the Florida Keys, there’s a place called Kokomo
That’s where you want to go to get away from it all
Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand
We’ll be falling in love to the rhythm of a steel drum band
Down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go
oh I want to take you down to
Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we want to go, way down in Kokomo

Martinique, that Montserrat mystique

We’ll put out to sea and we’ll perfect our chemistry
And by and by we’ll defy a little bit of gravity
Afternoon delight, cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye, give me a tropical contact high
Way down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go
oh I want to take you down to
Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we want to go, way down in Kokomo

Port au Prince, I want to catch a glimpse

Everybody knows a little place like Kokomo
Now if you want to go and get away from it all
Go down to Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go
oh I want to take you down to
Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we want to go, way down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go

Songwriters: John E.A. Phillips / Mike E. Love / Terry Melcher / Scott J. Mckenzie
Kokomo lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

♫ Hold On ♫ (Redux)

I was in the kitchen this afternoon, scrubbing my indoor electric grill that I had used to grill chicken breasts ala Marguerite last night (NOT a fun chore, scrubbing the grill!!!) when I found myself humming, then quietly singing this song.  I couldn’t remember the title of the song nor the name of the group (have I mentioned that my memory is not what it once was?), but I remembered that the daughter of one (two) of The Mamas and the Papas was part of the group, so from there it was easy to find the song. And then, I remembered that this is a favourite of my dear friend, David’s … and so the conclusion was fairly simple … redux!!!  This one’s for you, David!


In this case, the group has a more interesting history than the actual song itself.  The group, Wilson Phillips, is a trio of three female singers:  Chynna Phillips, Carnie Wilson & Wendy Wilson. Chyna Phillips is the daughter of John & Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas, and the two Wilson girls are the daughters of Brian Wilson of Beach Boy  fame, and Marilyn Rovell of The Honeys.  They all grew up together in Southern California and the girls started the group when they were only teens.

The song, Hold On, released in 1990, hit the #1 spot in the U.S. and Canada, and #6 in the UK and New Zealand.  The song won the Billboard Music Award for Hot 100 Single of the Year for 1990. At the Grammy Awards of 1991, the song received a nomination for Song of the Year, losing to From a Distance by Julie Gold and performed by Bette Midler.

Hold On
Wilson Phillips

I know there’s pain
Why do you lock yourself up in these chains?
No one can change your life except for you
Don’t ever let anyone step all over you
Just open your heart and your mind
Is it really fair to feel this way inside?

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things’ll go your way
Hold on for one more day

You could sustain
Or are you comfortable with the pain?
You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness
You got yourself into your own mess
Lettin’ your worries pass you by
Don’t you think it’s worth your time
To change your mind?

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things’ll go your way
Hold on for one more day

I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and
Break free the chains
Yeah I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and you
Break free, break from the chains

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day yeah
If you hold on

Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
If you hold on
Can you hold on
Hold on baby
Won’t you tell me now
Hold on for one more day ’cause
It’s gonna go your way

Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can’t you change it this time

Make up your mind
Hold on
Hold on
Baby hold on

Songwriters: Carnie Wilson / Chynna Phillips / Glen Ballard
Hold On lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ California Dreamin’ ♫

I did play this one about a year and a half ago, but you guys liked it then, so I’m hoping you can like you some Mamas and Papas again this morning!


What you may not know (I didn’t) is that while this song was written by John & Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas, it was first recorded by none other than Barry McGuire of “Eve of Destruction” fame!  Another thing I didn’t know … else had long since forgotten … is that The Mamas and the Papas were only together from 1965 thru 1968 when they agreed to dissolve the group.  I thought surely they were around longer than that!  They were, after all, an icon of the 1960s!

Says John Phillips about the origins of the song …

“It’s my recollection that we were at the [Hotel] Earle in New York and Michelle was asleep. I was playing the guitar. We’d been out for a walk that day and she’d just come from California and all she had was California clothing. And it snowed overnight and in the morning she didn’t know what the white stuff coming out of the sky was, because it never snowed in Southern [California]. So, we went for a walk and the song is mostly a narrative of what happened that day, stopped into a church to get her warm, and so on and so on.”

One part of the lyrics that is often mistaken is “I pretend to pray”, which is often mistaken for “I began to pray”.  And now … the song:

California Dreamin’
The Mamas & the Papas

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

Stopped into a church
I 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 like the cold (preacher like the cold)
He knows I’m gonna stay (knows I’m gonna stay)

California dreamin’ (California dreamin’)
On such a winter’s day

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

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Edmund Andrew Phillips / Michelle Gilliam Phillips
California Dreamin’ lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ I Saw Her Again ♫

When I played ♫ Dedicated To The One I Love ♫ a couple of nights ago, I mentioned that in my search for a Mamas & Papas song that I hadn’t already played here, I found not one, but two songs that fit that bill.  This one, I Saw Her Again, is the other one!

An interesting, and kind of sad story behind the origins of this song.  Turns out that John Phillips wife and fellow band member, Michelle, had been having an affair with the other ‘Papa’, Denny Doherty.  This affair, combined with an affair between Michelle Phillips and Gene Clark of The Byrds, resulted in the brief expulsion of Michelle from the group for about two months.  Denny Doherty is given credit for co-writing the song, but some say that the song was John’s retribution against Doherty for the affair.

The group broke up in 1967, and John & Michelle divorced two years later.  Tragically, Mama Cass, who was doing well with her solo singing career, died in her sleep of a heart attack at the age of only 32.

This is one of the most popular of the Mamas & the Papas songs, reaching #1 in Canada, #5 in the U.S., and #11 in the UK.

I Saw Her Again
The Mamas & the Papas

I saw her again last night
And you know that I shouldn’t
To string her along’s just not right
If I couldn’t I wouldn’t
But what can I do, I’m lonely too
And it makes me feel so good to know
You’ll never leave me

I’m in way over my head
Now she thinks that I love her
Because that’s what I said
Though I never think of her
But what can I do, I’m lonely too
And it makes me feel so good to know
You’ll never leave me

Every time I see that girl
You know I want to lay down and die
But I really need that girl
Don’t know why I’m livin’ a lie
It makes me want to cry

I saw her again last night
And you know that I shouldn’t
To string her along’s just not right
If I couldn’t I wouldn’t
But what can I do, I’m lonely too
And it makes me feel so good to know
You’ll never leave me

But what can I do, I’m lonely too
And it makes me feel so good to know
You’ll never leave me

Every time I see that girl
You know I want to lay down and die
But I really need that girl
Don’t know why I’m livin’ a lie
It makes me want to cry

I saw her again last night
And you know that I shouldn’t
To string her along’s just not right
If I couldn’t I wouldn’t

I’m in way over my head
Now she thinks that I love her
Because that’s what I said

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Edmund Andrew Phillips
I Saw Her Again lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Creeque Alley ♫

I sat back earlier tonight, closed my eyes, and waited for a song to come to me.  Well, a song didn’t come to me, but a group did … The Mamas and the Papas!  Checking my archives, I found that I haven’t played very many by them, and they certainly deserve a wider venue than what I have given them thus far.  There wasn’t much verifiable trivia in my two usual ‘go-to’ sources, SongFacts and Wikipedia, so I delved deeper, went further afield, and hit the jackpot!  I apologize for the length of the post, but I found the trivia fascinating … all news to me … and I thought/hoped you would, too.  If not, then just skip to da song!

From a website titled Best Classic Bands

Numerous autobiographical songs have been written since the dawn of rock, but few have told the story of a band’s formation as vividly and colorfully as The Mamas and the Papas’ “Creeque Alley.” Released as a single in late April 1967, it climbed to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100; it also appeared on the quartet’s third album, Deliver, which itself rose to #2.

The song, credited to the group’s husband-and-wife co-founders John and Michelle Phillips, chronicles the events leading up to the 1965 creation of the Mamas and the Papas, which also included Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty. The lyrics are stocked with names and places, some of which may have been (and still are) unfamiliar to fans of the group. We’ll break it down.

First, there’s the song’s title. Creeque (pronounced creaky) Alley is a real place, one of a series of alleys (actually named Creeque’s Alley and owned by the Creeque family) on the docks on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. The soon-to-be members of the Mamas and the Papas spent time there shortly before changing their musical direction and taking on their new name. There they were still performing folk music, at a club called Sparky’s Waterfront Saloon, and basically trying to make ends meet and figure out their futures.

The song’s story line only makes passing reference to the Mamas and the Papas’ time on the island though, and never mentions Creeque Alley by name. It starts in the years leading up to the seemingly preordained coalescence of the four singers.

The first line, “John and Mitchy were getting’ kind of itchy just to leave the folk music behind,” refers to John and Michelle’s activities as folk singers in the early ’60s. John Phillips, then 26, had been singing with a folk group called the Journeymen when he met 17-year-old Michelle Gilliam during a tour stop in San Francisco. They fell in love and, after John divorced his first wife, married on Dec. 31, 1962, moving to New York where they began writing songs together while Michelle did modeling work to earn some cash. By late 1964, with the rock scene exploding, John and Michelle had become, like many others, “itchy” to move away from folk. It wasn’t all that easy, they quickly discovered, and the couple, along with Doherty formed the New Journeymen in the meantime. (Trivia note: Early New Journeymen member Marshall Brickman, who was replaced by Doherty, went on to co-write some of Woody Allen’s best-known films and won an Oscar for Annie Hall.)

In the meantime, other similarly inclined folk artists were coming into one another’s orbits. First, there were “Zal and Denny, workin’ for a penny, tryin’ to get a fish on a line,” which refers to Zal Yanovsky and Dennis (known as Denny) Doherty. Both Canadians, they’d been working together in a folk trio called the Halifax Three in their home country. “In a coffeehouse Sebastian sat” brings into the picture John Sebastian, the New York City-born singer-songwriter who at the time was part of the Even Dozen Jug Band and would soon form one of the most beloved American rock bands of the era. And then there were “McGuinn and McGuire, just a gettin’ higher in L.A., you know where that’s at.” McGuinn, of course, was Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, whose group the Byrds would vault to the top of the charts with their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” in the late spring of ’65, while McGuire was Barry, whose rendition of P.F. Sloan’s protest song “Eve of Destruction” struck a nerve that summer, also catapulting to the #1 position.

The first verse leaves off with a name-drop of the fourth member of the Mamas and the Papas: “And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass.” Cass Elliot (born Ellen Naomi Cohen), originally from Baltimore, she also had a background in folk music when she came to the attention of the other folkies in the song. She’d sung in a trio called the Big 3 with Tim Rose and Cass’ husband, James Hendricks (not to be confused with New York scene regular Jimi Hendrix), but like the others she saw the proverbial writing on the wall and wanted to expand her range of music. The “gettin’ fat” remark has a double meaning, however: not only was Elliot physically large but she was the only future M&P member who was making a decent living with her music, singing jazz in the Washington, D.C., area.

The second verse begins with a couple of mutual compliments: “Zally said, ‘Denny, you know there aren’t many who can sing a song the way that you do, let’s go south.’ Denny said, ‘Zally, golly, don’t you think that I wish I could play guitar like you?’” And so they headed south from Canada, soon finding themselves at a popular club in New York’s Greenwich Village: “Zal, Denny and Sebastian sat (at the Night Owl), and after every number they’d pass the hat.” (More trivia: The Night Owl would become the home base of the Lovin’ Spoonful, Sebastian and Yanovsky’s group, and much later on would be the site of the famed New York record store Bleecker Bob’s.)

Meanwhile, McGuinn and McGuire were “still a-gettin’ higher in L.A.” and Mama Cass was still “gettin’ fat,” but no one had yet found their destinies.

Verse three gives us some more background on Cass’ run-up to joining the group. She was planning to attend college at Swarthmore, the song says, but instead hitchhiked to New York to see if she could make it in the music world. (Trivia note: Cass never planned to go to Swarthmore—she wanted to attend Goucher College near her hometown of Baltimore. But John Phillips needed a rhyme so he used sophomore and Swarthmore.) Upon her arrival in NYC, she met Denny Doherty and fell in love with him.

“Called John and Zal and that was the Mugwumps” adds the next piece to the puzzle: The Mugwumps were a folk quintet formed in 1964 featuring Elliot, Doherty, Sebastian, Yanovsky and Hendricks. (The John here refers to Sebastian, not Phillips.)

The Mugwumps recorded enough material to be compiled into an album in 1967, which did not feature Sebastian, but the group was short-lived as its members were also “itchy to leave the folk music behind.” The next verse ties up the loose ends and takes us to the point where everyone is on the verge of fame: “Sebastian and Zal formed the Spoonful; Michelle, John and Denny getting’ very tuneful; McGuinn and McGuire just a-catchin’ fire in L.A., you know where that’s at.”

And there you have it: the various figures peel away from folk and move into what was then called folk-rock: Sebastian and Yanovsky teamed with bassist Steve Boone and drummer Joe Butler in the Lovin’ Spoonful; the Phillipses, Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty became the Mamas and the Papas; McGuinn led the Byrds for several years; and McGuire had a chart-topping hit as a solo artist. In fact, says a previous verse, “McGuinn and McGuire couldn’t get no higher and that’s what they were aimin’ at.”)

“And everybody’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass,” goes the final line in that verse, inferring that success had arrived. But there’s some unfinished business, that matter of the time spent at Creeque Alley.

The last chorus/verse informs us that it wasn’t overnight success for the Mamas and the Papas by any means. It’s here, at the end of the song, that the scene shifts to the Virgin Islands. The singers, still called the New Journeymen and minus Cass at first (as the song said, they “knew she’d come eventually”) are cash-poor and borrowing on their American Express cards. They’re “broke, busted, disgusted,” but thanks to some help from a fellow named Hugh Duffy, who owned a boarding house in Creeque’s Alley, the four young singers who would soon be known worldwide were able to start thinking about their future: “Duffy’s good vibrations and our imaginations can’t go on indefinitely,” they sing toward the end of “Creeque Alley.” So the four returned briefly to New York, then all headed out to Southern California to see if they could catch a break.

“And California Dreaming is becoming a reality” is the final line of the song. We all know what that one means.

The song, released in 1967, charted at #1 in Canada, #5 in the U.S., and #9 in the UK.

Creeque Alley
The Mamas & the Papas

John and Mitchy were gettin’ kind of itchy
Just to leave the folk music behind
Zal and Denny workin’ for a penny
Tryin’ to get a fish on the line
In a coffee house Sebastian sat
And after every number they’d pass the hat
McGuinn and McGuire just a gettin’ higher
In L.A., you know where that’s at
And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass

Zally said Denny, you know there aren’t many
Who can sing a song the way that you do, let’s go south
Denny said Zally, golly, don’t you think that I wish
I could play guitar like you
Zal, Denny and Sebastian sat (at the Night Owl)
And after every number they’d pass the hat
McGuinn and McGuire still a gettin’ higher
In L.A., you know where that’s at
And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass

When Cass was a sophomore, planned to go to Swarthmore
But she changed her mind one day
Standin’ on the turnpike, thumb out to hitchhike
Take me to New York right away
When Denny met Cass he gave her love bumps
Called John and Zal and that was the Mugwumps
McGuinn and McGuire couldn’t get no higher
But that’s what they were aimin’ at
And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass

Mugwumps, high jumps, low slumps, big bumps
Don’t you work as hard as you play
Make up, break up, everything is shake up
Guess it had to be that way
Sebastian and Zal formed the Spoonful
Michelle, John, and Denny gettin’ very tuneful
McGuinn and McGuire just a catchin’ fire
In L.A., you know where that’s at
And everybody’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass
Di di di dit dit dit di di di dit, whoa

Broke, busted, disgusted, agents can’t be trusted
And Mitchy wants to go to the sea
Cass can’t make it, she says we’ll have to fake it
We knew she’d come eventually
Greasin’ on American Express cards
It’s low rent, but keeping out the heat’s hard
Duffy’s good vibrations and our imaginations
Can’t go on indefinitely
And California dreamin’ is becomin’ a reality

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Edmund Andrew Phillips / Michelle Gilliam
Creeque Alley lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ California Dreamin’ ♫

I was surprised to find I hadn’t already played this one, as it is probably the one that The Mamas and the Papas are best known for.  I shall remedy that oversight tonight!

What you may not know (I didn’t) is that while this song was written by John & Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas, it was first recorded by none other than Barry McGuire of “Eve of Destruction” fame!  Another thing I didn’t know … else had long since forgotten … is that The Mamas and the Papas were only together from 1965 thru 1968 when they agreed to dissolve the group.  I thought surely they were around longer than that!  They were, after all, an icon of the 1960s!

Says John Phillips about the origins of the song …

“It’s my recollection that we were at the [Hotel] Earle in New York and Michelle was asleep. I was playing the guitar. We’d been out for a walk that day and she’d just come from California and all she had was California clothing. And it snowed overnight and in the morning she didn’t know what the white stuff coming out of the sky was, because it never snowed in Southern [California]. So, we went for a walk and the song is mostly a narrative of what happened that day, stopped into a church to get her warm, and so on and so on.”

One part of the lyrics that is often mistaken is “I pretend to pray”, which is often mistaken for “I began to pray”.  And now … the song:

California Dreamin’
The Mamas & the Papas

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

Stopped into a church
I 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 like the cold (preacher like the cold)
He knows I’m gonna stay (knows I’m gonna stay)

California dreamin’ (California dreamin’)
On such a winter’s day

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

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Edmund Andrew Phillips / Michelle Gilliam Phillips
California Dreamin’ lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Release Me ♫

I have only played one other song by the group Wilson Phillips, and that was Hold On.  As I noted there, the group has an interesting history.  It was comprised of three female singers: Chynna Phillips, Carnie Wilson & Wendy Wilson. Chyna Phillips is the daughter of John & Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas, and the two Wilson girls are the daughters of Brian Wilson of Beach Boy fame, and Marilyn Rovell of The Honeys. They all grew up together in Southern California and the girls started the group when they were only teens.

This song was the group’s second hit single, hitting number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 on September 15, 1990 and spending two weeks at number one.  Glen Ballard produced the album and helped them get a record deal by putting together a 4-song demo for the group.

When Glen Ballard first heard Wilson Phillips, he was impressed by how when they sang together, it sounded like one voice. That’s the sound heard on “Release Me,” where they sing together throughout the song. Learning their lessons from vocal groups of the past, Wilson Phillips tried to keep their contributions balanced, making sure none of the three became the focal point.

Release Me
Wilson Phillips

I know that it’s time for a change
Mmm but when that change comes
Will you still feel the same?

How many times have I tried to turn this love around?
I don’t want to give up
But baby it’s time I had two feet on the ground
Can you release me
Can you release me
Now that you’re gone I can’t help myself from wondering
Oh, if you’d have come down from your high
Would we’ve been all right?
Release me
Can you release me

Come on baby, come on baby
You knew it was time to just let go
‘Cause we want to be free
But somehow it’s just not that easy
Come on Darlin’, hear me Darlin’
‘Cause you’re a waste of time for me
I’m trying to make you see
That baby you’ve just got to release me
Release me
Release me
I’m not going back to you anymore
Finally my weakened heart is healing though very slow
So stop coming around my door
‘Cause you’re not gonna find
What you’re looking for

Come on baby, come on baby
You knew it was time to just let go
‘Cause we want to be free
But somehow it’s just not that easy
Come on Darlin’, hear me Darlin’
‘Cause you’re a waste of time for me
I’m trying to make you see
That baby you’ve just got to release me
Release me
Release me
I’m not going back to you anymore
Finally my weakened heart is healing though very slow
So stop coming around my door
‘Cause you’re not gonna find
What you’re looking for

What is this power you’ve got on me
What is this power, Oh
What is it, What is it

Come on baby, come on baby
You knew it was time to just let go
‘Cause we want to be free
But somehow it’s just not that easy
Come on Darlin’, hear me Darlin’
‘Cause you’re a waste of time for me
I’m trying to make you see
That baby you’ve just got to release me
Release me
Release me
I’m not going back to you anymore
Finally my weakened heart is healing though very slow
So stop coming around my door
‘Cause you’re not gonna find
What you’re looking for

Release me
Will you release me
Ah…Release me
Will you release me

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Carnie Wilson / Chynna Phillips / Wendy Viora Wilson
Release Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Hold On ♫ (Redux)

I played this one in October 2018, but I was talking with a friend … the same friend whose suggestion prompted me to play the song the first time … a couple of nights ago, and neither of us could remember whether I had actually played it or not.  I checked, and I had, but I thought I’d play it again tonight.  Why?  Just because it’s a good song and it suits me to play it again.  😊

In this case, the group has a more interesting history than the actual song itself.  The group, Wilson Phillips, is a trio of three female singers:  Chynna Phillips, Carnie Wilson & Wendy Wilson. Chyna Phillips is the daughter of John & Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas, and the two Wilson girls are the daughters of Brian Wilson of Beach Boy  fame, and Marilyn Rovell of The Honeys.  They all grew up together in Southern California and the girls started the group when they were only teens.

The song, Hold On, released in 1990, hit the #1 spot in the U.S. and Canada, and #6 in the UK and New Zealand.  The song won the Billboard Music Award for Hot 100 Single of the Year for 1990. At the Grammy Awards of 1991, the song received a nomination for Song of the Year, losing to From a Distance by Julie Gold and performed by Bette Midler.

Hold On
Wilson Phillips

I know there’s pain
Why do you lock yourself up in these chains?
No one can change your life except for you
Don’t ever let anyone step all over you
Just open your heart and your mind
Is it really fair to feel this way inside?

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things’ll go your way
Hold on for one more day

You could sustain
Or are you comfortable with the pain?
You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness
You got yourself into your own mess
Lettin’ your worries pass you by
Don’t you think it’s worth your time
To change your mind?

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things’ll go your way
Hold on for one more day

I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and
Break free the chains
Yeah I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and you
Break free, break from the chains

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day yeah
If you hold on

Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
If you hold on
Can you hold on
Hold on baby
Won’t you tell me now
Hold on for one more day ’cause
It’s gonna go your way

Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can’t you change it this time

Make up your mind
Hold on
Hold on
Baby hold on

Songwriters: Carnie Wilson / Chynna Phillips / Glen Ballard
Hold On lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Hold On ♫

A friend mentioned this one a few weeks ago, and since he was disappointed with yesterday’s selection, I thought I’d play this one today to try to make up for yesterday.

In this case, the group has a more interesting history than the actual song itself.  The group, Wilson Phillips, is a trio of three female singers:  Chynna Phillips, Carnie Wilson & Wendy Wilson. Chyna Phillips is the daughter of John & Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas, and the two Wilson girls are the daughters of Brian Wilson of Beach Boy  fame, and Marilyn Rovell of The Honeys.  They all grew up together in Southern California and the girls started the group when they were only teens.

The song, Hold On, released in 1990, hit the #1 spot in the U.S. and Canada, and #6 in the UK and New Zealand.  The song won the Billboard Music Award for Hot 100 Single of the Year for 1990. At the Grammy Awards of 1991, the song received a nomination for Song of the Year, losing to From a Distance by Julie Gold and performed by Bette Midler.

Hold On
Wilson Phillips

I know there’s pain
Why do you lock yourself up in these chains?
No one can change your life except for you
Don’t ever let anyone step all over you
Just open your heart and your mind
Is it really fair to feel this way inside?

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things’ll go your way
Hold on for one more day

You could sustain
Or are you comfortable with the pain?
You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness
You got yourself into your own mess
Lettin’ your worries pass you by
Don’t you think it’s worth your time
To change your mind?

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things’ll go your way
Hold on for one more day

I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and
Break free the chains
Yeah I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and you
Break free, break from the chains

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day yeah
If you hold on

Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
If you hold on
Can you hold on
Hold on baby
Won’t you tell me now
Hold on for one more day ’cause
It’s gonna go your way

Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can’t you change it this time

Make up your mind
Hold on
Hold on
Baby hold on

Songwriters: Carnie Wilson / Chynna Phillips / Glen Ballard
Hold On lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Kokomo ♫

I liked the Beach Boys well enough in their heyday, the 1960s, but then their “fifteen minutes of fame”  (actually around 4 years) came to an end, and for me, life got real very fast, and by 1988, I had been married, divorced, and was struggling with three jobs trying to support three children, one severely disabled, and earn a Master’s degree.  It had been years since I had even thought about the Beach Boys.  But then came a new song from the Beach Boys … somehow more mature than some of their previous work, yet still bringing to mind the carefree existence of the beach days.

This song came together when the music producer Terry Melcher was hired to work on a song with The Beach Boys for the Tom Cruise movie Cocktail. The Beach Boys’ glory days were behind them, and they had been playing fairs and nostalgia shows. They were one of the most popular bands of the ’60s, and had a bunch of songs dealing with recreation and fun, which is why they were asked to record for the movie.

Melcher was the son of actress Doris Day. In 1964, he worked as a staff producer at Columbia Records, where he teamed up with future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston on the hit “Hey Little Cobra,” which was credited to The Rip Chords. He was a producer on the first two Byrds albums and went on to work with Paul Revere And The Raiders. He knew The Beach Boys and contributed to some of their work, including backup vocals on Pet Sounds. Through Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, he met Charles Manson and worked on some projects with him before thinking better of it. In 1969, Manson and his “family” murdered five people at a house Melcher rented to director Roman Polanski and his wife, actress Sharon Tate. Polanski was away filming, but Tate, who was pregnant, was one of the victims. After the murders, Melcher went into seclusion. This was a big comeback for him as well as The Beach Boys.

Brian Wilson was the creative force behind The Beach Boys, but he had nothing to do with this song.  Terry Melcher wrote this song with the help of John Phillips, who was a former member of The Mamas And The Papas, along with Beach Boy Mike Love, and Scott McKenzie, who had a hit in 1967 with “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair).” Phillips’ daughter Chynna was in the group Wilson Phillips with Brian Wilson’s daughters, Carnie and Wendy.  Small world, isn’t it?

According to Mike Love …

“The verses and the verse lyric was written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. He wrote ‘Off the Florida keys, there’s a place called Kokomo, that’s where we used to go to get away from it all.’ I said, ‘Hold on. We used to go sounds like an old guy lamenting his misspent youth.’ So I just changed the tense there. ‘That’s where you want to go to get away from it all.’ So that was the verse. And it was very lovely. But it didn’t have such a groove, I didn’t feel.

So I came up with the chorus part: ‘Aruba, Jamaica, ooo, I want to take you to Bermuda, Bahama, come on, pretty mama. Key Largo, Montego…’ That’s me, the chorus and the words to the chorus was Mike Love. The verse was John Phillips. The bridge, where it goes, ‘Ooo, I want to take you down to Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and we can take it slow. That’s where you want to go, down to Kokomo,’ that’s Terry Melcher. Terry Melcher produced the Byrds and Paul Revere & the Raiders, very successful producer. But he actually produced that song and he wrote that bridge part, which Carl Wilson sang beautifully. And I sang the rest of it. I sang the chorus and the verses on that particular song.”

Kokomo
The Beach Boys

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take ya
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go, Jamaica

Off the Florida Keys, there’s a place called Kokomo
That’s where you want to go to get away from it all
Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand
We’ll be falling in love to the rhythm of a steel drum band
Down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go
oh I want to take you down to
Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we want to go, way down in Kokomo

Martinique, that Montserrat mystique

We’ll put out to sea and we’ll perfect our chemistry
And by and by we’ll defy a little bit of gravity
Afternoon delight, cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye, give me a tropical contact high
Way down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go
oh I want to take you down to
Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we want to go, way down in Kokomo

Port au Prince, I want to catch a glimpse

Everybody knows a little place like Kokomo
Now if you want to go and get away from it all
Go down to Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go
oh I want to take you down to
Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we want to go, way down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go

Songwriters: John E.A. Phillips / Mike E. Love / Terry Melcher / Scott J. Mckenzie
Kokomo lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company