Ep. #88: Featuring Dynamic Vocal Group ARORA
Before they were The Mamas and the Papas, John and Michelle Phillips played folk music in New York with Denny Doherty; they were The New Journeymen. One cold winter’s day in 1963, when Michelle came down with a bout of homesickness, John’s musical imagination went to work! Michelle, the only native Californian among them, had grown weary of the NYC winter months so, after the addition of “Mama” Cass Elliot, the band moved to Michelle’s home state of sunshine, with a new moniker: The Mamas and the Papas.
It was in LA that Phillips’ song was recorded, but not by his nascent group. Barry McGuire, fresh off of his “Eve of Destruction” hit, recorded the ode to California with The Mamas and the Papas providing back up vocals only! When the head of Dunhill Records, Lou Adler, heard the band, he was so impressed with John’s American Songbook-inspired chord progressions that he decided to record their vocal quartet version. It is of course this recording that catapulted the young ensemble to stardom and provided a soundtrack to an entire movement. From that moment on, “California Dreamin’” became a siren song for the youth of America, calling all who sought self-fulfillment to the western shores. It defined California as a place of reinvention, reflection and creation for a new generation.
Please welcome ARORA performing this classic tune, arranged by Christopher Given Harrison.