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California Dreamin' by The Mamas & the Papas

Album: If You Can Believe Your Eyes And EarsReleased: 1966Charted:
4
9
Get some Geography in the California Dreamin' Songplaces
  • In a 2002 interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Michelle Phillips explained how this song came about. It was 1963, and she was newly married to John Phillips. They were living in New York City, which was having a particularly cold winter, at least by Michelle's standards as she was from sunny California. John would walk around the apartment at night working out tunes, and one morning brought the first verse of the song to Michelle. It was a song about longing to be in another place, and it was inspired by Michelle's homesickness.

    Michelle enjoyed visiting churches, and a few days before, she and John visited St. Patrick's Cathedral, which inspired the second verse.
  • This is a rare pop song that contains a flute solo. Even more surprising, it's an alto flute, which is larger than a regular flute and plays in a lower register. A Jazz player named Bud Shank was brought to the session to play it. Shank, who also played saxophone, had a minor hit with his version of The Beatles "Michelle" in 1966. He died in 2009 at age 82.

    Doug Thompson tells this story:
    Denny Doherty once told me that when they were recording that song, they wanted a solo, but didn't want the usual guitar solo. John Phillips walked out into the hall of the Hollywood recording studio they were at and Bud Shank was in that hallway as well. John grabbed him and brought him into the studio. Shank listened to the hole he was supposed to fill and nailed it on the first take.
  • When the group was just starting out in 1965, their friend Barry McGuire helped them get a contract with his record label, Dunhill Records. McGuire recorded the first version of the song with The Mamas & the Papas as his backing band and a harmonica solo instead of a flute. It was going to be used as the follow-up single to his hit, "Eve Of Destruction." The Mamas & The Papas then decided to record it on their own, with Denny Doherty (the other Papa) singing lead and some chord changes he came up with after consulting the session guitarist, P.F. Sloan, who had him listen to "Walk - Don't Run" by The Ventures. The results were impressive, and Dunhill Records agreed to use it as their first single, holding off on McGuire's version so there wouldn't be competition from an established artist.

    The group's first single was "Go Where You Wanna Go," which didn't "go" anywhere and was pulled to focus on "California Dreamin'," allowing The 5th Dimension to score their first chart it with that song a few months later. When "California Dreamin'" caught on, listeners wanted to hear more from The Mamas & the Papas, so radio stations started playing "Monday, Monday" off the album. When that song was released as a single, it quickly shot to #1 in America.

    The group had a string of hits until 1968, when they split up. They reunited occasionally until 1974, when Mama Cass Elliot died of a massive heart attack due to her poor health and eating habits.
  • The Mamas & The Papas recorded this song in Los Angeles at United Western Recorders, in the same studio where The Beach Boys recorded their Pet Sounds album. Musicians on the session, which took place November 4, 1965, were some of the great session players of the era: Hal Blaine (drums), Larry Knechtel (keyboards), Joe Osborn (bass) and P.F. Sloan (guitar). John Phillips also played guitar on the track - that's him on 12-string during the intro. The engineer on the track was Bones Howe.
  • In our interview with P.F. Sloan, he talked about recording this track: "The 'California Dreamin'' session was magical. John [Phillips] was very nervous. Nobody particularly liked the song, and to be honest with you, 'California Dreamin'' was maybe three or four chords. I added the 'Walk - Don't Run' Ventures guitar riffs for that 'da da da da da da.' That was all creative work inside the studio when I heard them singing on mic. I had recorded them with Barry McGuire on his second album, so I knew how good they were."
  • The Carpenters recorded a version of this that Richard Carpenter released on his 2001 album As Time Goes By. In the liner notes, he explains:
    "Another demo from Joe's [Joe Osborn] studio, circa 1967. This one however, is on the one 4-track that Joe gave to me. Even though the most important ingredient on tape, the lead, is on its own track, the bass, piano, drums and string machine were all bounced to another track, leaving two open... Karen, at 17, is a marvel. I especially like the way she jumps an octave, from chest voice, to head voice on the letter (and note) "A" in the opening." (thanks, Patrick - Wahiawa, HI)
  • The Beach Boys released a cover of this song in 1986, which made its way into the lyrics of the Dead Milkmen song "Punk Rock Girl": "someone played a Beach Boys song on the jukebox, it was California Dreamin.'" The Beach Boys cover was popular at the time, which is why they got the credit, although many listeners though the Milkmen had their vocal groups mixed up.

    Other popular covers are from America, George Benson and Guster.
  • One of the more misheard lyrics comes in the second verse of this song, as "You know the preacher likes the cold" is often mistaken as "the preacher lights the coals."
  • Michelle Phillips told Spinner in a 2012 interview that John didn't like the second verse - "Stopped into a church, I passed along the way ... " She explained: "Poor John had been sent of to Catholic military school when he was just 7 years old, so he didn't like the religiosity of it." He told her that he didn't want, "religion and churches," so she said they will rewrite it. However, when the others heard the second verse they wanted to keep it. "Glad we did!", she said.
  • In their 1967 song "Creeque Alley," The Mamas & The Papas gave a history of the band and explained what happened when they did come to California.
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Comments: 79

On February 19th 1966, the Mamas and Papas performed "California Dreamin'" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
And fifteen days later on March 6th it peaked at #4 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
(See the post below).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On January 2nd 1966, "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas and Papas entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on March 6th, 1966 it peaked at #4 (for 1 week) and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100...
It was their first charted record* and the first of four straight Top 10 records; the other three were "Monday, Monday" (#1 for 3 weeks), "I Saw Her Again" (#5), and "Words of Love" (#5)...
Sadly three of the four original members are no longer with us; Cass Elliot (1941 - 1974), John Phillips (1935 - 2001), Denny Doherty (1940 – 2007) and Michelle Phillips, born Holly Michelle Gilliam, will celebrated her 70th birthday come next June 4th...
* They released "Go Where You Wanna Go" in 1965 but it did not make any national charts.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Just one of the best ever.Duncan - Huddersfield, United Kingdom
acording to the lyrics he does say PRENTEND TO PRAY. and that is what i hear in the song.Mamie - Cleveland, Oh
By far, BY REALLY FAR, the best version of California Dreamin' is by Jose Feliciano..... and it's "I began to pray".Bob - Loveland, Co
STOP! If it is in fact "I Pretend To Pray" then it's just bad grammar. The singer is telling us a story in PASS tense. I "went" for a walk" "STOPPED into a church I PASSED along the way" With me so far? So the next line would have to be, "I got down on my knees and I PRETENDED to pray" I don't care how Wilson Phillips recorded this, I am with Matt Lauer of the Today Show. It's "I BEGAN to Pray" Why would you pretend if you actually went into the church?Howard - Newport, Or
I had a friend who left southern California due to the crime, smog, traffic, etc. Whenever this song would play and the "I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A," she'd sing, "You'd be warm but not safe..."Esskayess - Dallas, Tx
I have a 1970 Mamas and Papas compilation album named "A Gathering of Flowers", on the Dunhill label, that features the lyrics (copyright 1965). The words for the misheard line in California Dreaming, in black and white, are "The preacher lights the coals". That line seems more coherent than "the preacher likes the cold", which I found on the lyric sites. Still, it's hard to make it out by ear!Mrekismet - Hella, Iceland
What is this 'pretend to pray'? I clearly hear 'began to pray'.Stella - London, United Kingdom
Must be some southern talk. The printed lyrics are different from what is sung. Instead of went for a walk it was been (south) for a walk, and pretending well what else are you going to do when the priest (preacher;south) is looking at you, (its hard to talk to GOD when your body is frozen and people are watching). But great honest harmony.Michael Scott - Punta Gorda, Fl
I'd always heard a slightly different version of how and why this song was created. The Mamas and the Papas (still basically unknown at this point) had been making the rounds on the East Coast folk circuit with a number of soon-to-be-famous musicians when they got a gig as the house band at some bar in the Carribbean (I want to say it was the Bahamas, but I am not certain on that). That gig ended in the late Fall and the band returned to New York City to find that, not only was it miserably cold and gray (the 60s featured a string of cold and snowy winters on the East Coast) all of their fellow folkies had, almost to a man, decamped to the West Coast, where the nascent "folk-rock" sound was exploding. Alone and depressed in New York City, John Phillips penned this song.

By all accounts, the story of John waking Michelle so she could jot down the lyrics is true. She ended up getting a co-writing credit on one the most famous and oft-played songs of the 60s (and made millions in the process)
Ken - Philadelphia, Pa
Soul singer Bobby Womack also released a version of this song, it reached No. 43 in 1969. America's 1979 version peaked at No. 56...Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Wow, that was short. This is an ok song, I guess. I think I've heard it before. 7/10Ivy - Springfield, Ne
Yeah I'm just speculating here but to me I think the sound of folk rock kind of changed after this song.The real mellow "california'"type of folk rock like America and even the Eagles to some extent seem to have been influenced by this sound. To Chris from san francisco thanks for the explanation. I always wondered why the Preacher would "like" the cold but your explanation makes sense. This is a really good song and it really stands the test of time.Brian - Boston, Ma
An absolute classic that epitomizes 1960s folk-rock. Interestingly, many Mamas & Papas songs share a theme of wishing for someone or someplace other than what they have, echoing the restless longing of the 60s generation, not always sure what it wanted but convinced there had to be something better out there.Jeff - Boston, Ma
iT WAS WINTER, IN 2007 WHEN I FIRST LISTEN TO THIS SONG WITH MY GIRLFRIEND. SHE TAUGHT ME AND EXPLAINED SOME PARTS OF THE SONG. I WAS WATCHING THE FALLING LEAVES FROM THE WINDOW AND LISTENING THIS SONG AND EVEN SINGING IT WITH MY GIRLFREIND AT HOME. IT WAS LOVELY. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK TO THE WRITERS AND SINGERS OF THIS SONG. SAVAS ATMACA, ISTANBUL, TURKEYSavas - Istanbul, Turkey
It is "I pretend to pray, you know the preacher likes the cold, he knows I'm gonna stay" and it makes sense, the singer came into the church because it was cold outside (that's why he only "pretends to pray"), and it explains why the preacher likes the cold: because it brings newcomers to the church and stay for a while.
Great song, beautiful song, magical, heavenly song. Thank you.
Chris - San Francisco, Ca
It is "I pretend to pray, you know the preacher likes the cold, he knows I'm gonna stay" and it makes sense, the singer came into the church because it was cold outside (that's why he only "pretends to pray"), and it explains why the preacher likes the cold: because it brings newcomers to the church and stay for a while.
Great song, beautiful song, magical, heavenly song. Thank you.
Chris - San Francisco, Ca
Whatever the original meaning is to this song, it has become a symbol of the mindset of the soldier at war. California is just a metaphor for "home".
Maybe it's because of the song appearing in Vietnam-themed movies, but I'm more than willing to bet that some of my brothers felt this song, when it was brand new, and they were in the fight, out there.
I know I, for one, understood it, when I was in Iraq.
Jarod - Las Vegas, Nv
The song definitely is about the Naval Academy. The song has a call a response cadence form, and is often sung to plebes while marching to instill thoughts of quitting. "The Church" is the Academy Chapel halfway along Stribling Walk. Plebes take this walk while walking to and from classes. The encounter with the chaplain demonstrates navy chaplain's job of boosting moral and providing guidance. "he knows I'm gonna stay" refers to the chaplain telling him not to quit. "if I didn't tell her, I could leave today" refers to telling the Navy he is going to leave. If he did tell her, he has to undergo outproccessing which can take weeks to get discharged. The winter setting refers to the Annapolis winter, which is crummy windy weather, tough Academics, and no end in site. Writing a song about leaving USNA and going to California is extremely plausible.... Considering that is exactly what he did.Mike - Palo Alto, Ca
Love the guitars in the intro. --that alone makes the song instantly recognizable.
what a great track!
Reed - New Ulm, Mn
The Beach Boys version of this is amazing. sounds nothing like the beach boys, but in a good way.Eric - Sheridan, In
The Carpenters version of this is superb, and it's amazing that it was done before they'd even signed to A&M. I would like to have heard a version that was slowed down throughout, like the intro to that version.Siansonea - Denver, Co
I think the power verse in the song is
"If I didn't tell her, I could leave today"
it is a bout a weirdo man crazy in love with a girl and is perplexed what to be his next step towards her, seeing all the world around him grey as if the world stopped at him and her only for him!
that is why it is a love song?!
Adam - Minneapolis, Mn
A quote from Barry McGuire: Well, it was my track. It was going to be my next single release. And when they were doing my backup vocals, they started doing a counterpoint with (sings) "all the leaves are brown, and the sky was grey," well that all came together on my recording session. And they heard it and thought, "that's the sound. That's what we want, that counterpoint thing." Then John asked me if they could release "California Dreamin'" as their first single, and I said, "Hey, you wrote the tune. Do whatever you want." So they did. They took my voice off, and put Denny's voice on, and they had that flute player guy come in and [he] did a toodle-toodle in the middle of the song. And it was a monster hit for them.

If you listen to the left track on their album, if you get The Best of the Mamas and Papas, you listen to the left track, you can still hear a little bit of my voice. My son discovered that once.
Tim Johnson - Doncaster, England
To Mark from Vegas: I believe that you hit upon probably the most meaningful line in the song. It was widely reported that John and Michelle's marriage had been in a less than blissful state for some time - something that provided the inspiration for a fair number of their songs. View that union as a cold, gray existence in which one feels trapped, and would certainly wish to flee, then the line 'if I didn't tell her, I could leave today' makes a great deal of sense.Charles - Glenside, Pa
the lyrics are "the preacher's eyes are cold, he knows I'm gonna stay.! y'all are goofs!Ellie - Wheeling, Wv
it is...

Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
Well, I got down on my knees
Got down on my knees
And I began to pray
I began to pray
You know the preacher locked the door
Preacher locked the door

He knows I'm gonna stay
Knows I'm gonna stay
California dreamin
California dreamin
On such a winter's day
Richard - Rockvale, Tn
The flute solo is the single greatest moment in rock history, in my opinion.Christopher - Seattle, Wa
All the above is cute, but what the hell does, " If I didn't tell her, I could leave today." mean?
Mark
Mark - Las Vegas, United States
mama cass elliot died from a heart attack due to obesity in july 1974.No ham sandwich was in her stomach contents & she had very little to eat the day before.John philips died in 2001 & denny died jan.2007.michelle philips is alive today.California dreaming is a great song & when winter hits,you will be wishing you were in ca on such a winters day. 11/9/07James - Yucaipa, Ca
You are wrong Philip.Pougff - Manchester, Ms
"you know the preacher likes the cold" is the words. The preacher is from new york and is use to the cold.Herbie - Toronto, Canada
Queen Latifah has a nice cover of this song on her jazz album The Dana Owens Collection.Sunshine - Houston, Tx
Although known as an American band, they could be called one quarter Canadian, as the recently deceased Denny Doherty was actually Canadian (born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Nov. 29, 1940; died at his home in Missisauga, Ontario, Jan. 19, 2007). In a similar case, "Scottish" Big Country also owed much of its Gaelic guitar sound to Canadian band member Bruce Watson (born Timmins, Ontario, 1961.)Kent - Toronto, Canada
This is silly. The singer quite obviously says "I pretend to pray" Why would he do this? Because the singer is homeless and plans on spending the night in the church. He probably feels like he has a better chance of not getting kicked out if he appears pious. "I'd be SAFE and WARM", otherwise, why not be safe and warm at home? The preacher absolutely "lights the coals", because it is obviously cold and this guy is obviously going to spend the night. It is a cool song. Hauntingly beautiful.Tim - Tempe, Az
There is an outstanding interview of Denny Doherty from 2003 where he talks about California Dreaming and other songs on www.FMOdyssey.us.Garry - Anchorage, Ak
I think Lance was joking... ;-) No need to be angry .Ben - Montréal, Canada
Michelle Phillips was really really really good looking..Nick - Arlington Heights, Il
You guys are nuts! Listen to the words! It's "You know the preacher likes the cold, 'cos he knows I'll stay, I got down on my knees and I began to pray". Some of you want to try and sing what you are suggesting could be the words and you will find they don't scan or fit the music!Philip - Johannesburg, South Africa
The preacher lights the coals, and he does pretend to pray. If you think about it less cynically you'll see that the lighting the coals thing makes more sense: the preacher sees him enter the church and pretend to pray, and lights the coals because he's sure that our hero will be there for quite a while, and it's cold outside (and inside, I guess). Why would the preacher like the cold because it makes a solitary man who wandered in from the street stay? No, he lights the coals in a simple act of giving comfort. Note that in neither interpretation does the preacher approach the narrator - the preacher lights the coals and presumably just goes away. This fits in with the depressing feel of the song quite nicely. If the preacher were happy about the man staying you have to think he would approach him.Michael - Pittsburgh, Pa
RIP, Denny.Bill - Elm Creek, Ne
THIS SONG IS NOT ABOUT DRUGS...I think he says "you know the preacher lights the coals"...just my opinion...i love the clip in forrest gump where this song is played...i love how they over lap the voices...My favorite lyric is "Well i got down on my knees." love this songMadalyn - Greensburg, Pa
George Benson did a great cover of this on his grammy winning album, White Rabbit.Chuck - Baton Rouge, La
I love this song, its so 'sixties'! Why are there no songs like this anymore (in the 'pop' genre)Kira - Edmonton, Canada
Dada's cover of this is awesome!Anonnymous - Nashville, Tx
I interviewed John Phillips in`87 a really nice and humble fellow. He asured Me that Mamma Cass did not die eating a Hamburger. Shortley before meeting Mr.Phillips(not knowing I was going to meet Him) I read a book that He and Scott Mckenzie(who I also met the same ocation and Who played with Mammas and Pappas at that time in `87)Played in a duo together in the early 60´ies called "The Journeymen".Asef - Silkeborg, Denmark
Mama Cass introduced this song at the Monterrey Pop Festival by saying it was the reason for their great wealth, and then adding, "Honesty is the best policy!"Fyodor - Denver, Co
I rarely listen to this type of 60's hippie music, but I love the way they harmonized in the song.Shonda - Los Angeles, Ca
The song "Punk rock girl" by the Dead Milkmen refers to "California Dreaming", albeit the Beach Boys' version: "Then someone played a Beach Boys song on the jukebox/It was Califronia Dreaming, so we started screaming/ "On such a winter's daaayyy".Kitten - Mexico City, Mexico
My stereo receiver was cutting out one time and all I got was the left channel (Michelle and Cass)and it sounded something like: "...leaves are brown..........sky is grey.........for a walk...............winters day.............". It was actually kinda cool.Jay - Atlanta, Ga
I love this song pure sixtes. Not about drugs its about going home to the sunshine and being out of the cold and gloomynessStacey - St.petersburg, Fl
Its not about drugs....in New York in winter, the leaves ARE brown...the sky IS grey. Not all songs
have obscure meanings hidden in them. And he 'pretends' to pray.
Rob - Vancouver, Canada
i remembered hearing this particular song well after the beatles elenor rigby...another song about churchish related symbolism...but what makes this a master-piece is first. no one else could write it, and second the way everything is textured together, its a very errie song too. it isn't a drug song, but it is clearly one inspired by drugs, the overwhelming meloncholy and depression; lusting for freedom of despire, shackeled to unrelenting brutal reality. this is clearly a self psycological self analysis portrait that was very prevelant during the sixties. and for the miffed lyrics, not everyone has good hearing. thank God for music books, eh?Lennon - Chopsticks, Korea, United States
I thought it was "the preacher locked the door...cause he knows I'm gonna stay".Patrick - Tallapoosa, Ga
So Denny sings lead on this?Dan - Lee, Nh
It's one of the best songs to hear on a stereo. If you listen closely, John and Denny are in one speaker and Michelle and Cass are in the other.Howard - St. Louis Park, Mn
i havent seen the video but i think the song is great i sang it in karoke i did great lolJen - Nv
To anyone who thinks this song is about drugs: Have you ever been in New York in the winter? The leaves are brown and the sky is gray. Stop looking for drugs everywhere. They are not always there.Jay - New York, Ny
In the film MONTEREY POP, they do a renditin of this song. For some reason, Mama Cass can't seem to reach ANY of the high notes like she did on the record!!Barry - New York, Nc
I think this song is about people who would like to go to California, a nice place to be. On radio Classic 21 in Belgium, we have a program called "California Dreaming"; sometime they start it with this beautiful song of the "Mamas and the Papas". Every time I hear this song, it makes me happy.Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
Some of you people are obsessed. Not EVERY song refers to drugs. Even if this one did, it is still awesome, and so are The Mamas and the Papas.Paige - San Diego, Ca
It is "I pretend to pray" and "Likes the cold". João is right about the grammar, in the first verse he says "If I was", it is not intended to be an exercise in good grammar.It is very easy to read unnecessary metaphors into lyrics, could not the leaves being brown and sky being grey refer to it being a "winter's day"? Anyway it is one of the best songs ever recorded, The Mamas and the Papas were fantastic musicians aswell.Hugh - Near Bristol, England
Man, they had some amazing harmonies in this song.Marina - Seattle, Wa
Actually, I always thought the solo instrument was a recorder, not a flute.
Other groups that used flutes were Traffic and Jethro Tull.
Alan - City, Mi
The River City People scored a big UK hit in 1990 with a cover of this songDave - Cardiff, Wales
i got in to this song as it was recorded for a beer advert in england its 1 of my favesRebecca - Wolverhampton, England
It is "pretend to pray". He stopped into the church because it was cold, he didn't go in to pray, just for the warmth. This is obvious from the next two lines, "You know the preacher likes it cold, He knows I'm gonna stay."Taal - Brisbane, Australia
I totally agree with you about these interpretations people find being silly, Brian. But I, too, will correct you about something: Just because we can't hear an "s" after (third person) "like" it doesn't mean this is not what they meant. Singers have never been the best English teachers, just take a look at the previous line as a good example of what I mean: they sing "I got down on my knees and I pretend to pray" - that's right, not "I pretended" (which would be grammatically correct since the sentence started in the past tense); probably they just thought it would be easier to sing without the ending "ed" and that's how it goes. .......... And as to whether it is "preacher light(s) the coal(s)" or "preacher like(s) the cold", the second sentence fits the song better: The preacher likes the cold weather because when it's cold people look for shelter inside the church and stay there for a long time ("he knows I'm gonna stay").João - São Paulo, Brazil
I have also heard "You know, the preacher lights the coals" for the line after "pray". Less of a commentary, but equally appropriate. I listened carefully and neither fit the vocals perfectly. There is no S sound after light/like.

The supposed drug references are silly. The lyric makes perfect sense without symbolism. Suspect symbolism when the literal interpretation doesn't read normally.

Cass Elliot did not die from choking on a sandwich. That's a myth.
Brian - La Mesa, Ca
I saw a documentary on VH1 about the group, and Michelle Phillips said John woke her up in the middle of the night and asked her to write down a song for him (California Dreaming). She said no, as she was tired. But she finally gave in, and he promised her royalties as a co-songwriter. She now says it was the best wake up call she ever got.Ivy - Los Angeles, Ca
The Great Hal Blaine on drums on this one!
He was from Holyoke,Mass. then moved to California.
He played drums on quite a few "Mamas and Papas" songs..Great drummer! Do a internet search on him! Lots of recordings from Elvis to Frank and the Beach boys etc...
Ken withloveyoucan@cs.com
Ken - Leicester, Nc
Papa John wrote this song when he was a Plebe at the United States Naval Academy during the summer of 1954... He never graduated, leaving shortly after arriving. This song is all in reference to how much he found the summer training of new midshipman at USNA stressful and his longing to leave. He left shortly after the intense first summer, never graduating with the class of '58. It has nothing to do with his wife, or marijuana. The 'church' is really the US Naval Academy chapel.Seth - Ridgewood, Nj
New rock artist's Pennywise do a punk version of California Dreaming, well done and not too obnoxious.Andy - Btown, Canada
This song has been believed to have many drug references, such as the leaves being brown (pot), and the sky being gray (smoke from the weed). The second verse could very well relate to the whacko new-age religious cults that had formed in California during the 60s and 70s, where people joined and never returned to their normal lives.Patrick - Conyers, Ga
The four members of the group worked out their unique harmonizing style on this and other songs while visiting the Bahamas.Charles - Charlotte, Nc
Re: Mama Cass dying choking on a ham sandwich

Interesting trivia: Mama Cass died in the same flat in London (on Curzon Place, in Mayfair--it belonged to rocker Harry Nilsson, later sold to Pete Townsend) in the SAME BED(!) that Keith Moon(drummer for the Who) died in 4 years later in 1978. This is documented in several books, notably "Hellhounds on Their Trail; Tales From the Rock and Roll Graveyard" by R. Gary Patterson on Dowling Press. Pretty cool, huh?
Micheal - Columbia, Md
In response to Robert, from Old Town....I believe the last 2 lines in the 2nd stanza go something like:
"The preacher loves it when it's cold,
'Cause he knows you're gonna stay."
Clem - Gainesville, Fl
I could never figure out what the next line says, after.....'got down on my knees and I began to pray...." This has been a puzzle to me for YEARS!!!!Robert - Old Town, Me