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Monday Monday

by

The Mamas & the Papas



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

While awaiting the release of "California Dreamin'," band member Denny Doherty was prodding songwriter John Phillips to come up with some new material. Phillips said he would come back in the morning with "A song with universal appeal." Ignoring the sarcastic comments from the group members, Phillips came up with this. It's about the lousy feeling that comes with the end of the weekend and beginning of another workweek.
In a Songfacts interview, Alan Merrill relates the story of how his cousin - the noted songwriter Laura Nyro - got invited to the Monterey Pop Festival, which was her first major live appearance. Songwriter John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas called her up and invited her to join them in Monterey. She hung up and told the news to her cousin Alan, who asked "That's great isn't it?" Nyro responds, "No, I've never done a gig. All I've ever done is recording." She had great anxiety about not having her own stage act. This anxiety, together with the personal problems of The Mamas & The Papas (Doherty was drinking heavily at the time, trying to get over Michelle Phillips and their affair), might have contributed to the gloomy atmosphere cast over the Monterey festival which had such dismal reviews. (Check out our interview with Alan Merrill.)
This was the first Hot 100 chart-topper with a day in the week in the title, and the only one with "Monday." ("Manic Monday" by the Bangles and "Rainy Days And Mondays" by the Carpenters both stalled at #2.)
The Mamas & the Papas
The Mamas & the Papas Artistfacts
More The Mamas & the Papas songs
More songs with days of the week in the title

Comments (19):

The studio version of the song can't compare to the live version at Monterey. Cass hits the high notes and Big Roger his in a classic duet. Cass looks like she's in competition with the 'Papas' when singing the refrain. I would rate this version of Monday Monday as an all time classic in American pop/folk music. Seriously, four part harmony doesn't get any better than this. John Denver, who started out as a classic folk singer was in awe of Cass and said she was the best vocalist to come out of the 60's As what the song means you are best going with Phillips explanation. It means something different to everyone. A great song.
- sal, saginaw, MI
Monday has always been known for being the worst day having a hangover from a weekend of partying. The song came after Gene Clark (the byrds) and Denny unveiled their involvement with Michele. The sixties was known as the age of experimentation and free love. Consequences included alcohol, drugs, and sexual perversions including the unspeakable, all facing the realities by monday evening.
- Michael Scott, Punta Gorda, FL
One of my favorite songs of all time. I have been guessing for years what it meant, and, after reading these comments, realize that no one really knows. Maybe it means nothing - just words put together over the weekend under pressure. To be produced, of course, on Monday morning.
- Jeff, Orlando, FL
From what I've read, Mama Cass had a lot of trouble singing this song--the female part was a little too high for her low alto voice. The result was that when "Monday Monday" was performed live, the group actually played the song in a lower key.
- ted, phoenix, AZ
To me, it's pretty obvious. A man and woman spend a weekend together. And now, he (or she) is worried that the other will be gone the following Monday - that it was just a weekend fling, and the singer wanted it to last longer.
- Ken, Louisville, KY
Such a beautifully written and harmonic piece of music. I will never tire of it....and when I see friends and family down...I will sing this Song. It has always been a cushion, a refuge, a place to go when one is down. Snow
- Snow, Sierra Foothills, CA
Regarding the pause and Mark from Lancaster, OH's comment: In New York, the pause was sometimes interrupted by the automated call letters of the oldies radio station (WCBS-FM). So glad they dropped the "Jack" format and went back to playing oldies.
- Miguel, Brooklyn, NY
What a haunting song...and production by this great group! Bravo, John Phillips.RIP
- steve dotstar, los angeles, CA
This song is #8 on my all-time list. I am reminded of something C.S. Lewis once wrote, "And the next day was Monday morning." He--and this song--were conveying a state of mind and spirit, I think. It's a letdown after the weekend, and full of uncertainty about what is to come. ("Monday morining couldn't guarantee/That Monday evening you'd be here with me.") And I've always loved the Mamas and Papas' unique sound. Did you ever notice that in "Midnight Cowboy," some of the songs are performed with a group that sounds a lot like the Mamas and Papas? Does anybody know what they were called?
- MusicMama, New York, NY
To Howard, St. Louis Park, MN:
You are VERY correct about using this song to check your balance! lol
- J_Bryon, Milladore/Monroe, WI
The song is about a friend's suicide
- TI, new york, NY
i love all their stuff and this one is one of my favorites
- Madalyn, Greensburg, PA
This was the first song I ever heard that used a pause as a musical device, and it may have been the first one ever. You've heard it--about three seconds in length, just after the second chorus, toward the end of the song. There were lots of imitators after this, and the pause became commonplace, but when Monday Monday was first played, any number of DJ's thought the song had ended right there and started talking.
M Kinsler
- Mark, Lancaster, OH
It's a great song to check the balance in your car or home stereo since John and Denny can be heard in one speaker and Cass and Michelle in the other.
- Howard, St. Louis Park, MN
Mama Cass died on a Monday....
- Keith Major, Bristol, England
What perfect, almost beach-boys like harmonies
in this.......so southern california in the mid-60's sounding......also a song with a famous
false ending..we always know the part when it
seems to stop...very cool for the time
- Scott, chicago, IL
John Phillips has said that even he isn't quite sure what it's about, and he wrote it.
- Ashley, Memphis, TN
Denny and Michelle hated the song and when they were told it was to be their next single Michelle was horrified and thought it would end their careers. It shot the top of the charts and became their biggest selling single. Denny was quoted as saying "Who knew? - What do I know about music!" (tongue in cheek). Michelle has since said that she quite likes it now.
- Hilton, St. Albans, England
I think that Monday Monday is about a woman
- Joe, Ocala, FL
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