Monterey

Album: The Twain Shall Meet (1968)
Charted: 15

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. The lyrics contain references to many of the bands who played there including Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones (who didn't perform, but did introduce Hendrix to the crowd). The Animals had just broken up and re-formed with new members backing up lead singer Eric Burdon. In a 2010 Songfacts interview, Burdon said: "It was the first gig we'd played with a new lineup. We had hardly had a chance to rehearse, but we made it though. I have great memories of being there. It was a wonderful weekend and I'll never forget it."

Comments: 12

  • Bob from Nashville This song was way over the heads of other songs and music at the time. I recall when I first heard it I had to stop what I was doing to listen. The guitars and the horns were revolutionary for the times. It was truly the first jazz rock song. Started me on my quest as a musician to then hear Chicago and form my own horn band. As Tower of Power once said “What is hip” the test of time defines true “hipness” this song is it. I can listen to this now and get the same feeling I did when I first heard it. Burdon even does a rock scat at the end. I can recall being pissed because most DJ’s cut the ending off. Incredible truly.
  • Mavis from Upper MidwestThe song really does reflect the ambience of the festival. I wasn’t there, but as Martin in Fresno notes, it seems more accurate and reflective than Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock.
  • Jake from Philadelphia, Pa I remember how much I loved the sound of this song, when I first heard it in January 1968. This totally outclassed everything playing on Top Forty radio at the time. I did not know why it sounded so fantastic.

    I listened to it again recently and I am better able to pin point what made it sound so great. It is very complex, musically, with many instruments. It has a brass section, and strings, added to the music, not to mention great guitar work, and they gave it a tiny echo, which not easy to detect but somehow fills the sound out.

    The music was a great combination of Rock and Jazz that leaned toward Rock Music, emphasizing the beat, which made it sound much better than the music of Blood Sweat and Tears, and the Ides of March who were working toward that Jazz Rock combination at the time, but often changed the beat mid song which, well I absolutely hated. The beat of this song is brought out through the consistent bass line that runs through the whole song, until you get to the line near the end, “I think that maybe I’m dreaming.” This sound was on the order of Chicago Transit Authority, (Aka Chicago) which most of us never heard back in January 1968.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 10th 1967, "Monterey" by the Animals entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; eventually it peaked at #15 and spent 9 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #3 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart...
    Eric Burton will celebrated his 73rd birthday this coming May 11th.
  • Martin from Fresno, CaThis song makes you feel like you were actually there at the festival even more than the song about the Woodstock festival.
  • Sean from Chicago, IlI think the "In the beginning..." part is only on the album version. ("Monterey" is the opening cut on The Twain Shall Meet.) The album has a bit of a flow to it, so maybe that's why. It's a very...eerie, I guess...album...but in a good way. Very haunting and chilling, what with the mysterious soul-searching lyrics of "Just The Thought," the deep (for blues!) lyrics of "Closer To The Truth," the anti-war "Sky Pilot," and the haunting, mornful sounds of "We Love You, Lil."
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaOther artists that were at the festival that Eric mentions include Ravi Shankar (hilariously mispronounced, as Eric was wont to do) and Hugh Masekela. This song captures a landmark moment in rock music and western culture brilliantly! Wally, tell us your favorite song, and we'll make fun of it's lyrics.
  • Doug from Oakland, CaIf you were AT the Monterey Festival as I was,this song captures the mood flawlessly.
  • Leya Qwest from Anchorage, AkThe lyrics of a rock'n'roll song DO NOT HAVE TO make sense. Does the sound of the song DOES NOT HAVE TO speak of a message. If this number hadn't reverberated with so many people during the sixties, and dare I say beyond, it wouldn't have become the hit that it did. Actually, if you free your mind, as all music SHOULD DO, this song is a powerful recording of an event that occured when the culture of the U.S. was transforming itself again. That's all.
  • Mark from Lancaster, OhThe lyrics of some of the finest rock songs are seriously silly, and look horrible when written down. The music and mood of this one--including those dumb lyrics--bring back the energy and excitement of those days. Perhaps you had to be there.
  • Wally from Oakland, NjThis is quite possible the worst "rock" song ever written and performed. It begins with Eric Burdon whispering "In the beginning" for no apparent reason. The it goes into the most juvenile lyrics this side of Sesame Street. For example:
    "If you wanna find the truth in life
    Don't pass music by
    And you know
    I would not lie
    No, I would not lie
    No, I would not lie
    Down in Monterey...".
    I cringe every time I hear the song. But, for some strange, sick reason I am compelled to listen. I guess I'm trying to find something in it that would explain why it is still being played after all these years. So far I haven't found it.
  • Wendy from Sacramento, CaOf course, this song is entitled, "Monterey," not "Monteray."
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's SongsSong Writing

"London Bridge," "Ring Around the Rosie" and "It's Raining, It's Pouring" are just a few examples of shockingly morbid children's songs.

Women Who RockSong Writing

Evelyn McDonnell, editor of the book Women Who Rock, on why the Supremes are just as important as Bob Dylan.

British InvasionFact or Fiction

Go beyond The Beatles to see what you know about the British Invasion.

Rick SpringfieldSongwriter Interviews

Rick has a surprising dark side, a strong feminine side and, in a certain TV show, a naked backside. But he still hasn't found Jessie's Girl.

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many SongsSong Writing

For songwriters, Johnny represents the American man. He has been angry, cool, magic, a rebel and, of course, marching home.