Creeque Alley

Album: Deliver (1967)
Charted: 9 5
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  • This is the story of how the band met and formed. Individual members had sung in other bands before and these show up in the lyrics (Mugwumps etc.). The Mamas & The Papas spent time in the Virgin Islands staying in a club on a road called Creeque Alley, providing the name of this song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dan - Derby, England
  • While the song is about the formation of the Mamas and the Papas, it mentions other artists who were getting their starts at the same time:

    Sebastian is John Sebastian, who, with Zal Yanovsky (also mentioned in the song), formed the Lovin' Spoonful.

    "McGuinn and McGuire, couldn't get no higher" - Jim "Roger" McGuinn was the lead singer for The Byrds, who were starting to take flight at the time and who had two #1 songs in 1965 - "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn, Turn, Turn." Barry McGuire had a #1 in 1965 with the anti-war song "Eve Of Destruction." In other words, at #1 they "Couldn't get no higher." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kent - Pittsfield, IL
  • The line, "Zallie said 'Denny, you know there aren't many who can sing a song the way that you do,'" "Zallie" is The Lovin' Spoonful's Zal Yanovsky, and he's talking about Papa Denny Doherty, who sang the male lead on "California Dreamin'" and many of their other songs. Doherty died of kidney failure on January 19, 2007 at age 66. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • The lyrics, "Greasin' on American Express cards" refers to a time when the band was in the Virgin Islands and living off their American Express cards, running up balances they couldn't (and didn't intend to) pay. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Chris - LBI, NJ
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Comments: 17

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenKen, John probably had a few other nicknames for "Mitchie" after she bedded half the musicians in California, including the other Papa. But since he had cheated on his first wife with her, hard to feel any pity.
  • William from Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, Us Virgin IslandsI live down the road from "Creque's Alley" (and it is indeed pronounced "creaky's") and there are actually two Creque's Alleys (West & East) around the old Creque family's' warehouses on the wharf in Charlotte Amalie. The center "alley" is the one with the original iron gate. That alley turns right at the north end and connects with Trompeter Gade (Danish for Trumpetes Street). At the south end of the warehouses was where the four of them (at that time the New Journeymen + Cass Elliot) first sang together! It was replaced by modern buildings but they saved the original iron gate still in place. I have pictures of the original "Trader Dan's" above which was Hugh Duffy's place. Duffy's boarding house is still there (now offices and a watch repair shop) and is the upstairs over the "Side Street Pub" where the balcony's are. Some of the seating for the pub is in the turn of the alley from Creque's to Trompeter Gade. There is a newer "Creque's Alley" iron gate there.
    Duffy's descendants own "Duffy's Love Shack" in Red Hook, St Thomas USVI.
  • Matt Maloney from FlThe alley still exists, but the wrought iron sign that identify it and access to it from the waterfront street have been hidden behind a wall. But locals we asked for help in finding it gladly clued us in to access from the other end via a restaurant's outdoor seating area. And we now have a treasured photo of it which I would be glad to share here if possible.
  • Matt Maloney from FlMispronunciation of this song's title as "creek" alley is common around here, but the locals in St Thomas pronounce it "creaky".
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 11th 1967, the Mamas and the Papas performed "Creeque Alley" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    At the time it was at #21 and in its eighth week on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
    (See next post below).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 23rd 1967, "Creeque Alley" by the Mamas and the Papas entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #83; and on May 28th it peaked at #5 (for 1 week) and spent 9 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #9 on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    Was track 3 of side 1 on the quartet's third studio album, 'Deliver', and the album peaked at #2 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    Two other tracks from the album also made the Top 100 chart; "Dedicated to the One I Love" (at #2) and "Look Through My Window" (at #24)...
    Sadly, three of the group's four members have passed away, Cass Elliot (1941 - 1974), John Phillips (1935 - 2001), Denny Doherty (1940 - 2007), and Michelle Phillips will celebrate her 70th birthday in less than two months on June 4th, 1944.
  • Ken from Louisville, Ky"Getting fat" is musician's slang for being successful. "Mitchie" was John Phillips' nickname for Michelle.
  • Jb from Hanover, NhThe lyrics "Duffy's good vibrations, and our imaginations, can't go on indefinitely" refer, in part, to Hugh Duffy, the owner of the club on Creeque Alley. Duffy now owns Chez Shack in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
  • Kirk Kirkpatrick from Palm City, FlActually the references to Mama Cass "getting fat" was because she was working when everyone else was not working. She was singing at Bar Mitzvas and weddings and was in demand.
  • Joan from Columbia, ScIn response to DC in Seattle, Washington: I just registered to answer your question. I checked wiki and got this answer - The lyrics "Duffy's good vibrations, and our imaginations, can't go on indefinitely" refer, in part, to Hugh Duffy, the owner of the club on Creeque Alley.
  • Dc from Seattle, WaMy favorite out of all great songs by the Mamas. Who is Duffy?
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxI always wondered how Cass felt about that repeated "gettin' fat" line. I think it referred to her pregnancy, as she was already portly when she joined. She grew to despise the "Mama" in front of her name for that reason, though you can hear her introduced that way before she sings "Dream a Little Dream of Me." Ironically, she was the one who thought up the group's name.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesI love these sorts of subterranean homesick tunes.
  • George from Salvador, BrazilIf you have never heard this song, then go buy it, download, whatever. Just listen to it! It is an instant favorite with everyone.[2]
  • Mary from London, EnglandGreat song, I love it. It always make me sad about Mama Cass's death.
  • Ashlee from Jacksonville, Flgreat.
  • Kristi from Lake Ariel, PaIf you have never heard this song, then go buy it, download, whatever. Just listen to it! It is an instant favorite with everyone.
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