I Call Your Name

Album: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears (1966)
Play Video


  • "I Call Your Name" was mostly written by John Lennon, although it was credited to the team of Lennon/McCartney. According to journalist David Sheff from his interview with Lennon, Lennon wrote this song before the formation of the Beatles.

    Lennon originally turned the song over to The Dakotas, another Liverpool act, at the time when George Martin was also working with them. Lennon wasn't happy with The Dakotas arrangement of the song and its poor B-side performance, so he had The Beatles re-do it, releasing it for the first time in the US on The Beatles' Second Album in 1964.

    This cover by The Mamas & The Papas seems as if they were trying to compensate Lennon for his disappointment with The Dakotas version. That sunny honky-tonk piano with their trademark full-rounded vocals and the well-realized instrumental bridge certainly grabs your attention.
  • This wasn't the only song on their first album not written by the original group; If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears also included a cover of soul-singer Bobby Freeman's "Do You Wanna Dance?" and a Jerry Leiber/Phil Spector collaboration "Spanish Harlem."
  • Collectors take note: If you can find the original album with the cover showing the toilet in the bathroom photo, it's worth big bucks. The initial cover was pulled because showing a picture of a toilet was considered indecent in 1966. Later shots showed the group piled in the same bathtub, but with a scroll to the side pasted over the toilet and listing hit singles from the album. Still later covers have the bathroom cropped out completely. We can't understand what all the fuss is about - the toilet looks perfectly clean. In any case, R&B singer Millie Jackson (the queen of tasteless album cover art) posed actually sitting on a toilet in 1989 (guess which album?), so apparently it's OK now.

Comments: 7

  • Roger from SocalI've been a huge Beatles fan since the very beginning, but this is one time I think a cover blows away the original version. John Philips' arrangement, and the vocal performances are just sublime - that ending still give me goosebumps 55 years later!
  • Anton from UsaRingo and his band did a better version than the Beatles. They raced through this recording and did not give their best effort. And John didn't care because it was an old song he didn't think much of. But very poignant lyrics about the loss of his mom and dad, neither of whom raised him.
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkI have always loved this version of the Lennon composition. The production is simply fantastic. I was in college when the "If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears" album climbed the charts & The Mamas and Papas were "kicking up dust" in the music industry. So many things were happening in the U.S. music scene in 1966. I still love this group's music after all these decades. They had quite a history with the personality clashes, the creative burn-outs, the bursts of genius in the studios, and their significance on the concert trail (i.e., Monterey Pop Festival & others). And this song brings back the memories!
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxWell, that's what I read in the liner notes of the collection I heard it on. Sadly, the parties in question are no longer here.
  • Jack from Mesa, Azthanks esskay, I came here wondering about that.... are you sure she didn't mean John Phillips?
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxYou twice hear Cass whispering "John" during the instrumental bridge, both in tribute to the song's writer and the fact that she had a crush on him.
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandI actually prefer The Dakotas' version of this to The Beatles'...
see more comments

Editor's Picks

History Of Rock

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Chris Squire of Yes

Chris Squire of YesSongwriter Interviews

One of the most dynamic bass player/songwriters of his time, Chris is the only member of Yes who has been with the band since they formed in 1968.

Howard Jones

Howard JonesSongwriter Interviews

Howard explains his positive songwriting method and how uplifting songs can carry a deeper message.

Mike Scott of The Waterboys

Mike Scott of The WaterboysSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Whole Of The Moon" and "Red Army Blues," and why rock music has "outlived its era of innovation."

Stan Ridgway

Stan RidgwaySongwriter Interviews

Go beyond the Wall of Voodoo with this cinematic songwriter.