Monday, Monday

Album: If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears (1966)
Charted: 3 1
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  • 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 "Monday, Monday." 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.)
  • Denny Doherty, who sang lead on this song for The Mamas & the Papas thought very little of "Monday Monday" when they recorded it. "Nobody likes Monday, so I thought it was just a song about the working man," he said. "Nothing about it stood out to me; it was a dumb f--kin' song about a day of the week."

    As you can imagine, he was taken by surprise when the song became a huge hit.

    Doherty wasn't alone in his incredulity: Mama Cass and Michelle Phillips didn't like the song either, and John Phillips claimed he had no idea what the song meant.
  • The Mamas & the Papas used top-tier Los Angeles studio musicians on their recordings. On this track, Larry Knechtel played keyboards, Joe Osborn played bass, Hal Blaine was on drums and P.F. Sloan played guitar. Sloan was the baby of the bunch, just 20 years old when the song was released. He describes it as a "magical session," and says that he gave Blaine the idea for the drum riff based on a song P.F. had worked on when he was a member of the Grass Roots. Sloan used a tremolo effect on his guitar part, which he overdubbed later.
  • This was the first #1 US hit by a group comprised of at least two men and two women.
  • "Monday, Monday" was the group's third single. "Go Where You Wanna Go" was issued first and went nowhere, but their next release was "California Dreamin'," which was a phenomenon. When that song was having its run, radio stations started playing "Monday, Monday" off the album, so by the time it was released as a single, it was already widely anticipated and quickly rose to #1.
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Comments: 22

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 29, 1966, the Mamas and the Papas performed "Monday, Monday" on the Dick Clark produced ABC-TV weekday-afternoon program, 'Where The Action Is"...
    At the time the song was at #3 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, the following week it would peak at #1 {for 3 weeks} and it spent a total of twelve weeks on the Top 100...
    Also at the time their debut Top 100 record, "California Dreamin'", was at #26, that was also it's seventeenth and last week on the chart...
    Between 1966 and 1972 the Los Angeles-based quartet had fifteen records on the Top 100 chart, six made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, the above "Monday, Monday"...
    Besides the above two records, their four other Top 10 records were "I Saw Her Again" {#5 in 1966}, "Words of Love" {#5 in 1967}, "Dedicated To The One I Love" {#2* for 3 weeks in 1967}, and "Creeque Alley" {#5 in 1967}...
    Sadly, three members of the quartet have passed away; Cass Elliot {1941 - 1974}, John Phillips {1935 - 2001}, Denny Doherty {1940 - 2007}, and Michelle Phillips, born Holly Michelle Gilliam, will celebrate her 74th birthday this coming June 4th {2018}...
    May Cass, John, & Denny R.I.P.
    * The three weeks that "Dedicated To The One I Love" was at #2, the #1 record for those three weeks was "Happy Together" by the Turtles.
  • Anton from Los Angeles Kent State shooting, May 4, 1970. Monday, Monday, released March 1966. If John Phillips (not Philips) said this he was lying outright or deluded. I would vote for the latter.
  • Samantha from UsaThe song Monday, Monday was about the Kent State shooting. John Philips talked to Terri Gross on NPR several weeks ago and confirmed the story behind the lyrics.
  • Sal from Saginaw, MiThe 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.
  • Michael Scott from Punta Gorda, FlMonday 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.
  • Jeff from Orlando, FlOne 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.
  • Ted from Phoenix, AzFrom 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.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyTo 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.
  • Snow from Sierra Foothills, CaSuch 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
  • Miguel from Brooklyn, NyRegarding 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.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaWhat a haunting song...and production by this great group! Bravo, John Phillips.RIP
  • Musicmama from New York, NyThis 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?
  • J_bryon from Milladore/monroe, WiTo Howard, St. Louis Park, MN:
    You are VERY correct about using this song to check your balance! lol
  • Ti from New York, NyThe song is about a friend's suicide
  • Madalyn from Greensburg, Pai love all their stuff and this one is one of my favorites
  • Mark from Lancaster, OhThis 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
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnIt'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.
  • Keith Major from Bristol, EnglandMama Cass died on a Monday....
  • Scott from Chicago, IlWhat 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
  • Ashley from Memphis, TnJohn Phillips has said that even he isn't quite sure what it's about, and he wrote it.
  • Hilton from St. Albans, EnglandDenny 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.
  • Joe from Ocala, FlI think that Monday Monday is about a woman
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