‘California Dreamin’ has to be this state’s anthem, as the song truly captured a time and a state of mind. It was the first hit of the legendary Californian band, the Mamas and the Papas. The year was 1966 and 50 years after ‘California Dreamin’ entered the Billboard Hot 100 (on January 8th, 1966 to be exact), Michelle Phillips was signing copies of a new anthology, The Mamas and the Papas: The Complete Singles—The 50th Anniversary Collection’ at Amoeba, and she looked amazing. Her hair tied in a cute high bun, with a sky-blue scarf around her neck, she appeared elegant and casual at the same time.
The anthology, which was released on Real Gone Music to celebrate this very special anniversary, consists of two CDs, ‘53-track set that includes for the first time ever the A and B side of every single the group released, all in their impossible-to-find-on-CD original mono single mixes’. The collection, remastered by Aaron Kannowski, includes legendary songs such as ‘Monday, Monday,’ ‘California Dreamin’,’ ‘Creeque Alley,’ ‘I Saw Her Again,’ ‘Words of Love,’ ‘ Dream a Little Dream of Me,’ ‘Glad to Be Unhappy,’ ‘Dedicated to the One I Love,’ and ‘It’s Getting Better’, but also the solo single sides that group members Mama Cass Elliot, Denny Doherty and John Phillips cut for the Dunhill and ABC labels, in their rare, original single mixes. The notes, written and compiled by co-Producer Ed Osborne, feature quotes drawn from interviews with Mama Michelle Phillips and Lou Adler, Dunhill label head and producer. At the top of this, the package includes a number of rarely-seen images of the band. Many people, old and young, had lined up for the signing of this 150-minute anthology, a real collector treasure, as many of the solo singles and B-sides have never been on CD.
Michelle may be a legend but she was acting like the sweetest legend ever, really taking the time to talk to people and pausing for numerous photos. I saw a bold and frolicsome man who was pointing his finger to his cheek, asking for a kiss, and she kindly gave him a kiss on the cheek. She gave many hugs and handshakes and those were really good ones, you could tell from the big smiles. When the signing was over, a bearded man called her and they exchanged a few words, holding hands… ‘it was a long time ago,’ I overheard… followed by another very generous hug and I could guess, from Michelle’s playful look, that she was having a good time.
This California woman had quite a life, she was part of a group who started the West Coast folk-rock movement, made some of the groovier sounds of the late sixties, was one of the first voices of the hippy movement, turned into a California icon and was part of a very very successful band… Between 1965 and 1968, the group had 11 Top 40 singles in the US, and they would go on to sell more than 100 million records. After stories of success and heartbreaks, love affairs and scandals, she is the only survivor of the Mamas and Papas. But despite all this, this genuine talent looked so attentive to everyone around,… simply, she just looked very happy.
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