The Mamas and the Papas 'Monday, Monday' artwork - Courtesy: UMG
On the Billboard Hot 100 for May 7, 1966, the Mamas and the Papas did something in America that they’d never done before, or would do again. In its fifth week since taking the country by storm, their second hit “Monday, Monday” completed its swift ascent to become their only US No.1.
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The week before, the vocal quartet’s first hit “California Dreamin’” had spent the last of its 17 weeks on the countdown, in a run that took it to No.4. The equally evocative follow-up – this time credited to John Phillips solo, rather than to him and wife Michelle as on the previous hit – was said to have been created by the writer in just 20 minutes.
It was certainly an instant winner, debuting at No.79 before making a massive 45-place jump to No.34, and then another mighty leap to No.10. It raced on to No.3 before becoming America’s favorite single, a distinction it held for three weeks. It also prevented Bob Dylan from having what would have been his only No. 1 on the Hot 100, with “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.”
A year after the Mamas and the Papas song was released, the ninth annual Grammy Awards ceremony of March 1967 saw “Monday, Monday” take the trophy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. They were in good company. John Lennon and Paul McCartneywon Best Song for The Beatles’ “Michelle” and Frank Sinatra was honored for both the song “Strangers In The Night” and the album A Man And His Music.
By the time of that event, “Monday, Monday” was already on its way to being a classic, with cover versions quickly recorded by Sergio Mendes, Petula Clark, Neil Diamond, Marianne Faithfull, and others.