When The Mamas & The Papas climbed from No.12 to No.9 in the UK chart at the tail-end of the Summer Of Love in August 1967, with ‘Creeque Alley,’ it turned out to be the last week the group spent in the Top 10 on either side of the Atlantic during their recording lifetime. In 1997, a reissue of ‘California Dreamin’’ climbed to No. 9 in the UK, outdoing its No. 23 peak there the first time around in 1966. But their original Top 10 ride came to an end with that autobiographical ’67 single, taken from their third album, Deliver.
Listen to Deliver right now.
The album had been released on 2 February 1967 and debuted on the US chart on 18 March. It was a gold-certified No. 2 hit there, spending spent over a year on the bestsellers. A week before the single hit No.9 in Britain, the album reached No. 4 there.
That was a fine result, given that Deliver had got off to something of a shaky start. After the huge success of the quartet’s first three hits — ‘California Dreamin’,’ ‘Monday, Monday’ and ‘I Saw Her Again’ — they reached only No. 24 in America with ‘Look Through My Window’. Released in the autumn of 1966, it would be included on the new album, but the group fared much better with a follow-up that wasn’t on the upcoming release, ‘Words Of Love,’ a US No. 5.
Better still, soon after Deliver made its debut, its opening track ‘Dedicated To The One I Love’ did the same as a single, and swiftly became one of the Mamas and the Papas’ classic songs. It spent three weeks at No. 2 on the Hot 100, held off the top spot only by the Turtles’ ‘Happy Together.’
‘Creeque Alley’ was named after the street on which the quartet lived in the Virgin Islands, and was a wry composition by John and Michelle Phillips about the Mamas and the Papas’ formative time together. “John and Mitchie were gettin’ kind of itchy just to leave the folk music behind,” they wrote, adding the well-known punchline “…and no one’s getting fat ‘cept Mama Cass.” The lyric was a fascinating time capsule, namechecking prominent musicians such as Barry ‘Eve Of Destruction’ McGuire, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Zal Yanovsky and John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful.
Deliver also included the group’s versions of ‘My Girl’ and ‘Twist and Shout’ as well as Rodgers and Hart’s ‘Sing For Your Supper,’ amid a selection of new material chiefly contributed by John Phillips, such as ‘Boys and Girls Together’ and ‘Did You Ever Want To Cry.’
Deliver can be bought here.
Follow the 60s playlist for more classics from the Summer Of Love era, including The Mamas & The Papas’ ‘Dedicated To The One I Love.’