MONDAY MONDAY Don't Go Away! by Michael Mackey, host of Long Island Morning Edition

May 19, 2016

This week our WPPB TBT celebrates The Mamas and the Papas biggest hit; a song with words one of its original singers found pretentious.

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day

Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way.

"That's not a lyric, John. C'mon!" said Michelle Phillips to her husband John Phillips as he composed their group's follow up to "California Dreamin'. Denny Doherty, who sang lead on "Monday Monday" also thought Phillips latest composition to be not all he hoped it would be. As quoted on Songfacts.com Papa Denny recalled, "Nobody likes Monday. So I thought it was just a song about the working man. Nothing about it stood out to me; it was a dumb f--kin' song about a day of the week."  Reportedly Mama Cass Elliot felt likewise. And even Papa John himself claimed he had no idea what the song he wrote in about 20 minutes really meant. Phillips was simply seeking to compose a "song with universal appeal”.

The song's universal appeal became evident even before the 45's availability, as radio disc jockeys gave the previously released album track extensive airplay. (From The Mamas and the Papas March 1966 debut L.P. "If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears") Consequently, on day one of the single's release it sold 150,000 copies. Within weeks "Monday Monday" became a Spring '66 international chart buster; number 1 on WABC's Music Radio survey in N.Y.C. for 4 weeks [ April 26 - May 17, 1966 ] 

Featuring the group's signature sound of brilliantly arranged boy/girl harmony and a catchy melody so good to sing, "Monday Monday" - according to THE BIILBOARD BOOK OF #1 HITS - was the first song recorded by a sexually integrated ensemble to go to number 1. i.e. A group with at least 2 men and 2 women. Plus, this was the first HOT 100 chart-topper with a day in the week in the title. And the only #1 ever to include "Monday" in its title. ("Manic Monday" by the Bangles and "Rainy Days And Mondays" by the Carpenters both reached #2.)

The Mamas and the Papas' lone number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100,  "Monday, Monday" won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1967. It was also nominated for Best Performance by a Vocal Group, Best Contemporary Song, and Record of the Year.

And even now, half a century and thousands of listens later, when every "Monday Monday" comes and visits our modern ear space, it still sounds vital. The record's dynamic male / female sonic bond delivering then and now, a melodic / harmonic guarantee that beautiful, baby booming pop music is here to stay. 

The Mamas & the Papas were an American folk-pop-rock vocal group who recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968, reuniting briefly in 1971. Their members = John Phillips (1935–2001), Denny Doherty (1940–2007), Cass Elliot (1941–1974), and Michelle Phillips née Gilliam (b. 1944). Group inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998

Click here to listen to The Mamas & the Papas perform "Monday Monday"