Battle of the Bands – California Dreamin’


It’s time for another Battle of the Bands and today I’m featuring covers of The Mamas and the Papas famous song California Dreamin’. Give a listen to the two contenders and vote which one you like best. I’ll post the results in 6 days!

“California Dreamin'” is a song written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips and was first recorded by Barry McGuire. However, the best known version is by The Mamas & the Papas, who sang backup on the original version and released it as a single in 1965. The song is #89 in Rolling Stone‍‍ ’​‍s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The lyrics of the song express the narrator’s longing for the warmth of Los Angeles during a cold winter.

The song became a signpost of the arrival of the nascent counterculture era.

“California Dreamin’ ” was certified as a Gold Record (single) by the RIAA in June 1966 and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001. (Source: Wikipedia)

Here is California Dreamin’, performed by the Mamas and the Papas. For your enjoyment only: they are not part of the battle. For more Mamas and Papas, check out my A-Z Musical Tour of My Life post featuring the band.


Contenders in my battle feature Bobby Womack and The Seekers.

Bobby Womack – Robert Dwayne “Bobby” Womack (March 4, 1944 – June 27, 2014) was an American singer-songwriter and musician, and producer. Since the early 1960s, when he started his career as the lead singer of his family musical group The Valentinos and as Sam Cooke’s backing guitarist, Womack’s career spanned more than 50 years, during which he played in the styles of R&B, soul, rock and roll, doo-wop, gospel, and country. (Source: Wikipedia).

Here is his cover version of California Dreamin’:


My other contender is The Seekers. The Seekers are an Australian folk-influenced pop quartet, originally formed in Melbourne in 1962. They were the first Australian pop music group to achieve major chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States. They were popular during the 1960s. Here is their version of California Dreamin’:

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why?

And when you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

39 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands – California Dreamin’

  1. Great Battle, MICHELE! I really love this song (and NOT because I was born and raised in L.A.)

    I actually used this song in a long-ago BOTB contest, but I put The Mamas & The Papas against The Beach Boys. Not surprisingly, TM&TP won, but my Boys got some votes, including my own. I honestly think The Beach Boys cover is even better than TM&TP’s original. As much as I love my Boys, that came as a shock to me because I’d give TM&TP an A+ for this song. The Beach Boys (with their matchless harmonies and that blazing saxophone solo) actually got an “R” from me (the ONLY grade higher than an A+).

    In this match-up, I have to vote for THE SEEKERS. Reason? Well, Womack’s version was good but… that “Soul” sound is warm. At least it sounds “warm” to me. But the higher-pitched Seekers’ sound is more brittle… like the cold.

    I have no doubt that in general I like Womack more than The Seekers, but for THIS particular song, I think The Seekers’ sound is more in keeping with the mood of the message. (Maybe the fact that it’s also a combo of female/male harmonizing a la TM&TP plays into my vote a little bit, too.)

    Nice BOTB contrast though. Good Battle!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Stephen, thanks for your vote. Very interesting reasoning behind your vote. I didn’t even think about how the sound measures up to the message. Seeing Womack as warm and the Seekers as cold, well that’s just darn interesting!
      I never heard the Beach Boys version of this song. I’ll have to go give it a listen.
      What does the R stand for, in your grading system? I’d love to know…


      • Ha! Actually, I have no idea what the “R” stands for. When I was young, my Pa told me that when he was in high school he had a drafting class and the highest grade that the teacher gave out was an “R” – it was even higher than an A. My Pa never knew what the R stood for, but he always wanted to get one desperately… and he never did.

        The R probably relates somehow to drafting or blueprints, I assume. But I have no idea. Still, I liked the idea of it and have always used it as a way of memorializing my Pa, whom I loved dearly.

        I’m just… weird.

        ~ D-FensDogG

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, dear Michele! This must be Shady Dell Day on BOTB. You and Debbie the Doglady both featured songs that were among the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell. I love the singing of Judith Durham and the Seekers, but their rendition of “California Dreamin'” became a little monotonous as I listened. The recording by Bobby Womack and his band has a lot more going for it. It’s an exciting arrangement and a compelling vocal performance by Bobby that has more feeling, more soul, and therefore more effectively sells the song.

    I vote for Bobby Womack, dear Michele, and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your vote Shady and for sharing your reasoning behind your vote. It’s such a good song! We’ve gotcha down for Bobby W. Have a great day!


  3. I do like the Seekers version quite well–they’re a group that I enjoyed back in the 60’s but never listened to much after that.

    For the Battle I’ve got to go with Womack though. His version is so cool, forlorn, and plaintive sounding.

    Womack put the feeling and dreaminess into the song.

    Good pairing.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • I figured you’d be familiar with the Seekers. Just seemed like your kind of band. Thanks for your vote. I’ve got you down for Womack…


  4. I hate to say it, but I don’t care for either version. I love The Mamas and The Papas too much. I’ll vote for The Seekers because they’re a little closer to the sound I like, but they remind me a bit of The Partridge Family. It’s a good battle. I’m too attached to Cass, Michelle, Denny, and John.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been a Mama’s and Papa’s fan since Mama Cass was on Scooby Doo. This was one of the rare times where I listed to the sample song all the way though. When it comes to the contenders I found Bobby Womack rather unimpressive. Perhaps if I were in the mood for it I’d like it. But I wasn’t. Loved the Seekers version. It was close enough to the Mama’s and Papa’s and yet distinctive enough. Give the Seekers my vote please.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jeffrey. Glad you’re a Mamas and Papas fan! I have some really decent M&P videos posted at my A-Z (link in my post) if you’re interested. I LOVE the Mamas and the Papas. Such a great sound!
      Thanks for stopping by and voting. I have you down for the Seekers…


  6. The Seekers had some nice harmonies, but if I wanted to hear nice harmonies, I’d go with the original, which I consider flawless because, you know, Mama Cass. Bobby Womack’s was definitely original and I really liked the way he did it. I’ll go with Bobby on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Such an interesting battle. Nice one, Michele! 🙂
    Bobby Womack’s version was more to my liking. It has a cool, jazzy vibe. The Seekers, (I remember them from the 60s) basically turned it into a folk song. Nothing wrong with folk songs per se, but it just didn’t suit Hotel California.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You mean California Dreamin’. I know what you meant. Yeah, there was another battle with Hotel California this time around. We must have California on the brain! Glad you liked the battle Debbie. It’s no secret that I’m voting for Bobby Womack too. I really did like his version. So we have one more vote for Womack. Thanks for stopping by!


  8. I have to say, I loved Womack until he decided to kill a cat near the end. I hate it when singers screech. On the other hand, even though the lead singer has a very strong voice, it just seemed like a one note to me and left me flat. I was surprised by that(ooh I’m a poet:)) So even though Womack killed a cat, I vote for him because, overall his style was unique and different and I could feel the piece (except the ending of course)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You’ve outdone yourself, girl! Love this song and all the versions.

    Bobby Womack’s rendition was surprisingly nice. But I’ve got a sweet spot for the Seekers – it started long ago and continues to this day. MY VOTE GOES TO THE SEEKERS!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the Mamas and Papas best, of course. But I really liked how Bobby Womack made this song sound!! So haunting! My vote goes to him.


  11. I don’t know how I would vote on this one if I’d never heard TMATP. I think I’d like The Seekers better than I do. As it is, they are trying to imitate the original, but come up short. TMATP do the harmony so well (outstanding really) that in many ways I like it better than the lead singer. Whereas, with The Seekers it’s all rather bland.

    Bobby Womack, on the other hand, just went in a completely different direction, and it worked. So give my vote to Mr. Womack for a totally different take on this song.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. . When I first saw your song choice, I though Oo; who is going to possibly compare to the iconic version by the Mamas and Papas, but these are actually two very nice covers. I like em both, but this morning I’m gonna vote for the smooth mellow sound of Bobby Womack.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Michele, Great song choice! I really liked the slow, silky vocals of the first contender doing this Mamas & Papas classic favorite. Give my vote to Womack, please! Nice battle & thanks for voting in my latest installment of BoTB! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow, that’s interesting Guilie! Glad you finally heard the song the way you’ve always wanted to! I’m happy I was able to provide that. 🙂


  14. Hmm, I’m not a fan of either version. The groups were good but . . . perhaps I just need wine.

    However, the longer I listened to Wommack, the better I liked him. Didn’t get that way with the Seekers. So, Bobby gets my vote.

    Liked by 1 person

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