If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears

If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears is the debut album from vocal group The Mamas and the Papas (stylized as The Mama's and the Papa's [sic]), released in 1966. The stereo mix of the album is included in on All the Leaves are Brown (2001), a double CD compilation consisting of the band's first four albums and various singles, as well as on The Mamas & the Papas Complete Anthology (2004), a four-CD box set released in the UK. The mono mix of the album was remastered and reissued on vinyl by Sundazed Records in 2010, and on CD the following year. It is the band's only album to reach number one on the Billboard 200.

If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
the band members all squashed into a bathtub together; a toilet is prominently visible to the right
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 28, 1966
RecordedOctober–November 1965
ProducerLou Adler
The Mamas and the Papas chronology
If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
The Mamas & the Papas
Singles from If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
  1. "Go Where You Wanna Go"
    Released: 1965
  2. "California Dreamin'"
    Released: December 8, 1965
  3. "Monday, Monday"
    Released: March 1966
"Entire Album" playlist on YouTube

In 2003, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears was ranked number 127[2] on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, with its rank rising to number 112 in the 2012 revision.[3]

Cover art edit

Five versions of the album cover were produced:

  • No. 1: The original cover (shown at upper right) features the group in a bathroom, sitting in a bathtub with a toilet in the corner. These were pulled from stores after the toilet was judged indecent;[4] since then they have since become a collector's item, with one copy selling at an auction for $300.[5][6]
  • No. 2: Most of the toilet bowl is covered with a scroll listing the presence of "California Dreamin'" on the album.[7]
  • No. 3: Two additional songs from the album are shown on the scroll: "Monday, Monday" and "I Call Your Name".
  • No. 4: Same as No. 3 but with a gold record award blurb added (in black) to the left of the group.
  • No. 5: Black cover with a closely cropped shot of the group that hid the fact that the picture was taken in a bathroom.

The cover art was produced and shot by photographer Guy Webster.[8]

The cover shows the artist as "The Mama's and the Papa's", a grammatical error that has not been corrected on any of the album's reissues.[9]

Reception edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [1]
Record Mirror     [10]
Rolling Stone     [11]

The album received a positive retrospective review in Rolling Stone, in which critic Rob Sheffield remarked "The Mamas and the Papas celebrated all the sin and sleaze of Sixties L.A. with folksy harmonies, acoustic guitars, and songs that told inquiring minds way more than they wanted to know. And on their January 1966 debut, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, they somehow made it all sound groovy." He described the album as a dark look at L.A. culture that sounds accessible and optimistic thanks in large part to Lou Adler's production.[11] Bruce Eder wrote for AllMusic that the album "embraced folk-rock, pop/rock, pop, and soul, and also reflected the kind of care that acts like the Beatles were putting into their records at the time." He added that it had a stronger polish than the group's other albums, in part because it predated the personal conflicts that tainted their later works.[1] The album was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[12]

Track listing edit

Side one
1."Monday, Monday"John Phillips3:28
2."Straight Shooter"J. Phillips2:58
3."Got a Feelin'"
4."I Call Your Name"2:38
5."Do You Wanna Dance"Bobby Freeman3:00
6."Go Where You Wanna Go"J. Phillips2:29
Side two
1."California Dreamin'"2:42
2."Spanish Harlem"3:22
3."Somebody Groovy"J. Phillips3:16
4."Hey Girl"
  • J. Phillips
  • M. Phillips
5."You Baby"2:22
6."The 'In' Crowd"Billy Page3:12

Personnel edit


Chart positions edit

Chart performance for If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
Chart (1966) Peak
US Billboard 200[14] 1

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Eder, Bruce. If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears at AllMusic. Retrieved 13 April 2006.
  2. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "127 | If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears - The Mamas and the Papas". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2005.
  3. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  4. ^ Bell, Robin (June 20, 2017). The History of British Rock and Roll: The Psychedelic Years 1967 - 1969. Lulu Press, Inc. ISBN 9789198191684 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "popsike.com - MAMAS And The PAPAS If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears 1967 TOILET COVER LP - auction details". www.popsike.com.
  6. ^ Fusco, Charlie (June 16, 2016). A New Breed of Shark: Become a Fierce & Fearless Female Entrepreneur. AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781524623715 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Bielen, Ken (November 2, 2021). Portraying Performer Image in Record Album Cover Art. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781793640734 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "The master of rock's album cover photos". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. February 20, 2019. p. B5. Retrieved June 17, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "The Mama's And The Papa's* - If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears". Discogs. 1966. Retrieved 2020-08-29.
  10. ^ Jones, Peter; Jopling, Norman (9 July 1966). "Showcase Bachelors LP, & great Mama's & Papa's new album..." (PDF). Record Mirror. No. 278. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 April 2022. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  11. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (April 15, 1999). "Rolling Stone Library: The Mamas & The Papas If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears > Review". Rolling Stone. No. 810. p. 111. Archived from the original on June 20, 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2007.
  12. ^ ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  13. ^ Dan Daily (July 1, 2004). "Classic Tracks: The Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreamin'"". Mix Magazine. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  14. ^ "The Mamas & the Papas Chart History - Billboard 200". Retrieved August 23, 2021.

External links edit