There are classic songs, and then there are songs like ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ that transcend time. With music written by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt and lyrics by Gus Kahn in 1931, it has been covered by many artists.
The earliest recordings were in 1931 by Ozzie Nelson and Wayne Kind and His Orchestra. It was also covered by, and made the signature song of, Kate Smith. An almost who’s who of popular music also recorded the song including Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Shore, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Doris Dar, and Dean Martin.
Probably the most famous cover of the song was when the Mamas & the Papas covered it for their 1968 album The Papas & The Mamas. The song was often done by the group for fun as Michelle Phillips’ father was friends with the songs co-writer Fabian Andre. Mama Cass suggests that the group record a cover of the song for their upcoming album.
The actual recording of the song and the release of the track was marred in controversy and bickering. By the band’s account, Cass was unhappy during the recording of the song, probably pushed on by the fact the band was on the verge of breaking up. Knowing that they had lightning in a bottle. However, the record label used the song as the chance to launch Cass as a solo artist. ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ was released as a single as Mama Cass with the Mamas & the Papas. This did not go down well with the rest of the band. The band’s breakup was made official in 1969 after’Dream a Little Dream of Me’ was a massive success around the world for Cass.
Mama Cass did enjoy a strong solo career after this track until her untimely death in 1974 due to heart failure.
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While she might be gone, we still have her amazing talent lent to an amazing song with the whistling done by Cass herself fading us to the end. It’ll be a song you’ll be humming for days.