"Creeque Alley" as written by Michelle Gilliam and John Edmund Andrew Phillips....
John and Mitchy were gettin' kind of itchy
Just to leave the folk music behind
Zal and Denny workin' for a penny
Tryin' to get a fish on the line
In a coffee house Sebastian sat
And after every number they'd pass the hat
McGuinn and McGuire just a gettin' higher
In L.A., you know where that's at
And no one's gettin' fat except Mama Cass

Zally said Denny, you know there aren't many
Who can sing a song the way that you do, let's go south
Denny said Zally, golly, don't you think that I wish
I could play guitar like you
Zal, Denny and Sebastian sat (at the Night Owl)
And after every number they'd pass the hat
McGuinn and McGuire still a gettin' higher
In L.A., you know where that's at
And no one's gettin' fat except Mama Cass

When Cass was a sophomore, planned to go to Swarthmore
But she changed her mind one day
Standin' on the turnpike, thumb out to hitchhike
Take me to New York right away
When Denny met Cass he gave her love bumps
Called John and Zal and that was the Mugwumps
McGuinn and McGuire couldn't get no higher
But that's what they were aimin' at
And no one's gettin' fat except Mama Cass

Mugwumps, high jumps, low slumps, big bumps
Don't you work as hard as you play
Make up, break up, everything is shake up
Guess it had to be that way
Sebastian and Zal formed the Spoonful
Michelle, John, and Denny gettin' very tuneful
McGuinn and McGuire just a catchin' fire
In L.A., you know where that's at
And everybody's gettin' fat except Mama Cass
Di di di dit dit dit di di di dit, whoa

Broke, busted, disgusted, agents can't be trusted
And Mitchy wants to go to the sea
Cass can't make it, she says we'll have to fake it
We knew she'd come eventually
Greasin' on American Express cards
It's low rent, but keeping out the heat's hard
Duffy's good vibrations and our imaginations
Can't go on indefinitely
And California dreamin' is becomin' a reality

Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit

"Creeque Alley" as written by Michelle Gilliam John Edmund Andrew Phillips

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Creeque Alley song meanings
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  • +2
    General Commentcreequealley.com breaks this song down line by line. It's essentially a reference to the history of the band and some of their former bands/bandmates (John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky of Lovin' Spoonful for example).
    isotope23on April 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually elysiarenee, this song is the entire story of the band that sang it. The Mama's and the Papas were one of the most incredible folk rock groups of the 1960's. The band members were Mama Cass, Mama Michelle, Papa John, and Papa Denny. They sang with incredible harmony, and loved what they did.
    You are right about Mama Cass dying of a heart attack. Her daughter had a small role in the movie "American Graffitti". John Phillips (Papa John) died just last year. His daughter has a starring role in the Disney Channel show "So Weird".
    TaddyTeddyon March 14, 2003   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song is the detailed story of the band. The name comes from how John did his writing, he would head a page with the place where an idea or inspiration came. So Creeque Alley (in Jamaica) is where it was written. Their producer was holding back the song "California Dreamin" from release because the /beach Boys were running the charts and he knew that "California" would get little air play and be buried. But the band was hungry and poor, so while at the producers office Cass "stole" an American Express Card that was on the guys desk while he was on a call. They bought plane tickets to Jamaica and lived on the "stolen" card hopping from hotel to hotel every three days so as not to get busted by the "Heat" aka cops. They didn't know that the producer knew they had the card and just thought that they were down there writing the music he wanted for the album. They were in a cafe listening to American radio when they heard their own song on and the DJ say it was climbing the charts! Oh, BTW, "Mugwumps" was the bands name before it was "Mamas and Papas"!
    scottyboydon September 07, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalas i am young and do not understand most of the referneces in this song and cannot explain them to you. from what i understand it's about the folk music culture in the 60s. mama cass is the fabulous mamas and the papas member who sings such songs as dream a little dream of me. she died of a heart attack in the early 70s. :(
    elysiareneeon June 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIf only more bands did a song like this - quote their roots - fab stuff
    nagromnaion December 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song and how it tells the story about all the stars of the folk 60's scene. I think it's cool that they all knew each other before they were ever famous.
    bonnielynnon July 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seems that the creequealley.com link is no longer functional. Luckily, the analysis of the song by Richard Thorpe is preserved here :
    Mad Woman Moonon January 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGood song. Just not too fond of the Mama Cass line at the end of every verse....
    briannavon October 22, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnd now for another installment of "Music Histories":
    You may ask WHO McGwinn and McGuire are in the song!
    They are types of communication manipulation.
    A McGwinn is a word or term that sounds like another but has a completely different meaning.Think of Two, to, too
    Read and red
    or Who's your daddy,
    Hoosier Daddy'& Hoesier Daddy

    A McGuire is a concept, idea, or thing that shows a total connection.
    Think of the apple peal, the apple sead and the apple tree. They are all connected and any could just be called "The Apple"!
    Keep learning!
    scottyboydon January 29, 2018   Link

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