All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown)
And the sky is gray (and the sky is gray)
I've been for a walk (I've been for a walk)
On a winter's day (on a winter's day)
I'd be safe and warm (I'd be safe and warm)
If I was in L.A. (if I was in L.A.)

California dreamin' (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day

Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
Well, I got down on my knees (got down on my knees)
And I pretend to pray (I pretend to pray)
You know the preacher like the cold (preacher like the cold)
He knows I'm gonna stay (knows I'm gonna stay)

California dreamin' (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day

All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown)
And the sky is gray (and the sky is gray)
I've been for a walk (I've been for a walk)
On a winter's day (on a winter's day)
If I didn't tell her (if I didn't tell her)
I could leave today (I could leave today)

California dreamin' (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day

Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit

California Dreamin' Lyrics as written by Michelle Gilliam Phillips John Edmund Andrew Phillips

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

California Dreamin' song meanings
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  • +4
    Song MeaningGrew up listening to this song from the time I was 16. Liked the song mainly because I grew up in the cold Northeast.

    But this song completely changed for me the day I was driving along with my 24 year old daughter and when the song came on the radio she told me how much the song meant to her.

    You see, I live in southern California now and my daughter was born and raised here. She had just returned from a year in Afghanistan and she proceeded to tell me how the song spoke to her during her deployment.

    It gave the line, "I'd be safe and warm, if I was in LA" a whole new meaning for me.
    thepitmanon February 04, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is actually about how the mammas and the pappas moved from L.A to New York where the music scene was at during that time period. Then after a while they went on a tropical vacation to the Virgin Islands to sort out some stuff (pretty sure it had something to do with a love triangle). So when they came back the entire music scene moved to L.A. And they started to miss California and wish they were back home. Hence the "California Dreaming"
    Jakemiller2367on May 13, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentit's more than pretty it's sort of melancholoy. i think the person is in new york dreaming of sunny warm LA imagining all his/her problems would go away if he/she was there. ahhh the grass is always greener....

    i personally like rain a lot and prefer cold to hot but hey thats just me.

    I also think it's a metaphor for some other dreams . for love and fulfillment and success. "the preacher likes the cold" suggests this to me because a preacher is somebody who gives up the "sunshine" for the "cold" of self restraint and self denial.
    elysiareneeon June 07, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commentwell, it not a hippie thing. Its about people. Its a classic folk rock tune, one of the greats, performed by some of the best vocalists of the time (and i wasn't even born then).

    To me, its has mostly a literal meaning - dreaming of socal in a cold, wintery place. This is quite true of those who grow up in socal (KVet's post reflects that). And it captures that feeling so well, that it applies here in Indiana today, as the snow flurries outside my window.

    But perhaps there is a bit more. Notice the leanings toward deception. Is it possible that the socal lifestyle is that different from those in the seasonal areas that deception comes so easily? ("pretend to pray", "If I didn't tell her, I could leave today"). Don't take it too far, just a thought.
    boysherpaon January 16, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI prefer to think of it as dreaming of a warmer climate or just totally different scenery in the middle of a harsh winter but, i think, its about homesickness.

    I adore this song. So simple yet sooo effective :)
    Princesszeldaon February 15, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI think the song is about a relationship and/or homesickness.

    All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey
    I've been for a walk on a winters day
    I'd be save and warm if I was in L.A.
    California dreaming on such a winters day

    - dreaming about getting away from where she is, thinking the grass is greener somewhere else

    (parts are written by Michelle Phillips)

    Stepped into a church I passed along the way
    Well, I got down on my knees and I began to pray
    You know the preacher likes the cold he knows I'm gonna stay

    - since it's "cold" outside the preacher knows he/she will stay in there for a while

    All the leaves a brown and the sky is grey
    I've been for a walk on a winters day
    If I didn't tell her I could leave today

    - if he doesn't have to face her, he could leave, but he loves her too much so he has to stay and just keeps on dreaming about leaving
    musikanalyson August 23, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit makes me think of when i was little.i remember my sister listenin to this.i've liked it for suc a long makes me think of fall and winter.i really enjoyed when they showed the contestants from american idol singin it..they did it very well
    sky15on August 06, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm a 4th generation L.A. native, just moved to Seattle 6 months ago. I'm 31 years old and have never touched snow. I've never seen leaves on trees change color (palm trees don't turn red). It's been 75-85 degrees and sunny EVERY DAY my entire life. Growing up, my family would always spend Christmas day in the sun on the beach (Hermosa or Redondo). I keep thinking I'd be "safe and warm" if I was back home, in L.A.

    However, I think this song can be for anyone who is somewhere else and misses their hometown. L.A. natives like me, we're just able to take it literally, but I think it can be just as relevant to say, a Chicago transplant to Atlanta or wherever.

    Me, I'm California Dreamin'...
    digital001on February 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song was written in 1963 by John and Michelle Phillips while they were living in New York, inspired by Michelle's home sickness for California. At the time, the Phillipses were members of the folk group The New Journeymen which evolved into The Mamas and the Papas.

    This song is very catchy I'd have to say
    shanshanshabangon August 19, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's literally about "California Dreaming." John Philips was from NY (where the skies are grey in the winter) and when he'd gone to California, he met Michelle (who he married eventually). At the time he wrote this, he was missing California. This isn't the only song he's written about California. "12:30 Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon" is another one.
    sangsueon December 03, 2007   Link

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