TV Highlights

What was on Saturday 29th August

California Dreamin’

Sky Arts - 7.40pm

Who's in it?

Archive footage of Mama Cass allowed her to provide her own stories, alongside the other members of The Mamas & the Papas, in this nostalgia trip through the sounds of the Sixties.

In a nutshell

You know The Mamas & the Papas even if you don’t know you know The Mamas & The Papas. Their biggest hit, California Dreamin’, is one of the signature sounds of their time, as synonymous with the spaced-out, sun-baked hedomism of America in the 60s as anything by The Doors or the Beach Boys. But, unlike those other big bands, the personal stories of this combo aren’t so much a part of pop culture. And while this documentary certainly touched on some of the behind-the-scenes dramas, the emphasis was very much on the music.

Which is understandable, given how good the tunes are. California Dreamin’ itself is naturally the standout track, utterly capturing the gauzy haze of those idyllic years on the West Coast. But the archive footage featured here also lavished us with other classics, including their definitive version of Dream a Little Dream of Me. On the soap-side of things, we got some talk of the affair between two of the band members which threatened to tear them apart, but this was definitely all about the music rather than backstage gossip.

What's the verdict?

Chock-full of insightful interviews and great clips of the band performing, this was a celebration of music that somehow manages to be timeless, despite being so deeply wedded to the era which spawned it.

Star rating: 4/5

Check out California Dreamin’ now on Virgin TV Anywhere

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07-07-2011