I was working this morning and the Mamas and Papas came up in the mix. I didn’t know they did so many covers. They did a killer “Dancin’ In The Street,” for example, though it’s hard to hurt that song. They also a version of Do You Wanna Dance, a song I always associate with the Ramones, though it was written by Bobby Freeman, who recorded it in 1958. Cliff Richard who had the first hit with it, and the Beach Boys had the biggest hit, at least until Bette Midler recorded. The Mamas and Papa’s version is slowed down, the melody is shifted a little, not unpleasingly.
But what jumped out for me was the instrumental break, which features some cheesy strings that I knew from a song called Maple Leaves, Jens Lekman. Lekman is a Swedish singer-songwriter who I discovered after he became a more traditional performer, but who got started building songs on other people’s recordings. Perhaps his biggest hit is a song called Maple Leaves, which is about a misunderstanding and has some very clever lyrics and booming drums.
While looking for this recording I found a version of Jens performing live in Gothenberg in 2003. He starts the song singing Do You Wanna Dance, making the connection explicit.