Inspiration for September 19th: “Make Your Own Kind of Music” by Cass Elliot

Nobody can tell ya there’s only one song worth singing.”

-Make Your Own Kind of Music

Had she survived a massive heart attack in 1974, “Mama” Cass Elliot would have been 71 years-old today. In a short but rich career, Elliot recorded no other song that better described her individuality and “screw ’em if they don’t like you” attitude better than “Make Your Own Kind of Music”. Recorded in 1969 as a followup to her hit, “It’s getting better”, the tune didn’t really make much of an impact at the time and only reached #36 on the Top 40. Elliot struggled to stay relevant as she departed The Mamas and the Papas and as the 60’s were becoming the 70’s. Nevertheless, this curious little pop tune has endured. Barbara Streisand, Bobby Sherman and others have recorded the track but it’s Cass’ version that survives. She really sells the songs corny but sincere message and elevates the track to classic status. Upbeat, catchy and unabashedly optimistic, “Make Your Own Kind of Music” is own of those songs I picture playing during the opening credits of the sitcom based on my life. Anybody else? No? Just me? Okay. Moving right along…

Fans of the show Lost will undoubtedly remember Desmond playing the song on a record player during the season 2 opener entitled, “Man of Science, Man of Faith.” “Make Your Own Kind of Music” shows up in several other episodes and even had a surge on iTunes, thanks to Lost. 

According most biographies of Cass Elliot, she struggled with truly loving who she was and suffered a lot of emotional and physical pain due to her struggle with her weight. It’s a shame she never got to really believe the message of personal acceptance that she inspired in her fans. So on this slow-moving Wednesday where there isn’t enough coffee to get me going, I’m going to try to take the song’s message to heart. I have a few “what if they hate it” or “what if I fail” creative projects that I’m going to jump head first into today. Also, it’s important as a creative person to keep going and trust the process so I’m going to try to help others do that today too. Finally, I have to remember to do things in my own voice and not care if “nobody else sings along.”

Happy Birthday Mama Cass and Happy Wednesday, friends!



5 thoughts on “Inspiration for September 19th: “Make Your Own Kind of Music” by Cass Elliot

  1. I struggle with that external validation when it comes to my projects too. I’m trying to get to the point where even if “they” hate it, if I love it, that’s all that matters. If we stay true to our artistic selves, how can we ever fail?? 🙂

  2. “It’s Getting Better” is one of my all-time favorite love songs, hitting the nail rather more directly on the head than most. Perhaps her spirit revels in the self-love that Mama Cass wasn’t able to fully embrace knowing that so many of us sing our own special song thanks to her.

    • Amen. Just being who she was- her size, her personality, herself- at that time took guts. For kids who are weirdos or not like anybody else, the Mama Casses, Cyndi Laupers, Boy Georges of the world are a real inspirations for sure.

  3. The older I get the more I believe a good life is more about living well in the moment rather than trying to be successful or creating a name (for myself anyway).

    And I have to wonder why the only vacancy sign in my head is for negative thoughts and beliefs!

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