"Dream a Little Dream of Me" was recorded by Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra with vocal by Nelson on February 16, 1931 for Brunswick Records.
"Dream a Little Dream of Me" was recorded for the Mamas & the Papas April 1968 album release The Papas & The Mamas. The group had often sung the song for fun, having been familiarized with it by member Michelle Phillips, whose father had been friends with the song's co-writer, Fabian Andre, in Mexico City where Michelle Phillips' family had resided when she was a young girl. "Mama" Cass Elliot suggested to group leader John Phillips that the group record "Dream a Little Dream of Me"; according to him she was unhappy while recording the song, objecting to its campiness, but Elliot herself would later tell Melody Maker: "I tried to sing it like it was 1943 and somebody had just come in and said, 'Here's a new song.' I tried to sing it as if it were the first time."
By the time of the album's release, there were strong indications that the "Mamas & the Papas" were set to disband, a perception strengthened by the failure of the lead single "Safe in My Garden". Having an opportunity to promote the group's best-known member as a soloist, Dunhill Records gave a June 1968 single release to the "Dream a Little Dream of Me" track credited to Mama Cass with the Mamas & the Papas; the UK release simply read "Mama Cass". Promoted in the US press and on billboards with a photograph of a discreetly but obviously nude Elliot lying in a bed of daisies, "Dream a Little Dream of Me" peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 that August (its Cash Box peak was #10 and in Record World it reached #8). The Billboard Easy Listening chart ranked the single as high as #2. In the UK "Dream a Little Dream of Me" reached #11 that September, staving off competition by a cover from Anita Harris that reached #33. In Australia the Go-Set Top 40 chart ranked "Dream a Little Dream of Me" at #1 for the weeks of 4 & 11 September 1968.