The Mamas & Papas
After the break-up of the legendary Mugwumps and the Journeymen, John Philips and Denny Doherty formed a new group called the Magic Cyrkle which included John's wife, Michelle.  Cass was the last member brought into the group although John didn't really want her in the group as he thought they could never be successful with someone of her size in the group.  

One night, while hanging out with Barry McGuire, they were talking about bikers.  Barry mentioned that the Hell's Angels called their women 'Mamas'.  Cass jumped up yelling "I wanna be a Mama, I want to be a Mama", Michelle joined in and they danced around the room chanting.  After a few minutes of this John said "I guess we're the Papas".  Barry helped them secure a secure a 5 album deal with Dunhill records and the name stuck.  

Their first single 'Go Where You Wanna Go' failed to chart, although I remember hearing it in constant rotation on bay area radio stations, but their second single 'California Dreaming' made good on the group's promise.  Their first album became their only number one.  Their third and last single 'Monday Monday' was a number one and gained them international success.  

During the recording of their second album it became public knowledge that Michelle was having an affair with Denny Doherty and she was kicked out of the band and replaced with Lou Adler's girlfriend, Jill Gibson.  Who sang on that second album is a controversial topic and there are many opinions concerning it. Only engineer Bones Howe and Lou Adler know who really sang on the LP.  

In a few months Michelle was back in the band.  The album yielded 3 singles and peaked at number 4 in the states.  The first single 'I Saw Her Again' has a false start at the final chorus of the song and was later mimicked by John Sebastian on 'Darling Be Home Soon' and Kenny Loggins later repeated the theme in his 1980s song 'I'm Alright'.  Paul McCartney wasn't as taken by how the group had come in too soon and said to the group "That has to be a mistake.  Nobody is that clever".

 In 1967 their third album was released.  It peaked at number 2.  Denny was in a fog of drink and drugs trying to get over Michelle Philips.  John Philips and Lou Adler organized the Monterey Pop Festival.  The band was the closing act of the show.  They didn't rehearse and Denny showed up at the last minute to perform. They considered their show to be horrible.  

The group made their last television performance together on the Ed Sullivan Show in June of 67.  They then went to Europe to get some inspiration for their 4th album.  While at a Dunhill Records party in England, Cass was hanging out with Mick Jagger when John Philips made a scathingly rude remark about her in front of all the guests.  Cass told him to get stuffed, stormed out of the party and quit the group but....she was bound by contract to perform on their next album.  The self titled album peaked at number 15 and was really saved by the Cass Elliott solo cover of 'Dream A Little Dream of Me'.  Cass left the group to pursue her solo career but before she could take off Dunhill said that the band owed them 1 more album and threatened to sue each member for $250,000.00.  The resulting album 'People Like US' only reached number 84.  That was it for the original Mamas & Papas.  They did enter the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, they were also inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.


  • Kevin Gallagher I think Hendrix was still relatively unknown at that point... wow... Kind of a mis-match of music though...
  • Mary Pat Pettengill No I can't imagine, because each were priceless in their own way. Wow!
  • The Los Angeles Free Press 60's Music Site Maybe our taste for music was much broader then? I see ALOT of this... one group with another, each from a different musical universe... hard to imagine nowadays that an audience coming to see one would sit thru the set of the other.
  • Mike S Handley even top 40 was much broader then rock, pop, folk, soul could all be heard on 1 station one after the other
  • Denis Seger But then again, Gas was $.30 a gallon and a lid was $10
  • Kevin Gallagher heh heh... And minimum wage was about $1.00.
  • Debra Lee Chadwick a whole baggie of weed for $10 got you messed up at a great concert, and the gas took you everywhere...i miss those days
  • The Los Angeles Free Press 60's Music Site hmmm - so what is better now? A dime for a bag if the bag was a bag like it used to be OR a gallon for 32 cents like it used to be when you could get a dime bag when a bag was a bag?
  • Brian Hart I remember triple bills at the aragon ballroom in Chicago cost $6
  • Brian Hart you mean when a bag was a lid?
  • Kevin Gallagher How about the Sunday Love Ins every week at the Griffith Park Merry go round area. I loved those things...
  • Kevin Gallagher For that matter, I saw the Beatles for $8. The $10 tickets were sold out, but at least I didn't have to sit in the $6 seats.
  • Kevin Gallagher Of course, $10 was about what I could get for a full day's work at the time.
  • The Los Angeles Free Press 60's Music Site All a matter of perspective, hey? Then, again, not likely that a full day's work is going to get you Beatles' tickets today.
  • Kevin Gallagher That's the trouble with the old days when prices were cheap. People didn't have any money... heh heh
  • Kevin Gallagher But, at that time, weed was cheaper than beer.

  • Cynthia Chapman Roche The music of my youth
  • James Thomas Giasi My favorite all-time song since my youth Cynthia...so much so that it was the first song I learned to play on the guitar. I sure loved Cass. There's a video of Janice Joplin at Monterey Pop festival 1967, singing 'Ball and Chain' and Cass is in the audience. It's an awesome performance! Check it out if you can.