Mamas and The Papas

The Mamas and the Papas were an American folk-rock vocal team that done and recorded from 1965 to 1968, re-uniting briefly in 1971. They launched five studio albums and seventeen singles, six that made the top, and offered close to 40-million records world-wide. The team included John Phillips (1935–2001), Canadian Denny Doherty (1940–2007), Cass Elliot (1941–1974), and Michelle Phillips ne Gilliam (b. 1944). Their sound was based on four-voice two-part vocal harmonies organized by song writer and leader, John Phillips, an innovator who accommodated folk to the new beat style of the early sixties. Foundation

The group was formed by husband and wife John and Michelle Phillips, once of the New Journeymen, and Denny Doherty, previously of the Mugwumps Both of these earlier acts were people groups active from 1964 to 1965. The last member to join was Cass Elliot, Doherty’s bandmate in the Mugwumps, who had to overwhelm John Phillips’ worry that her voice was too low for his musical arrangements, that her physical look would be an obstruction to the group’s success, and that her nature was incompatible with his. The group contemplated calling itself the Magic Circle before changing to the Mamas and the Papas, obviously inspired by the Hells Angels , whose female associates were called mothers.

The quartet spent the span from early spring to midsummer 1965 in the Virgin Islands to rehearse and simply set everything together, as John Phillips afterwards remembered. Phillips admitted that he was unwilling to left folk music. Others have said he hung on to it enjoy passing. Roger McGuinn’s more calculated view is that It was difficult for John to break out of folk music, because I believe he was real great at it, traditional, and successful, too. Phillips additionally recognized that it was Doherty and Elliot who awakened him to the possibility of modern pop, as epitomized by the Beatles — the New Journeymen had played acoustic folk, with banjo; the Mugwumps played something closer to folk rock , with bass and drums. Their rehearsals in the Virgin Islands were the first time that we attempted playing electrical.

The group subsequently traveled from Ny to La for an audition with Lou Adler , co-owner of Dunhill Records The audition was organized by Barry McGuire , who had befriended Elliot and John Phillips alone over the preceding two years, and who had recently signed with Dunhill himself. It led to a deal in which they would record two records a year for the next five years, with a royalty of 5 per cent on 90 per cent of retail sales. Dunhill additionally linked the group to direction and publishing deals, creating an apparent conflict of interest, although the practice was not uncommon at the time. Cass Elliot’s membership was not formalized until the paperwork was signed, with Adler, Michelle Phillips, and Doherty overruling John Phillips.

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