The Mamas & The Papas – California Dreamin’
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The Mamas & the Papas were an American folk rock vocal group that recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968, reuniting briefly in 1971. They released five studio albums and seventeen singles, six of which made the top ten and sold close to 40 million records worldwide.
The group was composed of John Phillips (1935–2001), Denny Doherty (1940–2007), Cass Elliot (1941–1974), and Michelle Phillips née Gilliam (b. 1944). Their sound was based on vocal harmonies arranged by John Phillips, the songwriter, musician, and leader of the group who adapted folk to the new beat style of the early sixties.
The group was formed by husband and wife John and Michelle Phillips, formerly of The New Journeymen, and Denny Doherty, formerly of The Mugwumps.
Both of these earlier acts were folk groups active from 1964 to 1965. The last member to join was Cass Elliot, Doherty’s bandmate in The Mugwumps, who had to overcome John Phillips’ concern that her voice was too low for his arrangements, that her physical appearance would be an obstacle to the band’s success, and that her temperament was incompatible with his.
The group considered calling itself The Magic Circle before switching to The Mamas and the Papas, apparently inspired by the Hells Angels, whose female associates were called “mamas”.
The quartet spent the period from early spring to midsummer 1965 in the Virgin Islands “to rehearse and just put everything together”, as John Phillips later recalled.Phillips acknowledged that he was reluctant to abandon folk music.Others have said he hung on to it “like death”.
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