The Mamas & the Papas

1965-1968, 1971-1972
John Phillips
Michelle Phillips
Denny Doherty
"Mama" Cass Elliot
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • John Phillips has five children; Jeffrey and Mackenzie from his first marriage, Chynna from his marriage to Michelle Phillips and Tamberlane and Bijou from his third marriage to South African model Genevieve Waite. Mackenzie is an actress who was on the TV show One Day At A Time and the movie American Graffiti; Chynna was a member of the pop group Wilson Phillips.
  • Michelle was booted from the band after her affairs with Gene Clark and Denny Doherty.
  • Mama Cass died on July 29, 1974 in Harry Nilsson's London apartment. She was 32.
  • They were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998.
  • Michelle Phillips is the only surviving member of the group. John Phillips died from heart failure in 2001, Denny Doherty died of kidney failure in 2007. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ana - Honolulu, HI, for all above
  • Michelle Phillips was married to actor Dennis Hopper for 8 days in 1970.
  • In his autobiography Papa John, Phillips described his substance abuse problems and his failings as a father.
  • John's oldest daughter, Mackenzie, is named after his songwriting partner Scott McKenzie. The two co-wrote the following songs: "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)," "Kokomo" and "Someone To Talk My Troubles With."
  • Michelle got the name "Chynna" from a snide remark made by John at the time of Chynna's conception. When Michelle suggested they name the baby "India," John retorted: "You might as well name her North Vietnam or China." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Michelle - Houston, TX, for all above
  • They were originally known as the Magic Circle until Cass Elliot saw a TV documentary about the Hells Angels. Friend of the band Barry McGuire recalled to Uncut magazine: "Cass heard that they called the ladies in their gang Mamas. She was lying on her back, kicking her feet in the air and saying, 'I want to be a Mama, I want to be a Mama!' John said he and Danny would be Papas, and that was their name."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 6

  • Bruce from CaliformiaOne of the best all time by anyone. True the vocals are soaring and flawless but no one should overlook the arrangement and the Wrecking Crew rhythm section. Can someone tell me if that was Hal Blaine back there?
  • Ken from Louisville, KyIn an interview a few years before his death, Denny said that right after their early success, John asked him "What do we do now?" Denny said he handed John a Beatles album and said "Write songs like these." Denny said "And sure enough, he DID!"

  • Lester from New York City, NyHas anyone else heard the story about Mama Cass being rejected by John Phillips as a singer, and Cass getting hit in the head with a pipe and her voice being altered enough that John then found her voice acceptable?
  • Michelle from Maplewood, MnMama cass died from a heart atttack it was so sad when all of her fans heard that she was dead and they were not to glad about that when they lost a good lady
  • Michelle from Houston, TxThey were an excellent band. One of the greatest. It's a shame, however, that Mama Cass died so young.
  • Sara Mackenzie from Middle Of Nowhere, Flnice '60s bands. miss them though!!! i saw michelle phillips on tv a few years ago and she looked GREAT!! mama cass, gonna miss her...:(
see more comments

Justin TimberlakeFact or Fiction

Was Justin the first to be Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher? Did Britney really blame him for her meltdown? Did his bandmates think he was gay?

Al Jourgensen of MinistrySongwriter Interviews

In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.

TV Theme SongsFact or Fiction

Was a Beatles song a TV theme? And who came up with those Fresh Prince and Sopranos songs?

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?

Laura NyroSongwriting Legends In Their Own Words

Laura Nyro talks about her complex, emotionally rich songwriting and how she supports women's culture through her art.

Francis Rossi of Status QuoSongwriter Interviews

Doubt led to drive for Francis, who still isn't sure why one of Status Quo's biggest hits is so beloved.