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Music folk rock Mamas and the Papas band pictures (pic) and photo gallery, albums covers pictures.
Years active: 1965 - 1968, 1971 - 1972.

The group's origins:
Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot, John Phillips, and Michelle Phillips formed the group after previous folk groups (The Mugwumps, The New Journeymen) failed.
After The New Journeymen folded, Doherty, John and Michelle Phillips and others decamped to The Virgin Islands in January 1965 with $9000; Cass Elliott followed on a month later. After several months the money had run out and they didn't even have enough for their air fare back home. Down to their last $20, John Phillips suggested that they raise money by gambling. Michelle Phillips played Craps, and despite having never played before she threw eighteen 7's in a row, making more than sufficient money to return home to New York. (The group's early history is amusingly chronicled in the song "Creeque Alley".)
Cass Elliot then left for California and soon after John, Michelle and Denny followed her, hoping to make it on the burgeoning West Coast Folk scene. While there they stayed with folk singer Barry McGuire. Elliot was at first reluctant to join the band but after auditioning for Lou Adler she signed up with the other three members. In order to stay solvent they provided background vocals for McGuire's debut album, including a version of California Dreamin'. John Philips considered the song too good to let McGuire have and recorded their own version. The foursome hit it big immediately with "California Dreamin'", still their most recognizable and enduring song.
McGuire claims that if you listen carefully you can hear his vocals in the background.
The name of the band was inspired by a daytime television talk show. Before the group recorded their debut album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, the band was known for a short time as "The Magic Circle". Wanting an easier name to remember, they were sitting around their house (which all four band members initially shared in the hippie-haven Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles, also famous for spawning the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and eventually Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young) and brainstorming on a new name. Someone switched on the TV and a talk show was on with a member of the Hells Angels. The first thing they heard was: "Now hold on there, Hoss. Some people call our women cheap, but we just call them our Mamas." Cass jumped up and exclaimed, "Yeah! I want to be a Mama!" Michelle chimed in that she wanted to be a "Mama" too. John and Denny looked at each other and John said, "Papas? Okay, problem solved." And the band had a new name.
In interviews, former band members confided that their recording sessions (and lifestyles) were usually heavily substance-laden, with large reserves of marijuana and popular 1960s drugs on hand. They even admitted that their young children, also usually present at recording sessions, openly witnessed their activities.
John Phillips had married Michelle Gilliam on December 31, 1962, long before the formation of the band. Early on in the band's history (in 1965), when they were still "The Magic Circle", Michelle and Doherty began an affair. They were able to keep it secret from the other two band members for quite some time. During a trip to Mexico, Doherty revealed his affair to Elliot, who was furious (since she was secretly in love with Doherty). Soon afterwards, John Phillips caught Michelle and Doherty in the act and moved himself and Michelle out of the house.
John could not stand to live with Michelle afterwards and so moved back in with Doherty. At this point Michelle fled into the arms of Gene Clark of The Byrds (friends and rivals of The Mamas & the Papas). After one concert where Michelle blew kisses to Clark in the front row, John said he could not stand to perform with Michelle any longer. Consulting both their attorney Abe Somer as well as their label Dunhill Records, the band then drafted a formal statement kicking Michelle out of the group in June of 1966. The single "I Saw Her Again" was released shortly afterwards, but reflects the love that John Phillips had previously had for Michelle. The melody was by Denny Doherty. There is a false start at the final chorus of the song, which John Sebastian later mocked on the Lovin' Spoonful song, "Darlin' Be Home Soon". Paul McCartney was very taken by the way the group came in too soon. "That has to be a mistake: nobody's that clever," he told the group.
At this point they hired a new band member to replace Michelle, Jill Gibson, girlfriend of their producer Lou Adler. Gibson was already a singer/songwriter who had performed on several Jan and Dean albums. In fact, she had been involved with Jan Berry for seven years before becoming romantically linked to Adler. Although Gibson was not known as a strong singer, she learned to sing Michelle's parts within three weeks while the band was in London, England. Jill Gibson's vocals are featured on the band's second album The Mamas & the Papas, except for two tracks that include Michelle. Gibson's most important asset, however, was that she was a good replacement for Michelle: long blonde hair, slim figure, pretty face, good voice, etc. Shortly after recording and touring with Gibson, it became apparent that some fans were not happy with the substitution while others did not mind. Afterwards, largely due to John, the band reintroduced Michelle to the lineup in late August 1966. Gibson received an undisclosed lump sum for her part and later admitted feeling betrayed by John Phillips.
Michelle and John reconciled and bought a home together in Bel Air, while the band tried to forge ahead. Things seemed fine for a while, at least on the surface. The group recorded their third album Deliver, which became a huge hit, and during this same time Denny was drinking heavily, trying to forget Michelle. He still had a hard time seeing her back with John. As the closing act of the first Monterey International Pop Festival (June 1967), the band performed dismally. John and Michelle Phillips and Lou Adler organized the festival, and according to interviews with the members of the group, they were all so caught up in the festival they never got around to rehearsing. That, combined with Denny Doherty's last minute arrival from Canada, resulted in the mediocre performance.
The band tried to work on another album, to which they were contractually bound. After making no progress, they decided to take a trip in October 1967 to Europe to spark their creativity. While in England at a party thrown by Dunhill Records, their record label, Elliot was talking to Mick Jagger. John approached them and made an insulting remark about her in front of the guests. Disgusted and humiliated, she stormed out of the party and quit the band. Their record company released a Greatest Hits compilation as a stopgap measure. Cass was contractually bound for the band's next LP, and therefore appeared on The Papas & the Mamas, the group's fourth album.

The group's demise
The band broke up in July 1968. In a rare interview, after the group's break up, with Rolling Stone magazine, Cass admitted she wanted to go solo, which caused the official break up of the band. Cass Elliot started a very successful solo career and toured the U.S. and Europe, becoming popular with hits such as "Make Your Own Kind of Music" and "It's Getting Better." John Phillips also had a moderate solo hit in 1970 with "Mississippi." In reviewing their contracts, the record company decided the band owed them one more album. After about a year apart, the band regrouped and released their final album People Like Us in 1971.
While on tour with her solo act, Elliot died of a heart attack on July 29, 1974. John Phillips died of heart failure on March 18, 2001. Michelle Phillips went on to a successful acting career, appearing in the 1973 movie Dillinger as well in the television drama Knots Landing, among others. Denny Doherty had a solo hit on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1974 with a rendition of the standard "You'll Never Know", and went on to host a popular variety show in Canada. Denny Doherty died on January 19, 2007. His sister Frances Arnold said the singer-songwriter died at his home in Mississauga, a Toronto suburb, after a short illness.

Legacy
John's eldest daughter from his first marriage, Mackenzie Phillips, had a moderately successful career as an actress in the mid-70s, having first appeared in George Lucas's hit film American Graffiti (1973) and then in the successful TV series One Day at a Time, but found her success so overshadowed by her problems with drug addictionhabits that she had shared personally with her fatherthat by 1979 her career had effectively ended due to her inability to work. John and Michelle's daughter, Chynna, would go on to form the band Wilson Phillips along with Carnie Wilson and Wendy Wilson (the daughters of Beach Boy Brian Wilson), with whom she's been friends since infancy. John's youngest daughter, Bijou Phillips, is a successful actress and model.
The Mamas & the Papas were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000.
Succeeding incarnations of The Mamas & the Papas toured small venues nationwide- the most notable included John Phillips, his daughter Mackenzie Phillips and Spanky McFarlane. Also notably appearing at some time had been Scott McKenzie -but none of the incarnations had the spirit and impact of the original group that John Phillips helped to build.
With the deaths of John Phillips, Cass Elliot, and Denny Doherty, Michelle Phillips is now the last surviving member of the original group.

Members:
-Denny Doherty.
-Cass Elliot.
-John Phillips.
-Michelle Phillips.
-Jill Gibson.
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The Mamas And The Papas - If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears album cover
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