THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS.
My grandparents, Michelle & John Phillips, were in an American gay pride folk rock vocal group with Cass Elliot (Mama Cass) and Donny Doherty in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Their genres were folk rock, physchedelic pop, and sunshine pop. If you don’t know what those genres are (because honestly I didn’t know at first either… Here are the definitions):
Folk rock: a musical genre combining elements of folk music and rock music.
Physchedelic pop: physchedelic music style applied to pop music settings. Basically great music to listen to when you trip on acid, which i love to do.
Sunshine pop: “the pretty sounds of easy-listening, the catchiness of commercial jingles, and the chemically induced delirium of the drug scene, … expressing an appreciation for the beauty of the world mixed with a sense of anxiety that the good ol’ days were gone for good”
After originally being “The New Journeymen” and “Magic Circle”, they decided on the name “The Mama’s and the Papas” as their new band name.
Their sound was based on vocal harmonies arranged by my grandpa, John Phillips. He adapted from folk to the new beat style of the early sixties.
My mom has told me that they were HUGE hippies, and that was confirmed by the old pictures I found of them during their time as a band together.
The Mamas and the Papas typified the new breed of groups that followed in the wake of the Beatles as America formulated its own response to the British Invasion. They dressed in colorful hippie garb and projected diverse looks and personalities.
During the time they were a band, they released 5 studio albums and 17 singles. Six of the singles reached the top 10, and sold close to 40 million records worldwide! Damn. Props to you gram & gramps.
They also produced & performed Monterey Pop, a music festival in San Francisco that drew a crowd of 90,000 people.
Here are a list of some of their popular songs:
- California Dreamin’
- Monday Monday
- Dream a Little Dream of Me
- Dedicated to the One I Love
- I Saw Her Again Last Night
- Creeque Alley
- Twelve – Thirty
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Heres a funny fact I didn’t know until today:
My grandma, Michelle, got the name “Chynna” (my mom’s name) from a snide remark made by my grandpa, John at the time of my mom’s conception. When Michelle suggested they name the baby “India,” John retorted: “You might as well name her North Vietnam or China.” LOL.
These are also my favorite pictures of my grandma and Mama Cass:
They are featured here sitting next to Jimi Hendrix smoking (what seems to be) a cigarette or sum magic grasss.
Growing up, I didn’t realize the influence my grandparents had on the Southern California pop scene in the late 60’s. It was really cool to research and learn new things about my grandparents that I never knew about before. Their awesome legacy will live on and I hope people will still appreciate their music for the years to come!