Genre Psychedelic pop, Folk rock
Years Active 1965 – 1968  1971 – 1972
Instruments Vocals
Label(s) Dunhill
Former Members Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot, John Phillips
Michelle Phillips, Jill Gibson
Associated Groups The Journeymen, The Mugwumps, The Big 3


The four members of The Mamas and The Papas were:

  • John Phillips who was born John Edmund Andrew Phillips on August 30th 1935 in Parris Island, South Carolina, USA. He died March 18, 2001 (aged 65) in Los Angeles, California USA.
  • Michelle Phillips who was born Holly Michelle Gilliam on June 4th 1944 in Long Beach, California, USA.
  • Denny Doherty who was born Dennis Gerard Stephen Doherty on November 29th 1941 in  (1940-11-29)Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He died January 19, 2007 (aged 66) in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
  • Cass Elliot who was born Ellen Naomi Cohen on September 19th 1941 in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. She died July 29th 1974 (aged 32) in London, England, UK.


After their two previous folk groups, The Mugwumps and The New Journeymen split up, Denny Doherty, John Phillips and his wife Michelle Phillips formed a new group. Cass Elliot became the last member to join. John Phillips had met his future The Mamas & the Papas bandmates Denny Doherty and Cass Elliot in Greenwich Village in the early 60s. The fourth member of the group, Michelle Gillian, he had met in California. Michelle and John were married from 1962 until 1970. Lyrics of their song "Creeque Alley” describe this period.


John Phillips was the primary songwriter and musical arranger of The Mamas & the Papas. Early in the band's history, John and Michelle were responsible for writing most of the band's songs. John would often come up with a melody and some lyrics and Michelle would help him complete the lyrical portion of the song. After being signed to Dunhill Records, they had several Billboard Top Ten hits during the group's short lifetime.

The group's popularity rivaled that of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in the late sixties. Although the band lasted only several short years with five studio albums, the music is recognized today as some of the greatest pop of the 20th century.

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.

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