Monday, 1 August 2011

Mono Mondays: The Mamas and The Papas

Mamas and The Papas 20 Greatest Hits
- MFP / MCA Reissue 1980s
This weeks featured Mono Monday artists are The Mamas and The Papas, who consisted of John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Michelle Phillips and Cass Elliott.

Originating from New York City amidst bands such as The Byrds and the Lovin' Spoonful, The Mamas and The Papas  colourful flamboyant look mixed with beautiful harmonies and well crafted melodies must have seemed like a throwback to an earlier generation in some respects, but their music captured the imagination of record buyers both sides of the Atlantic.

Monday Monday was number 1 in the US, while a year later the group scored their biggest UK hit with Dedicated To The One I Love which reached No.2 in the British chart.

Yet the track they most probably will be associated with is California Dreamin' which has been used in many films and commercials over the years as well as re-entering the charts on a couple of occasions.

Lots has been written and said about the group over the years however I think they are best summed up in their 1967 autobiographical hit : Creeque Alley which was named after a club they regularly played in on the road to success and not only name checks all members of the group but also has references to Lovin' Spoonful members John Sebastian and Zal Zanovsky, but also Roger McGuinn  of The Byrds and Barry McGuire of The New Christie Minstrels.

John and Mitchy were gettin' kind of itchy
Just to leave the folk music behind;
Zal and Denny workin' for a penny
Tryin' to get a fish on the line.
In a coffee house Sebastian sat,
And after every number they'd pass the hat.
McGuinn and McGuire just a-gettin' higher in L.A.,
You know where that's at.
And no one's gettin' fat except Mama Cass.

Zally said, "Denny, you know there aren't many
Who can sing a song the way that you do; let's go south."
Denny said, "Zally, golly, don't you think that I wish
I could play guitar like you."
Zal, Denny, and Sebastian sat (at the Night Owl)
And after every number they'd pass the hat.
McGuinn and McGuire still a-gettin higher in L.A.,
You know where that's at.
And no one's gettin' fat except Mama Cass.

When Cass was a sophomore, planned to go to Swathmore
But she changed her mind one day.
Standin' on the turnpike, thumb out to hitchhike,
"Take me to New York right away."
When Denny met Cass he gave her love bumps;
Called John and Zal and that was the Mugwumps.
McGuinn and McGuire couldn't get no higher
But that's what they were aimin' at.
And no one's gettin' fat except Mama Cass.

Mugwumps, high jumps, low slumps, big bumps---
Don't you work as hard as you play.
Make up, break up, everything is shake up;
Guess it had to be that way.
Sebastian and Zal formed the Spoonful;
Michelle, John, and Denny gettin' very tuneful.
McGuinn and McGuire just a-catchin' fire in L.A.,
You know where that's at.
And everybody's gettin' fat except Mama Cass.

Broke, busted, disgusted, agents can't be trusted,
And Mitchy wants to go to the sea.
Cass can't make it; she says we'll have to fake it---
We knew she'd come eventually.
Greasin' on American Express cards;
Tents low rent, but keeping out the heat's hard.
Duffy's good vibrations and our imaginations
Can't go on indefinitely.
And California dreamin' is becomin' a reality... 

Lyrics by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips


  1. Great selection of vids! I just loved this band and still have their compilation album in the car.
    Thanks for the memories Andy...keep em coming.


  2. Hadn't realised that all those references were in Creeque Alley.
    Been meaning to say that the Mono Monday is a great series of blogs. Good idea.

  3. Thanks for the much appreciated comments chaps - there will be more in the weeks to come from the 50s and the 60s and if there are any artists people would like to see featured in this slot please don't hesitate to let me know!



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