Their music, built around radiant harmonies and a solid electric folk foundation, was gorgeous on its own terms, but a major part of its appeal lay in the easygoing southern California lifestyle it endorsed. The group's success was as extraordinary as it was brief, and onlookers may well wonder what went wrong with a performing group that seemed to have the world at its feet for all of two years. The group's founder and de facto leader, John Phillips , born in , was actually quite a bit older than most of the figures who emerged as rock stars during the middle and late s. He was more of Elvis Presley 's generation, the product of a chaotic home life with a difficult childhood and adolescence, and seemed to be headed for life as a low-level delinquent until he was scared straight, and then had been headed for the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD. In the background, however, was music, the guitar, and the sounds of Elvis Presley , the Platters , Teresa Brewer , and everyone else charting records in the mid-'50s.
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Relationship issues and unrequited love drove wedges between the band members
The Mamas and the Papas was an American folk rock vocal group which recorded and performed from to The group was a defining force in the music scene of the counterculture of the s. Their sound was based on vocal harmonies arranged by John Phillips,  the songwriter, musician, and leader of the group who adapted folk to the new beat style of the early s. The Mamas and the Papas released five studio albums and 17 singles over four years, six of which made the Billboard top 10 and have sold close to 40 million records worldwide. Both of these earlier acts were folk groups active in and The last member to join was Cass Elliot , Doherty's bandmate in the Mugwumps, who had to overcome John Phillips' concern that her voice was too low for his arrangements, that her physical appearance would be an obstacle to the band's success and that her temperament was incompatible with his  Elliot struggled with obesity all her life, and felt deeply insecure about her looks . The group considered calling itself the Magic Cyrcle before switching to the Mamas and the Papas, inspired by the Hells Angels , whose female associates were called "mamas". The quartet spent the period from early spring to midsummer in the Virgin Islands "to rehearse and just put everything together", as John Phillips later recalled. Previously, the New Journeymen had played acoustic folk with banjo, and the Mugwumps played something closer to folk rock , with bass and drums. The audition was arranged by Barry McGuire , who had befriended Cass Elliot and John Phillips independently during the previous two years, and who had recently signed with Dunhill.
The Mamas and the Papas , American vocal quartet whose intricate harmonies brought them to the forefront of the folk-rock movement of the s. The original members were John Phillips b. April 6, , Long Beach, California , U. September 19, , Baltimore, Maryland, U. July 29, , London, England , and Dennis Doherty b. November 29, , Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada—d. January 19, , Mississauga, Ontario.