I loved the excitement they seemed to put in every song. I loved Cass Elliott's voice and her spirit. was crushed when she died. Whatched her shows loved her solos especially Dream a Little Dream.
Thanks Mama Cass.
Because they had the American pop sound no one could hate! Thanks also
to a great producer. Loved by the kids as well as their parents. They
took you places when they sang.
My fav song >>>>>>>>> Glad to be unhappy.
Thank you so much for such a nice site!
All The Best,
From: Gail Slaughter
I like the Mamas and Papas because they had a great harmony but you could also hear the individual voices, and their voices (especially Cass's) were filled with such exuberance. I also loved all their songs...and still do! I saw the recent incarnation of the group here in Jackson in about 1996. Denny was the only original member, though John Stewart was able to perform that night too, and even tho he was just in the back, it was thrilling. Thanks for the extensive interpretation of Creeque Alley.
Thanks so much for making your analysis of creeque alley available for all to read.I am very new to my computer, june 99, but am having the time of my life. It seems for the past 2 weeks I have been playing greatest hits?not sure which one because I have a pretty good-sized collection, in the car and became determined to catch the words to c.a. So, I finally remembered to search here on the internet and ta da, there you were. And I am much the wiser ...more than just the lyrics...its RnR history and I think its cool. Thank you again, Fay. Did I say I was 53?
From: Lottie Liles
Hi, Wanted to let you know that I love the mamas and papas
cause there music is classic. One Of kind.!! Can't get
enough! I grew up with there music and I will always have a
place in my collection for them.
From: Bill Johnson
Why do I like the Mamas and Papas?
Are you kidding? Because they were GREAT. At the time, there could have been no better kind of music for the youth in America. Those harmonies.... Those lyrics.... Songs about love, Songs about life, Songs about musicians making song!!!Harmony, Harmony, Harmony. Range, Arrangements with wonderful taste.
I don't know. It is harder to put into words than I thought, but mychildhood would simply not have been quite the same if it had not been for their music. Take Creeque Alley, I never understood the words until the 70s. I didn't care. The music was COOL. Then, when I heard it again, after I knew who Barry McGuire, Jim McGuinn, and John Sebastian were, it got better. And tonight, I bought a great 3 CD set from BMG (1999) called "Love, Peace and Folk-Rock Hits of the 60's and 70's". It has chad & Jeremy, Lovin Spoonful, Richie Havens, Brewer and Shipley, Dion, the Stone Poneys, and the Mommas and Papas singing "Creeque Alley". Driving home from our shopping, I ripped the box open and played the first CD. As Creeque Alley played, I thought about the lyrics I understood, and those I didn't. It occurred to me that the
rest of the story must be on the web. I came right in, started the CD in the house, and logged on and did a yahoo search for "Creeque Alley" and found your web site. I must say I was pleasantly surprised to find, first the lyrics, then the interpretation you have given. I also must say that your site typifies what the web is all about. Exactly what I wanted to know, and you provided it. THANK YOU and .....
From: DGFROG <Donna>
The Mamas and Papas were the best group ever in the 60's. The hamony and music were perfect.Their music holds up today. I loved them when I was in my 20's. I love them as I am in my 50's. What a loss when Cass died. She'd be tops today.....
DG : )
<°°> This frog message is for you <°°>
From: Brad Fallon
Thanks very much for interpretation on Creeque Alley. I remember that it was my father who first turned me onto them in the late 60's when I was only about 7 years old. Although there was some really great music back then, few groups could span the generations as the Mamas and the Papas did. Typically my father listened to the Percy Faith Orchestra and James Last. Yet there was something about their wonderful harmonies and the brilliance of John's writing style that made them appealing to everyone. Now, 30 years later, I still stop and sing whenever I hear one of their tunes - they are simply timeless for me whereas most of the other music from that era I now find stale and boring.
Just as an off topic follow-up, Zal Yanovsky is still around and I have run into him many times. He now owns a beautiful little restaurant just off of Ontario Street in downtown Kingston, Ontario. The restaurant's name is the "Chez Piggy". It is in a 150 year old grey limestone building and the walls are covered with memorabilia from his days with the Lovin' Spoonful and his earlier days from the Maritimes and with Denny. Seem to remember some great pictures of the Mamas and the Papas too from his own private collection.
Thanks again for all your work on this great website
Malton, Ontario, Canada
From: Chris Freiling
Thanks for your interpretation of the song!
I always wondered what everything meant.
I have loved the music of the Mamas and Papas for only about 5 years but they are without doubt my favourite vocal group. I think my favourite song is probably 12 30 (Young girls) with California Dreamin' and Words of Love coming closely behind. Mama Cass was at her greatest with Make Your Own Kind of Music, a song that never comes and my particular favourite One Way Ticket.
It is great that there are sites dedicated to the best vocal group of all time and long may it remain so. Thanks John, Denny, Cassy and Michelle!!!
From: Seth Becker
I am a big fan of the mamas and the papas. They harmonize beautifully and
provide a sense of fun and escape. With the world as chaotic as it is, there
is no better refuge than being in a room where the music of the mamas and the
papas are playing.
From: Barry Davis
Thanks so much for your wonderful website. I bought a Mamas
& Papas greatest hits CD last night, and now the only way I can
get "California Dreamin'" out of my head is to sing "Creeque Alley"
or Cass's "Make Your Own Kind of Music". Their harmonies are so
compelling I could listen to them all day. They really knew how to
make the most of their beautiful voices by using killer arrangements.
Their sound will never ever wear out.
From: David Hugaert
Thank you so much for putting "The Mamas and the Papas" website
together. Although this group was together for only a short time, their
contributions have had a lasting imprint on the music industry as a
whole. The foursome, which contained founding members John Phillips and
Denny Doherty, and Michelle Phillips and Cass Elliott, homogenized well
as a unit and their four-part harmonies were outstanding. There will
never, ever be another group to grace the music scene quite like The
Mamas and the Papas. I believe if Cass Elliott was alive today, the
world would be enjoying new recordins of this awesome group today.
I've seen the VH-1 documentary "Behind The Music" documentary of the
group, and it is my favorite in the series. It is a very sad state
indeed that there aren't many groups like this in music today. Please
e-mail me your comments.
From: Ian MacLure
The mention of Halifax may need revision "Zal Yanovsky and Dennis Doherty had been playing together in a folk trio called The Halifax Three. Halifax is a fishing port in Nova Scotia and may account for the fishing reference in this line."
Halifax is a city, capital of the Province Of Nova Scotia. Population is about 400K or so.It is Canada's answer to Portsmouth, navy-wise. Denny Doherty was born and grew up in Halifax and in fact lives there now.
Denny currently stars in a children's TV show along the lines of Thomas The Tank Engine but with a marine(harbour tug)theme. His office is in a converted school in the same room he attended 5th grade(School goes primary/1/2/3/4/.../12).
The fishing reference may just have been Denny's way of saying things rather than a reference to Halifax per se. Nautical references were (and to some extent still are) common in Nova Scotia speech which sounds (at least in the traditional form)something like what one would hear around Bridgewater England.
Any idea who the third member of the Halifax Three was? I can't seem to find any mention of him/her/it.
The Halifax Three were Denny Doherty, Patrick LaCroix and Richard Byrne. Zal Yanovsky came in at the end in 1963 and was actually a FOURTH--playing guitar but not really
singing and only performing on one recording with them. Pat LaCroix is alive and well and living in Toronto. He and Denny and Richard started out together as The Colonials - thanks to Richard Campbell of the Official Cass Elliot site for this information.
From: Roy Currie
I only just stumbled on this interpretation by accident, but glad I
did. It was an interesting read and thoroughly enjoyable. I would like
to add the following information, for what it is worth.
Halifax (Canada's Gateway) was founded as a military (army/naval) post
on June 21, 1749, to protect the eastern coast of Canada from invaders
to the south (USA) and the French. We are a small (350,000+) city, but
significant in commerce, education, and much aware/proud of our cultural
heritage. We have the 2nd largest natural harbor in the world, which
allows us to be a major international port. We are not a fishing port,
as your interpretation says, although we do have picturesque fishing
villages along our many bays and inlets. I believe the "tryin to get a
fish on the line" quote, probably refers to a figure of speech,
meaning, looking for an opportunity.
I thought you might be interested in knowing that Denny Doherty,
narrates the character, Theodore Tugboat. Which is a popular children's
television series. He also appears from time to time, on the stage of
our Neptune Theater, particularly in his production of "Dream A Little
Dream", which is a reminiscence of the Mamas and Papas. It too was very
successful and was carried over due to popular demand. Back before he
became famous in the Mamas and Papas, Denny and my eldest brother worked
together for a time, in retail. I've seen a photograph of one of their
escapades, selling hats, on a sales trip to Prince Edward Island. Af
ter many years of going in different directions, Denny and my brother
connected again, and by that time, Denny was enjoying his success in the
Mamas and Papas, living in Hollywood, California. He was very generous
and flew my brother and his wife, out to the west coast to visit with
him. Needless to say, they were royally treated, and it was an
experience they will never forget.
The first time I heard the Mamas and Papas was on the radio, and the
tune was California Dreaming. The music of the Mamas and Papas takes me
back to my teens, when the ideals of the planet were on the line. Thus
the focus on peace and love and flowers, well, you know what I mean.
That's what I think about when I hear their music. It was a crazy time
of historical transition. Their music makes me happy!
Would love to hear back from you some time.....thanks again!
From: Paul Spano
I wrote you about 2 years ago when I had seen the M+P on the TV. I had a
fancy for Michelle. Since then, I realised it was not a fancy for Michelle
at all, but for the lives of the M+P. Since then I have bought most of the
music. I was born in April 1965 and I think I must have heard them on the
radio as a baby. Anyway, I feel that the whole M+P thing was a religious
experience, a chance come together of 4 talented people who in an uncanny
way, complemented each other so perfectly, that a magic evolved, matured and
eventually dissolved ( as nothing that good could last for long). When I
hear the music, I feel connected to an era of discovery and freewill. It is
something that will stay with me always, I find so much comfort in their
music because it transports me to their time, and its a nice place to be.
Paul. I will continue to study your site, thanks.
Dr Paul Spano
From: Andy Kneale
Just a mail to say "Hello". I read your breakdown of Creeque Alley with interest. I like all sorts of music, but most of it tends towards heavy rock - however, I simply adore Cass Elliot's voice, and that is why I like The Mamas And The Papas. I can't understand why she had difficulty in getting in the band - her voice was 10 times better than any of the other members!
Interesting to note that "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" was recently used by Peugeot on one of their ads.
From: John, Cheryl & Alex
I rediscoverd The Mamas and The Papas because of a lullaby tape I played for my daughter. She loved it - so I had to get her more Mama Cass. She's now 11 and plays The Mamas and The Papas' CDs more often than Brittney Spears!
I had almost forgotten how much I love their music (I'm a 60's kid - and an OLD mom), but I sure love to hear those songs again! Really liked your site.
Enjoyed reading your website on the Ms & Ps. Back in those days I was a really BIG fan of the Lovin' Spoonful, so was always keen to learn more about anything that had to do with John and Zally. Thanks for the link to Zal's restaurant. I'm gonna go visit that website next. I hope there are photos
of him today!
Only suggestions: John Sebastian has a website you might want to make a hotlink to: www.johnbsebastian.com
Also, I believe McGuinn's original name was Roger and he had changed it to Jim when playing with the Byrds, and changed it BACK to Roger eventually. You might want to double check that somewhere, but I believe it's true.
Thanks for you labor of love,
You have done a great job! The Mamas and the Papas just sound so wonderful and make you feel good!
HELLO, really good job.
I'm from Ukraine & I'm also like M&P, Creeque Alley is really interesting song & maybe you have the other song-site ?
THANK. so pleased
Also from Rostyk
So good that I understand English & can read about Creaque Alley. Many years I had nothing but 2LP Greatest Hits (produced in Russia... !?), and a week ago I recorded *Deliver*'67 from original am.LP because we have not such music on CD & I first heard such songs like Look Th my W., Cr. Alley, Dedicated to the...., etc. & realized that all songs are better than simply
hits. All voices are really american. Bluesy, jazzy, folky, countryy & ...y, ...y, .....
I fall in love with mrs. Mama Cass & all *Sisters & Brothers*. I am fond of American music & especially Californian sound. I'm from Lwow(Lemberg). Its Ukraine. Here (east Europe) I so need the info about history of M & P & S & B which I'm so interested, so thanks very much for your site. Don't stop carrying on it.
From: Wal Remington
G'Day, from OZ the land downunder.
Really beaut page.
From: Ryan Gooch
First off, I'd like to say that I am 19 and I have been raised on oldies, so it wasn't up until a few years ago that I could keep the bands and their songs straight. The Mamas and The Papas however I always managed to be able to tell, I think it was because their harmonies were unique and the tone and quality of Mama Cass' voice was haunting and easy to recall.
In high school I brought them up in a psychology class and was told to do research into the group and I would probably find depression a major theme, so I did, and I did. Now that I often get depressed I relate more to some of the major songs than I did while growing up. I feel that their music is at once beautiful and full of memories, recently with the discovery of Napster I try to get more of the obscure songs that radio stations won't play.
I enjoyed running across your site, and I plan to use some of the images in an upcoming presentation of the Mamas and the Papa's in a college history of jazz and rock course that is if I get your permission, thank you for hosting such a well kept site.
From: John Arnold
Excellent interpretation - I never knew the name of the song. I saw someone calling it the "no ones getting fat cept Mama Cass" which I was certain was not the name - sure got the song playing in my head however.
From: Larry Croney
I just wanted to say thanks for the brilliant Creeque Alley interpretation on your website.
I'm way to young to have been around for it, but I've loved the Mamas and the Papas since I was a kid. I've listened to this song, and understood some references, but you did a great job putting it all together.
From: Maggie Terry
I love the mamas and papas , what can I say I have if you can believe you eyes and ears LP
and Cass THE ROAD IS NO PLACE FOR A LADY and MAMA BIG ONE AND THE ALBUM WHERE SHE IS SITTING ON A BIKE(CANT THINK OF THE NAME OF IT). And people like us(not the orange one) and lots of singers as well.
What do I like about them well Denny Doherty has the best voice ever that has been on record, the way he sing dancing bears the way the notes go up and now the armaments is wonderful. I have to say that I have see him on TV and he get better looking with age like a fine bottle of wine.
Don't get me wrong what I am about to say but I love that man's voice,I think I am in love with that voice in the way that I sing and the music that is in my soul can feel the music in his soul.
I sing and play guitar and write songs so I can feel the way he voice gets in the soul of people.
As for Cass, well people say to me I sound like here when I sing, I can sound like her a bit but I have to think about it first. Some friends of mind wanted me to go on Stars in Their Eyes because they say I sound so much like her when I sing, but as I was saying to them I have to be in the right mind to do it. If I sing MAKE YOU OWN KIND OF MUSIC AND ONE WAY TICKET I can sound like here(same shape too in some ways).
John is a great songwriter the way that he uses words the way he put together the sound - how great.
Michelle for a long time I felt what she had done to Cass way wrong and all I could see who this women who was not very nice, but after seeing the VH1 show i now see how hurt and young she was and I think now she is a nice lady.
I should say that I am married have two kids and a wonderful hubby we both love music we have over a 1000 record in our house which is made up of tapes cd 78rpm 45 10 rpm and 7 rpm.
Well thank you again. You're in the music of the Mamas and Papas.
I grew up with The Mamas and he Papas in high school and college. I still
love the harmonies they had, their song selection (which showcased their
voices so well) and their lead singers, particularly Denny and Cass. There
simply is no group other than them and The Beatles who made me smile so much!
(Well, perhaps I can include The Buffalo Springfield here, but I smile more
at my first two choices.)
What else can I say? My ex-wife used to take
dance lessons with Michelle in CA, and I know someone in Cleveland who is a
friend of hers. That's about as close as I get to contact with the Mamas and
Papas. I think I'll always treasure their sound!
From: John Collier
The group's songs still remind me of being kid in the sixties when it seemed the summer lasted all year.
Even now over 30 years later it just seems like yesterday.
My mum used to think that the line in "I Saw Her Again" which is started "I Saw Her, I Saw Her Again last night" was a mistake by the group actually beating their intro. My Mum died seven years ago and everytime I hear or play that song it reminds me of her.
Nowadays my CD's of the group go mysteriously awol only to kind my three kids aged 18 - 21 playing the music. And who says their music ages.
From: Pierre Bierre
John remains one of the most original songwriters of the 60s. Other
than this, the band were rule-breakers,
and helped establish eclecticness as the replacement for "good looks"
appearance...to the benefit of countless musicians who followed. Cass'
singing voice was by far the most polished, professional sound the rock
producers of the mid-60's had to work with. They must have been
terribly envious of Lou. As far as Denny and Michelle, they could go
along with John's weird singing arrangements .. had they been been more
egotistical band members, this would never have happened. John's genius
was able to flow, and his level of originality pushed the other
songwriters on the American side of the pond to dig deeper for new
That's why I like the M&Ps
From: Jerry Kountz
That was GREAT! I've always loved the Mama's & the Papa's! I was surfing
the web and ran into Mama Cass's web site and glad I did. The Creeque
Alley site was too
cool. Loved it! All musicains should have sites like that about how they
wrote the songs. Great Idea!
As for California Dreaming, I do it all the time. I remember in 1967,
living in Sacramento, California, laying on my bed doing homework,
listening to my Mama's & Papa's record and looking out the window as it
poured rain. That's what I think about every time I hear California
Dreaming or any of the songs off that album. OH, the memories, the good
o'l days. Life is to short.
Thanks for reminding me of the happy times.
Hi. Though I'm only 15 now, and was never alive to fully enjoy the Mama's and
Papa's experience, I love their songs and music. My favorite band member is
Cass Elliot because of her strong voice and character. She is my idol.
From: David 'Beryl' Phillips
They were an awesome group. Their vocals and harmonies were musically
perfect and had the rare ability to make your spirits soar. The first album
I ever bought was the 4 Seasons "Let's Hang On", the second one was the first
I watched them every appearance on TV, including the ill-fated "last"
appearance on Ed Sullivan when Mama Cass said "Listen while we lip-synch
along with the tape." You knew that Ed Sulivan would bounce them for
revealing that his live show (sometimes) used canned music.
Mama Cass' voice was absolutely remarkable. Powerful and soulful at the same
time, no one but Ethel Merman could belt a song out the way she could.
I'm sorry that - at the same time that I understand why - there is no mention
of some of the reconstituted incarnations of the group. In fact, I believe
it was in 1995 that I took my wife to hear the reconstituted M&P at the club,
The Bottom Line, in NYC. The group at that time was made up of Spanky
McFarlane (of Spanky & Our Gang fame), Mackenzie Phillips (in her mother,
Michelle's role), Denny Doherty (the only original member), and Scott
McKenzie (of "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)"
fame, which coincidentally was written by John Phillips!) in the John
Phillips role. John was sick with kidney problems at the time, altho he had
toured with the band (without Scott McKenzie) in a previous iteration.
The group sounded remarkably good and "true" to the original. Spanky's
voice, not quite as great as Mama Cass', was close enough and more than
adequate. The group sang all the big hits - and Spanky and Scott got to
perform their non-M&P signature songs. It was a great night of reliving the
M&P years and hits - and the only time I got to see/hear (at least some
version of) M&P live.
David 'Beryl' Phillips
Hello, my name is David ,born 1947 Slovenia, staying in Ljubljana. In the
year 1967 I joined The group called White Crows. We did nearly all Mama's and
Papa's stuff. We are still sometimes doing concerts with their songs.
Click Here for photos of White Crows.
From: Tom Burke
What can I say? Yours is the most informative and interesting explication of a rock song I have ever read. It is just a pleasure to learn about those days -- the 60's -- when my older brother and sister introduced me to so much good music. John, my brother, was a big fan of the Lovin' Spoonful (and so many others), and so I became one too. It's great to learn about how they were in the center of a thriving music culture back then -- so free and open the Mamas and the Papas were willing to write a song referring to so many musicians who were such a creative force then. So different from today's music!
I am only now discovering songs by Barry McGuire (ie Eve of Destruction) --what incredible vocal power -- I really believe he had a voice the equal of Jim Morrison and Bruce Springsteen. Thank you again for bringing to light again the creative talent of the Mamas and the Papas and the others that made that era a musical delight. In America, we listened to AM radio back then. AM radio was unbelievable in those days. The variety and quality of music that we listened to has never been approached in all the years since. Today, with everything programmed to the narrowest musical niche, kids have no conception of what real musical variety was when they listen to the radio today. Thanks again!
Tom Burk (Age: 43)
From: Ned Farrington
Great site. I'm honored to be the 10000th!
I hit the link to the 1995 interview, that's fabulous!
I'm also so sad right now. Actually happy/sad for I'm listening to the '16
of their greatest hits' cd and it's making me happy but I'm so saddened of
the passing of John.
Timeless this music.
Thank you for easing the pain.
Sincerely, Ned Farrington
From: Josh Mooney
Gotta love Google...
Just looking for an interpretation of that song-- and found your site in three seconds. I enjoyed your insight. I always knew that song told a great story, and now I know it. It's my favorite M&Ps song by far, and I'm a huge late 60's rock fan (Lovin' Spoonful, Turtles, Yardbirds, Bread, abunch). I think the story behind Creeque and the Rumors album by Fleetwood Mac are my two favorites. Thanks for the info!
From: Neil Metcalf
Just read your web page it is so fab.
I saw VH1 behind the music in the summer in England just before I went on holiday to California I only really knew California Dreaming (which I play at work whenever the weathers bad or just feeling down just to remind me) So it became my theme song for that summer, I bought the greatest hits, fell in Love with Michelle. Then whilst listening to the CD on one of my relaxing baths the son "Creeque Alley" jumped up and bit me and from then on I was hooked I often wondered what all the lyrics meant and have started to listen to "The Lovin' Spoonful" because of the song, So I am even more amazed at your web site, my other favourite songs are "12.30" "Go Where You Wanna Go" "Monday Monday"
Keep up the good work. I am 26 Years old so I can only imagine what life in the Sixties was like with songs from the like of "Mamas & Papas" it paints a great picture.
PS If you could get hold of any important adresses in New York where they hung out (ie Night Owl) I can go visit them when I go to New York in May.
Chow 4 Now Nev
(Try this link to Henry Diltz Gallery at www.henrysgallery.com for a photo of the Night Owl)
"McGuinn and McGuire just are gettin' higher
in L.A. you know where that's at"
Puh-lease! This refers to the Byrds, for sure, BUT it is a reference to the hit "Eight Miles High", which Roger has ALWAYS insisted is not a drug song, but a song about a transAtlantic flight from the USA to the UK. Papa John may well have intended the drug entendre, but the Byrds (as in birds that fly with feathers and Byrds that fly with jets) are likely to discount this.
I love your site, particularly the extended notes onCreeque Alley. Here's a thought about the reference to "McGuinn and McGuire still getting higher". I'm sure it's about drugs too, but couldn't it also be a double-entendre reference to the Byrds' hit "Eight Miles High"? I recall everyone thought that was a drug reference, but if you read the lyrics to the song, it's literally about their trip to London, where, on the airplane, they really were 8 miles high. I don't know if it was released by the time Creeque was written, though.
From Jeffrey Jennings
The reference to MCGuinn and McGuire gettin' higher is probably also a reference to the Byrds' 1965 hit "Eight Miles High", which is about flying in a plane, but also a veiled reference to LSD.
Jeffrey F Jennings
From: Carl Christensen
Hi, I ran across your website and it's very nice. One thing I thought I would mention, is that ever since I heard the song "Creeque Alley" the repeating lines of "McGuinn and McGuire just are gettin' higher" was a pretty obvious reference to The Byrds hit (and probably the #1 song of the60's drug culture) "8 Miles High." I never thought there was any ambiguity to that line!
From: John C. Kaltenbacher
Why does anyone like the Mamas and Papas? They were the greatest during the 60s. Only the Beach Boys could compare, and why bother to worry about who was better. Both GREAT.
From: Rick Mack
This is a great site and an interesting narrative regarding Creeque Alley (title never mentioned in the song like Dylan's great Positively 4th Street, et al) a lot of which I've picked up in bits and pieces (Dave Clark Five!) but not with this depth.
I read Papa John (excellent) and Michelle's book (a disaster) when they were released around the same time. The TV talk shows that followed showed John to be an utterly likable (though seemingly irresponsible) individual who would be difficult to stay angry with. A nice guy, and I've liked him more ever since. Plus I was fourteen when California Dreamin" was released so all of their singles, in really about only in a year and a half (!) had a big impact on me.
Anyway, great job putting all of this together. I really enjoyed it.
From: Fred Esposito
I like you site. It is done well. I love the Mamas and Papas from day one.There is a vocal style that just does not happen any more. Everything now isto mechanical. NO life.
From: Jim Baltimore
Being 52 yrs old , I was around to hear the M&Ps blossom. What the
unfortunate thing was then was that there were so many new sounds emerging
almost weekly that the M&Ps got caught up in the mix. The"mix" was so
enriched by the close harmonies that John insisted on. I have recently
discovered the M&Ps again and my God the sound they produced is so enchanced
by CDs. I often turn on some younger friends who understand harmony etc. and
they marvel at the sound.
In regard to Creeque Alley; the lyric "Cass cant make it" to me may mean that John would write music and then keep stepping up the Key of the song by a half step at a time to get the "energy" he needed to make that close harmony work!
Of the 4 Michelle was probably the least talented as a vocalist, this may have been John's genius, taking an average untrained voice and making it as important to the sound as any of the others. I think Michelle made reference to the "half step" process on a PBS documentary. Any singer will tell you that the process works. When singing harmony its easy to get lazy, but when you need to expel the energy to make a note happen it happens...Look at their faces in any live performance and you will see them focusing on hitting those notes. Even Dennis fingers his ear to make sure he is in key and he and Cass were the best of the four voices.
Thanks for reading this.
Jim Porter from Baltimore
From Bruce Gwarthe
Why I like 'em - they burst on the scene when I was 21 and all the love and laughter of my young life was mixed up with the splendid vocal harmonies and soaring John Phillips melodies that tugged at America's heart strings. Their music took us all where we wanted to go even if it was only in our minds. We wanted to know what held them all together; what did that slim beauty Michelle have in common with the tall, quiet song writing genius John? What was the bond between Cass and Denny? Incredible it was that they sounded even better than they looked! And whenever I hear a Mamas and Papas tune I remember what I was doing when I first heard it!
Their incredible sound will always be a part of my life because their music IS life: sweet and bittersweet. We all died a little when Cass left us, and now John is gone too. What is left is the echo of genius as we remember four dynamic souls who were in the right place at the right time and gave us all something wonderful to remember, for all time to come - a California Dream that became reality for everyone who opened their hearts to the music!
From: Carlos Barajas
Me alegro de que hable mi idioma,su mail está muy bien escrito.
Le quiero decir que me ha gustado mucho su página,creequealley es maravillosa.Gracias Richard.
Ayer puse todos mis cds. de M&P,estuve toda la tarde recordando su música que efectivamente vivirá para siempre.
Un saludo de un nuevo amigo español.
Tienen una Web oficial?,si es afirmativo me mandas la dirección.
From: Gary Holwell
I just recently saw your web site (excellent work) and signed the tribute to
You may have this info, but in the event you don't, here it is. I found in
in a book I have, entitled " Too Young To Die.
'Cass' was given this nickname by her restauranteur father. He named her for
the Trojan princess, Cassandra.
There is a bit of a boring story behind his reason for this. Here is a
Cassandra, the daughter of Priam and Hercuba, was given the power of
prophecy by Apollo. The Greek Cass rejected Apollo as her lover and he
countered with a curse: All of her prophecies were never believed.
From: Breana (JIONA1369)
I love the Mamas and the Papas for all of the same reasons as
everyone else. They were a great group, had a great sound, and their music
will live on forever.
My favorite song is "Safe in my Garden". That song has gotten me through so
many lonely nights. I can remember one horrible night last year. I had just
found out that one of my good friends had died in a car accident. I came home
from school, locked myself in my room & turned on my CD(track # 19).And some
how the soothing blend of John, Cass, Denny, and Michelle's voices let me
know everything was going to be OK. Since then I listen to my song at least
twice a day. It gets me through.
From: Dennis Honigs
[Broke, busted, disgusted, agents can't be trusted,
and Mitchie wants to go to the sea
Cass can't make it, she says we'll have to fake it]
First, thanks for the wonderful site. Next, though, I heard an
interview with Michelle, (I think, but it may have been Cass,) a long time
ago in which she refuted your interpretation. She said the line was
"Mitchie wants to go to the C, (a note Cass couldn't reach and hence had to
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