Friday, January 19, 2007

Denny Doherty R. I. P.

To me, the Mamas and Papas were an essential part of the middle 1960s. And now there's only one of them left.

Denny Doherty of the Mamas and Papas dead at 66 - Los Angeles Times: "MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Denny Doherty, one-quarter of the 1960s folk-rock group the Mamas and the Papas, known for their soaring harmony on hits like 'California Dreamin'' and 'Monday, Monday,' died today at 66.

His sister Frances Arnold said the singer-songwriter died at his home in Mississauga, a city just west of Toronto, after a short illness.

The group burst on the national scene in 1966 with the top 10 smash 'California Dreamin'.' The Mamas and the Papas broke new ground by having women and men in one group at a time when most singing groups were unisex. John Phillips, the group's chief songwriter; his wife, Michelle; and another female vocalist, Cass Elliot, teamed with Doherty.

'Monday, Monday' hit No. 1 on the charts and won the band a Grammy for best contemporary group performance. Among the group's other songs were 'I Saw Her Again Last Night,' 'Go Where You Wanna Go,' 'Dancing Bear,' and versions of 'I Call Your Name' and 'Dedicated to the One I Love.'"


Cap'n Bob said...

A shame. I loved their sound and I had a thing for Michelle, like every other red-blooded male.

Unknown said...

Including me, Cap'n.

Anonymous said...


Of course Michelle's affair with Denny was the main cause of the group's breakup, as well as "too much, too soon" syndrome.


Brent McKee said...

There was also Cass's unrequited love for Denny, to the point where she actually proposed to him. What a soap opera that group was.

Anonymous said...

Well, actually, John Phillips's heroin habit was the basic reason for nearly everything bad that went down with them, though intragroup jealousy didn't help. Even if they got a great song out of his junkiedom..."Straight Shooter," which should disabuse anyone not paying attention otherwise of their occasionally-supposed bubbly-chirpiness.

They never got better than "California Dreamin'," but you don't have to record too many of that calibre to be pretty great. Pity how things have shaken out for most of them since, with the last woman standing perhaps unsurprisingly having had the best subsequent career. And she was a cute kid, and could blow a mean flute (hmm, find as many interpretations of that phrase as you choose).

I highly recommend that two-CD HISTORY OF TM&TP set that came out a few back, if you haven't heard anything but the horribly-mastered ABC Records/MCA compilations since the orignal indifferently-mastered Dunhill releases. Their pre-TM&TP tracks as well as the new clarity are worth the trouble.

Unknown said...

And let's not forget the John Phillips CD that I blogged about a while back. I still think it's a great one.