15 Feb JAM, INC. ANNOUNCES WORLDWIDE DEAL TO MANAGE THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS
Read the article at VARIETY.
New Initiatives Planned to Advance the Legacy and Tell the Story of the Pop Icons
Behind Immortal Hits “California Dreamin’,” “Monday, Monday” and more
LOS ANGELES (February 15, 2018) Jampol Artist Management, Inc. (JAM, Inc.), is announcing worldwide management of Grammy Award winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame® inductees The Mamas and The Papas, as well as individual management of Michelle Phillips and other members’ individual estates.
JAM Inc. will work with the estates and families of John Phillips, Michelle Phillips, “Mama” Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty to oversee projects advancing, promoting and protecting The Mamas and The Papas’ (M&P) legacy—potentially including, but not limited to, new retail and digital packages highlighting their legendary catalog; remixes and cover versions of their songs by notable contemporary creators; film, TV and commercial syncs; a feature film biopic and a documentary feature; stage productions; books; and special content tailored to streaming and other digital platforms.
“It’s incredibly important to me, the ‘last member standing’, as well as the Estates of John Phillips, Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty, that our story be told authentically and credibly, and that our music be handled lovingly, respectfully and artistically,” said Michelle Phillips. “I’m thrilled that we’ve all decided to sign with Jeff Jampol and his classy company, JAM, Inc. They have an amazing team of people, and we enthusiastically look forward to working with JAM!”
“It’s very exciting to have Jeff Jampol and the JAM team on board with The Mamas and The Papas in order to preserve and insure the group’s image and memory in today’s digital age,” said Owen Elliot-Kugell, daughter of Mama Cass. “I know that the integrity of the group—and the integrity of my mother—will be treated with the same respect and care that I have accorded them for so long. It’s a very good day.”
“The legacy of The Mamas And The Papas will now most definitely live on forever,” declared Chynna Phillips. “My mom and dad are both in harmony again over this exciting partnership with JAM. Let’s watch this ‘Go Where it Wants to Go And Do What It Wants To Do’!”
The gorgeous, compelling melancholy of unofficial state anthem “California Dreamin’” is undeniably the foursome’s signature moment, crystallizing their many virtues: dazzling vocal arrangements blended with orchestral grandeur and rock urgency in equal measure.
But the ecstatic pop yearning of that wintry smash from December of 1965 is merely the most familiar dispatch from M&P’s expansive world. The magic they conjured at the lamplit intersection of the folk revival, the nascent psychedelic movement and the commercial vanguard also produced such radiant gems as “Monday, Monday,” “Go Where You Wanna Go,” “I Call Your Name,” I Saw Her Again,” “Twelve-Thirty,” “Look Through My Window” and that playful send-up of their own mythos, “Creeque Alley.” Not to mention inventive covers that turned “Dedicated to the One I Love,” “Twist & Shout,” “My Girl,” “Glad to Be Unhappy” and “Dancing in the Street” inside out.
And while they harmonized with impossible finesse, the members were also superb lead vocalists, navigating the soaring strings and grooving backbeats with aplomb. “Mama” Cass Elliot, her delivery solid brass or pure gossamer as the material demanded, deserves to sit in the pantheon of popular music’s greatest singers; it’s clear that while the outsize caricature of “Mama Cass” may be a relic of the ’60s, the voice of the artist is timeless and jaw-droppingly versatile. Exhibit A: her sublime solo turn on “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” Exhibit B: her grit and blazing charisma on “Words of Love.”
The group was born when John and Michelle Phillips, late of the folk group The New Journeymen, joined up with Denny Doherty and, somewhat later, Elliot, who’d been Doherty’s bandmate in The Mugwumps. They first called themselves The Magic Circle, but ultimately looked to the Hell’s Angels for the name under which they rode to fame. “Mamas,” of course, is a term for women in a biker gang. And while the transcendent, elegantly wrought emotion of the band’s sound at first seems a million miles from motorcycle mayhem, the moniker is a hint of the sex, chemicals and combustion revving beneath the surface of their saga.
M&P refined their approach—adding electric instruments to Papa John’s folk-pop confections—in the Virgin Islands during 1965, before inking a deal with Dunhill Records’ Lou Adler. In December they released their first official single, the folky, Phil Spector-ish “Go Where You Wanna Go.” But it was soon replaced by a minor-key anthem about grey skies and West Coast reveries. “California Dreamin’,” written by John and Michelle, broke through in 1966, powering their debut full-length, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, to #1.
Its initial commercial performance was impressive, but what’s most stunning about “California Dreamin’” is its staying power; it still provides a frisson more than a half-century later, and its cultural collateral includes cover versions by The Beach Boys, The Carpenters, the Four Tops, Raquel Welch, Nancy Sinatra, Jose Feliciano, Jimmy Buffett, George Benson, Funkadelic guitarist Eddie Hazel, Queen Latifah, Wilson Phillips, R.E.M. and Sia.
The symphonic singalong “Monday, Monday,” which came next, became M&P’s first #1 single; it also won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals in 1967, as well as a trophy in the short-lived Best Contemporary (R&R) Group Performance category.
The group’s self-titled second album dropped amid the hell-on-wheels drama that led to Michelle Phillips being fired from the group, though she was invited back in the late summer of 1966 after her erstwhile replacement, Jill Gibson, failed to capture Mama M’s essential power. The hit “I Saw Her Again” was a sweet coda to the romantic sturm und drang that prompted her hiatus. The Mamas and The Papas was a Top 5 seller. Next came 1967’s The Mamas and the Papas Deliver, which reached #2.
John, Michelle and Adler conceived, designed and executed the massively influential Monterey Pop festival, assembling its board and programming its revolutionary lineup; the epochal event launched the burgeoning careers of Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, The Who and Janis Joplin, among others, into the stratosphere. Indeed, the label signing frenzy in the wake of Monterey Pop truly marked the beginning of rock’s mature phase.
Not long thereafter—with no less than Jimi Hendrix as their warmup act—M&P performed a now-legendary concert before 18,000 worshipers at the Hollywood Bowl.
The band released The Papas & The Mamas in 1968, but intramural tension was pulling them apart. “Dream a Little Dream,” which became one of their highest-charting singles, fueling Cass’ desire for a solo career. She released her first solo album, and the quartet officially disbanded in the fall of 1968. John’s own debut solo set came out the following year, and Doherty’s in 1971.
A final album of new songs, People Like Us, reached stores in 1971. But the band’s glorious harmonies never left the airwaves.
Mama Cass died of heart failure in 1974, just after a triumphant run of solo shows at London’s Palladium. She was 32. As a solo artist she issued seven LPs, hosted two prime-time specials and became the first solo female rock performer to headline in Vegas—as well as the first to be the subject of The Rolling Stone Interview. She served as guest host on The Tonight Show 13 times, put in numerous other TV appearances and recorded three movie themes.
Though she did release one solo album (1977’s Victim of Romance), Michelle Phillips focused primarily on acting in subsequent years. In addition to appearing in such films as The Last Movie, Dillinger, Valentino and Joshua Tree, she’s been seen on the TV series Knots Landing, Beverly Hills 90210, 7th Heaven and Diagnosis:Murder, among others.
Moving home to his native Canada, Denny Doherty enjoyed a career in television and in music. He continued to tell the story of the Mamas and Papas through his music. He won a Juno Lifetime Achievement award in 1996. He was also well known as the Harbour Master, in the Canadian children’s hit television show, “Theodore Tugboat”.
The Mamas and The Papas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame® in 1998. The following year, they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. John Phillips died in 2001 at 65, the same year that “California Dreamin” earned a Grammy Hall Of Fame Award®. Denny Doherty passed away in 2007. The group was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009.
Though The Mamas & The Papas have been explored in multiple memoirs and other tellings, their true musical import is still revealing itself. Look for an array of new projects in the near future that will bring their songs and stories to life for new generations.