The Mamas and the Papas

They are one of my favorite groups from the 1960s era, and this site seeks to give some information about them.  Most everybody knows their signature song “California Dreamin’”, but the total work of the Mamas and Papas is actually much broader and much, much more interesting than that song alone…

Stylistically, the overall sound of the Mamas and Papas is a folk pop that remains true to their folk origins, with a nod to standards and show tunes, and that showcases their playful approach to singing and their extremely imaginative harmonies. That does not mean that they do not have any variation in their songs, however. Indeed, their body of work includes everything from the sultry ballads that made Mama Cass so famous to the more psychedelic tunes of their final albums. They also covered quite a number of famous songs but changed them drastically to reflect their own style and approach to singing—thereby making them all their own.

Socially, the group epitomized everything that we have come to associate with the late 1960s. Indeed, the Mamas and Papas lived out the entire California youth philosophy of the time—wild clothes, free love, recreational drugs, wanderlust, and an idealistic belief in their ability to overcome. Some of their songs speak to the social problems of the decade but most focus on the conflicting freedoms and insecurities of youth and music and relationships in their day.