John Phillips

John Phillips

Personal info and family—-

Birth: August 30, 1935 as John Edmund Andrew Phillips in Parris Island, South Carolina
Death: March 18, 2001 in Los Angeles, California

Susan Adams (1957-1962)
Michelle Gilliam (1962-1968)
Genevieve Waite (1972-1985)
Farnaz Phillips (1995-2001)

Jeffrey Phillips (w/ Susan)
Laura McKenzie Phillips (w/ Susan)
Chynna Phillips (w/ Michelle)
Tamerlane Phillips (w/ Genevieve)
Bijou Phillips  (w/ Genevieve)

Principal site:

Pre-M&P Career—

In school, John formed his first serious singing group called The Smoothies with Phil Blondheim (later Scott Mackenzie), Bill Cleary, and Mike Boran.  Later, John moved to New York where he, Mackenzie, and Dick Weissman would tour New York as the folk trio The Journeymen.  When this group dissolved, John reformed the group as The New Journeyman with his soon-to-be wife Michelle Gilliam and Marshall Brickman. Denny Doherty would later replace Brickman, and John, Michelle, and Denny continued as The New Journeymen trio until changing their sound and adding a fourth member (Cass) to become The Mamas and the Papas.

Post- M&P Career—

Following the Mamas and Papas, John continued writing and producing albums with some notoriety and was poised to produce many great works. Unfortunately, much of his life during the late 1970’s and 1980’s became marred by drug addiction which basically halted his career. Though his songwriting/composing ability (whether for himself, others, or film tracks) remained, it was used on a very small scale. Following a drug trafficking arrest in the early ’80s, John finally gained sobriety and a renewed interest in his work, even fashioning a new version of the Mamas and Papas for a while. He also underwent a much publicized liver transplant in 1992 which seems to have done much for his health.  As a result, John was in an especially creative period in the years before his death, finishing several projects that he had started in the early ’70s that would later be released in two posthumous albums as well as restarting his songwriting for films and other singers.  John finally died of heart failure related to his past addiction in 2001. 


Solo Albums: 
John, the Wolf King of L.A(a.k.a John Phillips) [1970] Tracks
Pay, Park, and Follow (with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) [posthumous – 2001] Tracks
    A release of projects started in the 1970s

Phillips 66 [posthumous – 2001] Tracks
Jack of Diamonds
 [posthumous – 2007] Tracks
    A release of projects started in the 1970s including some non-issued M&P tracks 

Non-album singles:
“Revolution on Vacation / Cup of Tea” [1972]

John had already written songs for other artists prior to the official end of the Mamas and Papas (including the famous “San Francisco (Be sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)” for Scott McKenzie as well as “Like an Old Time Movie” on McKenzie’s 1967 Voice of Scott McKenzie album).  John would go on to write/co-write songs for several singers.  Most notable are the album Romance is on the Rise with his wife Genevieve Waite, “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys, and “Me and My Uncle” by the Grateful Dead, and “Chilly Winds” by the Kingston Trio. He also wrote new songs used on the M&P reunion tour albums including 

Myra Breckenridge – “Secret Place” [1970]
Brewster McCloud  – “White Feather Wings”, “Promise Not to Tell”, “Last of the Unnatural Acts”, “First and Last Things You Do” [1970]
Ciao Manhattan – “Malibu People” [1972]
The Man Who Fell to Earth – musical score [1976] 

John also produced the documentary-style chronicle of the Monterey International Pop Festival entitled Monterey Pop [1969]
Group albums:
With his daughter Mackenzie, Spanky McFarlane, and Denny Doherty, John established a new version of the The Mamas and Papas in 1982.  The reformed group would tour for several years (with many changes in the members) and sing both old M&P classics as well as covers of other artists and some  new songs written by John.  They released a few concert albums including:

The Mamas and Papas Reunion Live [1987]
California Dreamin’: Live in Concert [1998]
    John Phillips, Scott McKenzie, Lisa Brescia, Deb Lyons
    Includes new songs “The Year 2000” and “Love Song” written with daughter MacKenzie.
Live at the Savoy 1982, Sold Out [2004] 
    Includes “Mississippi”, “Chinaman”, “Not Too Cool”, “I Wish”, Zulu Warrior”, “One Day at a Time”, “Flowers”
Dreamin’ Live [2005]
    Includes “Mississippi” and “Sunday Will Never Be the Same”

 John wrote one Broadway show entitled Man on the Moon  (originally known as Space) in which his wife (Genevieve Waite) and Denny Doherty starred.  It ran for five shows in 1975. 

Papa John: An Autobiography (with Jim Jerome) [1986]