The Mamas & the Papas (credited as The Mama's and the Papa's on the debut album cover) were a vocal group of the 1960s. The group recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968 with a short reunion in 1971, releasing five albums and ten hit singles. They have sold nearly 40 million records worldwide.
After the split-up of their two previous folk groups—The Mugwumps and The New Journeymen—bandmates Denny Doherty and John Phillips formed a new group, which included John's wife Michelle. The last member to join was Cass Elliot. The band shortly moved to the Virgin Islands, and after running out of money, Michelle Phillips gambled back enough money for them to return to New York. After a short period of going under the name The Magic Circle, the group renamed themselves The Mamas and the Papas before signing a five-album contract with Dunhill Records.
The band's first single, "Go Where You Wanna Go", was released 1965 and failed to chart. However, the second single, California Dreamin' was released late 1965 and quickly peaked at number four in the US, while in the UK, it was less successful, peaking at number 23. The band's debut album, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, was released in early 1966 and became the band's first and only number one album on the Billboard 200. In the UK, the album peaked at number three and remains the group's highest charting album there. The third and final single from their debut was Monday, Monday, which became the band's only number one hit in the US. The song brought the band international success when it peaked at number three in the UK.
The first single from the album, "I Saw Her Again" was about the affair. It peaked at number five in the US and number eleven in the UK. There is a false start at the final chorus of the song, which John Sebastian later mimicked on the Lovin' Spoonful song, Darlin' Be Home Soon. Paul McCartney, however, was impressed by the way the group came in too soon on the recording. "That has to be a mistake: nobody's that clever," he told the group.
When the album was released afterwards, it peaked at number four in the US, continuing the band's success, but peaked at number 24 in the UK. Words of Love was released as the second single in the US and peaked at number five in the US. In the UK, it was released as a double a-side with Dancing in the Street and peaked at number 47. Dancing in the Street was released as the third and final single in the US and peaked at number 75.
The first single from the album was "Look Through My Window", which peaked at number 24 in the US, but failed to chart in the UK. However, the second single, "Dedicated to the One I Love", gave the band a comeback, peaking at number two in both the US and the UK. That success helped the album peak at a strong number two in the US and number four in the UK. Third single "Creeque Alley" showcased the band's history before their success. It peaked at number five in the US and number nine in the UK. The fourth and final single, a cover of "My Girl", peaked at number fifteen in the US, but failed to chart in the UK.
Shortly afterward, a non-album single called "Glad to be Unhappy" was released and peaked at number 26 in the US, but failed to chart in the UK. Also that year, a song from the group's second album titled Dancing Bear was released as a single and peaked at number 51 in the US, but also failed to chart in the UK. The first single "Twelve Thirty" peaked at number 20 in the US, but failed to chart in the UK. The album was then released and was another commercial success in both the UK and US (although it was their first album not to go gold or peak in the top ten in America). After the second single, "Safe In My Garden" failed on the charts, only making it to number 53, their label released Elliot's solo song from the album, a cover of "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and it ended up peaking at number twelve in the US. It also became their first single to chart in the UK after five failed singles, peaking at number eleven. It was their only single to ever chart higher in the UK than the US.
In reviewing their contracts, their record company held that the band owed them one more album and threatened to sue each member of the band for US$250,000 for "breach of contract." After about a year apart, the band regrouped and released their final album People Like Us in 1971. The first and only single, "Step Out", peaked at number 81 in the US and failed to chart in the UK. With the failure of the lead single, the album failed to chart in the UK and became the first album of the band's not to chart in the top 20 on the Billboard 200, peaking at number 84. [wikipedia]