The Mamas And The Papas
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I The Mamas And The Papas furono uno dei gruppi vocali piu` popolari degli anni '60 e rappresentarono la quintessenza dello spirito hippie.

Il loro leader, John Phillips, si era formato artisticamente nei folk club di New York, ma nel 1965 si era trasferito a Los Angeles, dove assorbi` le armonie vocali dei Everly Brothers e dei Beach Boys. Con un pizzico di intimismo alla Simon & Garfunkel, e un orecchio ai quartetti vocali di dieci anni prima, i The Mamas And The Papas (voci miste maschili e femminili, fra queste quella di Mama Cass Elliot), distribui` per un paio d'anni un sound soffice e comunicativo che gli arrangiamenti di Lou Adler situavano al confine fra soul e folk-rock.

Il gruppo fu celebre tanto per gli hit quanto per i suoi atteggiamenti provocanti (droghe, promiscuita`, abbigliamento eccentrico).

California Dreaming (1966) fu il supremo tributo alla generazione hippie, una superba melodia che prendeva lo spunto dal gospel e, di fatto, intonava un inno religioso alla terra promessa del rock, con passo marziale e assolo struggente di flauto. L'umore di quella canzone era l'umore di una sottocultura giovanile che era drasticamente cambiata dai tempi del primo Dylan o dei primi Byrds. Go Where You Wanna Go, l'altra perla dell'album If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears (Dunhill, 1966), rimane forse il loro ritornello piu` memorabile e il loro contrappunto vocale piu` incalzante.

Il singolo Monday Monday (1966), la cover di Dedicated To The One I Love (1967) e l'album The Mamas And The Papas (1966) deviavano pero` gia` verso un easy-listening alla Beatles: soffici e romantici canti adolescenziali senza nerbo.

Semmai furono canzoni esuberanti come I Saw Her Again Last Night (1966) e Twelve Thirthy (1967), che mitologizzavano il nuovo mondo dei giovani, trasformando la California nel paradiso terrestre e i party in eventi eroici, a giustificare la loro fama. Derivati dal soul della Tamla e dai musical di Broadway, meglio esprimevano l'estasi, la frenesia e la tenerezza che stava provando quella generazione. Il trucco consisteva nell'esaltare il ritornello tramite un ritmo brioso e solenni controcanti. Furono quelle le canzoni che trasformarono il gruppo nell'epitome del mondo hippy.

Furono proprio Phillips e Adler a organizzare il festival di Monterey, la sublimazione di quel zeitgeist, e fu Phillips a scrivere San Francisco (1967), l'etereo inno del flower-power portato al successo da Scott McKenzie.

Deliver (1967) contiene l'auto-celebrazione di Creeque Alley, e Presented (1968) viveva ormai di semplice pop da classifica (Dream A Little Dream Of Me). Il gruppo si sciolse dopo l'ignobile The Papas & The Mamas (1968).

20 Golden Hits (Dunhill, 1973) e` un'antologia. Cass Elliott mori` nel 1974 (era diventata una cantante di cabaret).

John Phillips lancio` la carriera solista con The Wolfking Of LA (Dunhill, 1970). John Phillips e` morto nel marzo 2001.

The Mamas & The Papas employed sophisticated vocal harmonies a` la Four Freshmen to fuel the celestial refrains of California Dreaming (1966), Go Where You Wanna Go (1966) and I Saw Her Again Last Night (1966), all written by their leader John Phillips, who also penned Scott McKenzie's ethereal hymn to flower-power San Francisco (1967).
(Italian text translated by Ornella C. Grannis)

The Mamas and Papas were one of the most popular vocal groups of the 60s and they embodied the quintessential hippie spirit. Their leader, John Phillips, got his artistic training in the folk clubs of New York, but in 1965 he moved to Los Angeles where he absorbed the vocal harmonies of the Everly Brothers and the Beach Boys. With a touch of intimacy a la Simon & Garfunkel, and an ear lent to the vocal quartets of the previous decade, the Mamas and Papas (a blend of two male and two female voices, including Mama Cass Elliot) radiated for a couple of years a soft and expressive sound, placed at the boundary between soul and folk-rock by producer Lou Adler.

The group was famous for the hits as well as for its provocative attitude toward drugs, promiscuity, and eccentric clothing.

California Dreaming (1966) is the supreme tribute to the hippie generation. A superb melody with a hint of gospel suggests a religious pilgrimage to the promised land of rock, with a lively step and a melting flute solo. The mood of the song is the mood of a young subculture that had drastically changed from the early days of Dylan and the Byrds. Go Where You Wanna Go, another pearl from the album If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears (Dunhill, 1966), remains to date their most memorable refrain and their most exciting vocal counterpoint.
The Mamas And Papas took harmony singing of the 1950s, adapted it to the sound of folk-rock, and turned it into a national anthem for the hippie generation.

The single Monday Monday (1966), the cover Dedicated To The One I Love (1967) and the album The Mamas And The Papas (1966) are a deviation toward easy listening a la Beatles: soft and romantic juvenile songs without backbone.

It was their exuberant songs inspired by Tamla soul and Broadway musicals that justified their fame. Songs - such as I Saw Her Again Last Night (1966) and Twelve Thirty (1967) - that best described the ecstasy, the craze and the tenderness that the new generation was experiencing; that gave an aura of mythology to the new world of the youth, that transformed California into the garden of Eden, that turned parties into heroic events. It was with those songs that emphasized the chorus with cheerful rhythms and earnest vocal counterpoint, that the Mamas and Papas became the epitome of the hippie world.

The defining event of that zeitgeist, the Monterey festival, was in fact organized by Phillips and Adler, and it was Phillips who wrote San Francisco (1967), the ethereal hymn of the flower-power brought to success by Scott McKenzie.

Deliver (1967) includes the self-celebratory Creeque Alley. Presented (1968) gave into the simplicity of the pop standard that made the charts (Dream A Little Dream Of Me). The Mamas and Papas disbanded after the inferior The Papas & The Mamas (1968).

20 Golden Hits (Dunhill, 1973) is their anthology. Cass Elliott became a cabaret singer. She died in 1974.

John Phillips formed The Wolfking Of LA (Dunhill, 1970). He died in March of 2001. The lost tapes recorded with the Rolling Stones were published posthumously on Pay Pack And Follow (Eagle, 2001).

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