AMERICAN MOSAIC #814 - John Phillips

By Nancy Steinbach


American singer and songwriter John Phillips died last month. He is best known as a member of the popular Nineteen-Sixties singing group "The Mamas and the Papas." Shirley Griffith has more.


John Phillips was singing with a folk group in New York City in the Nineteen-Sixties. He and his wife Michelle formed The Mamas and the Papas with two friends, Denny Doherty and Cass Elliot. They moved to California in Nineteen-Sixty-Five.

The group recorded songs John Phillips had written. Their first big hit was one he wrote after walking through New York on a snowy day.It is "California Dreamin'."


The Mamas and the Papas had other hit records. They performed all over the world. The group won a Grammy award in Nineteen-Sixty-Six for another song John Phillips wrote, "Monday, Monday."


The Mamas and the Papas broke up in Nineteen-Sixty-Eight. John and Michelle Phillips ended their marriage. He wrote songs for other performers. John Phillips had problems with alcohol and drugs and talked publicly about them. He was arrested for illegal drug use in Nineteen-Eighty. He suffered health problems, including a liver transplant operation in Nineteen-Ninety-Two. John Phillips continued to write and record music. He completed a new album just before he died.

We leave you now with another hit song written by John Phillips and recorded by the Mamas and the Papas, "I Saw Her Again."

Voice of America Special English