Timeline Albums, EPs & singles Songs Films Concerts Sessions People Interviews Articles

Sunday, June 12, 1966

The Beatles meet The Mamas & The Papas

Last updated on March 6, 2023


  • Location: Dolly's nightclub, 57-58 Jermyn Street, London, UK


Related people

Related articles

The Mamas & The Papas were a Los Angeles-based folk rock vocal group and consisted of John Phillips, Denny Doherty, ‘Mama’ Cass Elliott and Michelle Phillips. In June 1966, they travelled to London for a promotional visit.

On this day, June 12, they went to the discotheque Dolly’s and met with John Lennon and Paul McCartney. John Phillips remembered the encounter:

All of us but Cass went to Dolly’s, the original private London disco for rockstars. Mick and Chrissie introduced us around. We ended up sitting at a table with John Lennon. It was late and we had just arrived. We told him we wanted to get high and asked him if he could help us score some grass. He said he’d have to make a call to a friend who was in a recording studio and planning to come by anyway. He made the call. Twenty minutes later, Paul McCartney walked in with a small bag of grass. […] Keith Richards was there. Brian Jones showed up with his tall, statuesque girlfriend Anita Pallenberg. They walked in with matching black eyes. It was some scene. Our heads were spinning. […]

I saw that John Lennon and Denny Doherty were hitting it off at the table. They almost looked alike in the dimness. ‘We’ve got to go and get Cass,’ I said to Denny.

‘No, she’ll never believe it. I got a better idea, let’s get The Beatles over to the house.’

John and Paul were great admirers of our early music and Cass’s voice in particular. We all piled into John’s famous Paisley Rolls-Royce and went to Berkeley Square. He had speakers built into the underside of the car, just above the wheels. He used a microphone like a CB radio in front, making suggestive and comically vulgar remarks to girls on the street as he moved through traffic.

Cass had gone home early and taken something to help her sleep. Denny whispered in her ear, ‘The man of your dreams is here!’

She coiled up grumpily and barked in her sleep, ‘Fuck OFF! There’s only one man of my dreams and I know he isn’t here, so leave me alone.’

But Denny insisted, ‘I swear by my mother’s fuckin’ grave they’re downstairs, both of ‘em.’ Cass’s eyes opened, rolled back, then shut again.

She rolled over and went back to sleep.

Denny brought Lennon to Cass. He playfully leaned over and kissed her cheek. ‘Hello, beautiful!’ he said tenderly. Sleeping Beauty stirred and rubbed sleep from her eyes. Her Prince had come. Only one man had a voice like that. She sat up, focused on Lennon, and fell back in shock. She shrieked in delight, leaped into his arms, and started dancing Lennon around the large bedroom. She was so thrilled; she just stared and gaped at him.

We all sat up through the night and smoked dope and played music. There was a beautiful, old, out-of-tune grand piano in the living room and McCartney practically crawled inside and started plucking the strings. Cass was deliriously happy and ordered The Beatles to stay at her house in LA whenever they came to town. A little before sunrise, the Paisley Rolls pulled away with the greatest songwriters in the world …

John Phillips – FromPapa John: An Autobiography (of the Mamas and the Papas): A Music Legend’s Shattering Journey Though Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll” by John Phillips, 2006

Some days later, George Harrison invited The Mamas & The Papas to his Esher’s home. Paul McCartney joined them in the evening.

Lennon and McCartney had told George Harrison of their meeting with the group, and Harrison was now similarly keen to meet them himself. He was also interested to hear tapes of their new album. The Beatles were, at this point, in a transitional stage between the collarless-suited mop tops they had once been and the moustachioed tripsters they would become the following year. Musically, there was a sense of open competition and mutual respect between them and their American peers. They were all eager to explore how they could develop and were almost as keen to hear what the Mamas and the Papas were doing as the Americans were to hear their idols. Harrison duly invited them over to his house in Esher for dinner. The excitement in the group was immense.

This was one of the Beatles inviting us for dinner!” remembers Doherty, “and we were all a-tremble!” Harrison sent his limousine to drive them out to Esher, and once they arrived, he was, as Doherty recalls, “sweet — very nice and down to earth” and tried to put them at their ease. They sat around on the floor, listening to records and passing joints. “It was great!” says Doherty. “It was like everybody gets a joint. You just start rolling and by the time you’ve finished, everybody in the room is passing and it’s just going round and round. My God! There were no dull moments.

When it came to listening to the group’s new demos, Harrison lived up to his reputation as the silent Beatle and was quietly noncommittal. “He just listened intently, and wouldn’t say anything,” says Doherty. “It was all very tenuous.” But then, almost as if on cue, McCartney arrived. “I think he was coming by to see George about something, but we just happened to be there and he listened to the tapes too. He wanted to hear what was going on in America and Hollywood.” McCartney listened to “I Saw Her Again” and as it came to the false start “I saw her,” which Lou Adler had decided to leave in the track on one of the choruses, he immediately remarked, “It’s a mistake, isn’t it?” “Yeah,” Denny admitted, “but we left it in cause it sounded good.” “Yeah, we’ve done that a lot,” replied McCartney. “Where?” asked Denny, immediately intrigued as to where this could possibly have happened on a Beatles record. “You don’t know, do you?” laughed McCartney. “Tell me where,” Denny asked again. “Uh-uh,” said McCartney. “If you can’t hear them, there are no mistakes.

From “Dream A Little Dream Of Me – The Life Of Cass Elliot” by Eddi Fiegel, 2015

We were working on the second album, and I believe we took some of those acetates with us. We went over to George Harrison’s place, and we played some stuff for him and McCartney… we just hung out for a while. We were going to play the Royal Albert Hall, but we weren’t strong enough for that, so we just hung out. It was an uneventful time in England. It was cool meeting The Beatles. Lou set it up through the record companies, ’cause we didn’t know where the fuck we were going. I just remember getting in a limo and we were going to Harrison’s place, somewhere out in the country, and there were Ferrari’s in the driveway. We played him some of our stuff, he played some of their stuff, and we sat around smokin’ and drinkin’ until four in the morning. We did the pub-crawl, driving around in a black limo with black windows, smoking a big spliff. It was a promo trip.

Denny Doherty – From “Go where you wanna go : the oral history of the Mamas & the Papas” by Matthew Greenwald, 2002

Paul McCartney would meet again with John and Michelle Phillips, when holidaying in the US in April 1967.

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."

We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

Shop on Amazon

Paul McCartney writing

Talk more talk, chat more chat

Notice any inaccuracies on this page? Have additional insights or ideas for new content? Or just want to share your thoughts? We value your feedback! Please use the form below to get in touch with us.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2024 • Please note this site is strictly non-commercial. All pictures, videos & quoted texts remain the property of the respective copyright owner, and no implication of ownership by us is intended or should be inferred. Any copyright owner who wants something removed should contact us and we will do so immediately. Alternatively, we would be delighted to provide credits.