The Beatles meet The Mamas & The Papas

Sunday, June 12, 1966

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The American singing group The Mamas & The Papas, John Phillips, Denny Doherty, ‘Mama’ Cass Elliott and Michelle Phillips, arrive in London for a promotional visit. The leader of the group, and chief songwriter, John Phillips, recalls an amusing encounter soon after with John and Paul at Dolly’s, a London discotheque situated in Jermyn Street …

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 – From “The Beatles: Off The Record” by Keith Badman, 2008

Last updated on September 21, 2022

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

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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!

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