Cass Elliot

Sep 19, 1941
Jul 29, 1974

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.


From Wikipedia:

Ellen Naomi Cohen (September 19, 1941 – July 29, 1974), known professionally as Mama Cass and later on as Cass Elliot, was an American singer and voice actress. She was a member of the singing group The Mamas & the Papas. After the group broke up, Elliot released five solo albums. In 1998, she was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her work with the Mamas & the Papas.

In June 1966, The Mamas & The Papas travelled to London for a promotional visit. On June 12, without Cass Elliot, they went to the discotheque Dolly’s and met with John Lennon and Paul McCartney. As everyone was getting along pretty well, John and Paul were invited to surprise Cass Elliot where she stayed:

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. Paul McCartney and George Harrison met with Cass Elliot and other members of the band again in August 1966, when The Beatles were in the US for their last tour.

In April 1967, Cass Elliot had moved to London and The Beatles paid her a visit in her Chelsea flat, bringing an acetate of their next album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (to be released on June 1, 1967), that they played with the windows opened, for the benefit of the neighbourhood.

There’s a wonderful evocative story about how The Beatles finishes Pepper and took the just-completed tapes over to Mama Cass’ flat in Chelsea, plating the album at the top volume just as dawn was breaking so that the entire neighborhood woke up to it.

It’s a dim recollection but I think that’s true, yea. The weekend we finished the album is bit of a blur. I just remember that we all felt so exhilarated. Pepper had taken six months to make – longer than any other album. When we first heard it back, we knew we’d pulled it off. We’d made something a little bit special something that would blow people’s minds. It was mind-blowing for us. To us, it wasn’t so much that it was a great album musically. It was more that it was an anthem for our generation. It was an album that marked the times and summed up the times. As it turned out., Pepper led the times as much as it marked the times. To get the grips with it, you had to spend time with it. It was influential in lots of ways, and not just musically. Suddenly, music writers had to find new ways to respond because, suddenly they weren’t dealing with Perry Como or whatever.

Paul McCartney – Interview with MOJO, July 2004

Cass’s love affair with England had only been heightened by her trip to London the previous year, and when Stephen Sanders, her old friend from the Shadows back in Washington, D.C., had moved to London at the end of 1966, it seemed the perfect opportunity to set up an English base of her own. […] Sanders swiftly found them a small house in fashionable Chelsea on Luna Street, a long-since demolished narrow line of terraces that wound from the top end of the King’s Road down to the Thames. The house, which was decorated in what Sanders remembers as “low hippiedom” soon became, just like Cass’s Los Angeles home, a regular stop on the social circuit for London’s in crowd. Visitors included John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Brian Jones, Linda Eastman — the future Linda McCartney — scenester and friend of the Stones Stash de Rola — aka Prince Stanislas Klossowski de Rola — filmmaker and director of Performance Donald Cammell, and Beatles aide Neil Aspinall.

After one night’s partying, just as day was breaking on Sunday morning, the Beatles arrived on Cass’s doorstep. “It was six in the morning,” remembered Aspinall to Derek Taylor later, “and we [he and the Beatles] went down the King’s Road in cars to see Cass Elliot… We had the album with us, finished at last. She had a great sound system. Her flat was in a block of houses, back to back, really close together, and we put the system on a window ledge and the music blasted through the neighborhood. ‘We’re Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…’ It sounded great. All the windows around us opened and people leaned out, wondering. A lovely spring morning. People were smiling and giving us the thumbs-up.

From “Dream a little dream of me – The life of Cass Elliot” by Eddi Fiegel

Last updated on February 7, 2024


Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

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