The Beatles’ stay in Beverly Hills and meeting with the Mamas and Papas
August 26-27, 1966
The Beatles meet The Mamas & The Papas
Jun 12, 1966
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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 – From “Papa 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.
Last updated on March 12, 2023
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