The Mamas and the Papas

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Shania Twain
  • Category:


The Mamas and the Papas’ Southern California sound captured the spirit of the West Coast.

Their distinct voices and personalities blended together to form an extraordinary group that was more than the sum of its parts. The Mamas and the Papas had gorgeous, intricate arrangements that became emblematic of their time.

Hall of Fame Essay


Paul Evans

“California Dreamin’.” Even now the phrase had the power to haunt. 

Though a bit shopworn, co-opted by advertising sloganeers, it still evokes what it first suggested - an overpowering yearning, a dream from the depths of winter,  of healing sunshine. And it’s impossible to hear the  phrase without hearing the harmonies, soaring and wistful, of the Mamas and the Papas. 

John Phillips wrote the song, as he did most of the quartet’s singles, but the sound is emphatically a group sound: John’s guitar backing the soprano of his wife Michelle, Denny Doherty’s lead tenor, the ripe alto of Cass Elliot, strongest of the group’s four singers. 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 1998
1 of 2
Cass is sitting on top of that big full moon tonight looking down on these proceedings
Michelle Phillips



Photography: Kevin Mazur, WireImage