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Cass Elliot

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“Mama” Cass Elliot, Baroness von Wiedenman (September 19, 1941 – July 29, 1974), born Ellen Naomi Cohen, was a noted American singer who performed with The Mamas & The Papas. She then went onto a successful solo career, releasing nine albums. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, she spent most of her childhood both in Baltimore and Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

Elliot, known for her sense of humor and optimism, was considered by some to be the most charismatic member of The Mamas & The Papas; her warm, distinctive voice was a large factor in their success. She is best remembered for her vocals on the group’s Billboard hits California Dreamin’, Monday Monday, and Words of Love, as well as her first hit as an independent act, Dream a Little Dream of Me.

Cass was in love with fellow Mamas & Papas band member Denny Doherty. His affair with another married band member, Michelle Phillips, was one of the causes of the break-up of the band. Elliot resented Michelle’s perceived betrayal of their friendship and helped to support the band’s decision to fire Michelle in June 1966, when it became clear that John Phillips could no longer work with her. Personal problems within the group and Elliot’s desire to go solo led to their dissolution in July 1968.

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