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Mama Cass


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Baltimore, United States

“Mama” Cass Elliot, Baroness von Wiedenman (19 September 1941 – 29 July 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 was widely considered the most charismatic member of the Mamas & the Papas due to her sense of humor and optimism, in part because of her large size and weight. She was one of the most beloved members of the group, and 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. The band quickly replaced Michelle with Jill Gibson, girlfriend to their producer Lou Adler. However, by late August of 1966, Michelle was let back into the group, while Jill received a lump sum for her efforts.


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