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Monday, 19 March, 2001, 02:34 GMT
California dreamer dies
Michelle Phillips, Denny Doherty and John Phillips at ROck 'n' Roll Hall of Fame
Phillips (right) with former wife Michelle and Denny Doherty in 1998
Singer and songwriter John Phillips, of The Mamas and The Papas, has died aged 65 in a Los Angeles hospital.

His producer Harvey Goldberg said he had died of heart failure on Sunday morning.

John Phillips
Born in South Carolina in 1935
Mamas and Papas won Grammy for Monday Monday in 1966
Group disbanded in 1968, reformed briefly in 1982
Phillips also wrote songs for Grateful Dead and the Beach Boys
Daughter, Chynna, was a member of the pop group Wilson Phillips
"His personality is going to be sorely missed. His music is going to be sorely missed," Goldberg said.

Phillips had been in hospital for several weeks, after falling off a stool and injuring his shoulder.

He was then found to have a stomach virus, which weakened his kidneys and other internal organs.

Folk roots

Phillips was born in South Carolina in 1935, and moved to New York in the 1950s, where he started playing folk music.

Phillips met his wife Michelle while performing in a trio called The Journeymen in 1962.

John and Farnaz Phillips
Phillips is survived by his third wife Farnaz
The pair recruited Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty and relocated to California to form one of the classic groups of the 1960s West Coast pop scene, The Mamas and The Papas.

In a two-year career, they had six top-ten hits, including the 1966 smashs California Dreamin' and Monday, Monday - both written by Phillips.

He was also one of the organisers of the ground-breaking Monterey Pop Festival, one of the key events of the 1967 "summer of love", and one which introduced The Who and Jimi Hendrix to American audiences.

Scott MacKenzie played Phillips' song San Francisco (Be Sure to wear Flowers in Your Hair) for the first time at the festival.


The group split up in 1968, with Phillips and his wife divorcing in 1970.

While Mama Cass - who died in 1974 - embarked on a successful solo career, and his former wife became an actress, Phillips' life in the 1970s was dominated by drug use.

In 1980, he was arrested on drugs charges, and several years ago had a liver transplant.

But he later cleaned up and reformed The Mamas and The Papas in 1982 with Denny Doherty and two new singers.

He is survived by his fifth wife Farnaz, five children and two step-children.

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29 Dec 99 | Americas
Flower power wilts
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