Skip to main content /SHOWBIZ /SHOWBIZ

The Mamas and the Papas' John Phillips dies

Singer, songwriter John Phillips helped define the 1960s
Singer, songwriter John Phillips helped define the 1960s  

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- John Phillips, a singer and songwriter whose music helped define the 1960s, died of heart failure Sunday morning. He was 65.

The member of the Mamas and the Papas died at the University of California Medical Center, said a hospital spokesman.

Phillips daughter, Mackenzie Phillips, was with her father when he died.

"Our father passed away this morning," she said in a statement. "He went peacefully. I was there along with my father's wife, Farnaz, Bill Cleary, my father's best friend since he was six years old, and my father's cousin and his wife."


"We're all mourning the loss of our Dad. He was a genius and a good man and he will be missed. I spent the morning with my sisters Bijou and Chynna. We're all on the way to the beach to talk and walk and swim and to celebrate my father's life, " the statement said.

Elizabeth Freund, a New York-based spokeswoman for Phillips, said the singer entered the hospital a couple of weeks ago with a shoulder injury. While there, doctors discovered a stomach infection, which hurt his kidneys, Freund said.

Quartet remembered for 'California Dreamin'

mamas papas
'The Mamas and The Papas' in 1967. From left to right, Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot, Michele Gilian, and Phillips  

The Mamas and the Papas lasted for just three years -- until 1968, but the quartet recorded some of the most memorable tunes of the pop era, including "California Dreamin,"' "Monday, Monday" and "Creeque Alley."

The group also included Phillips' wife, Michelle (they divorced in 1970), Denny Doherty, and "Mama" Cass Elliot, who died in 1974. The survivors reunited in 1998 to sing "California Dreamin"' at the group's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Phillips also helped organize the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, which introduced artists such as guitarist Jimi Hendrix and English rock band the Who to American audiences.

Additionally, he wrote or co-wrote songs for other artists, including "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" for Scott McKenzie in 1967; "Kokomo," a No. 1 hit in 1988 for the Beach Boys; and "Me and My Uncle" for the Grateful Dead.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The Mamas and The Papas
The Lyrics Library - The Mamas and The Papas
The Mamas and the Papas
Creeque Alley

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


4:30pm ET, 4/16

Back to the top