'Papa' John Phillips Dies
John Phillips, 65, songwriter and founding member of the '60s superstar folk-pop group the Mamas and the Papas, died of heart failure on Sunday morning at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. Besides his sweet music, Phillips was also known for his hard living, as chronicled in his 1986 memoir "Papa John." In 1980, he was convicted of conspiracy to distribute narcotics. In the early '90s, his cumulative years of drug and alcohol abuse led to a liver transplant. His was a life of many contrasts: hippie idealism mixed with shrewd business acumen, optimistic lyrics mixed with dark undercurrents. As the principal songwriter for the Mamas and the Papas, which was founded in 1965 (the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998), Phillips penned such hits as "California Dreamin' " and "Monday, Monday." The group consisted of Phillips, Denny Doherty, "Mama" Cass Elliott and Michelle Gilliam, who became Michelle Phillips after she and John married. Recently, says The New York Times, Phillips was trying to reissue late '70s recordings he had made with members of the Rolling Stones. His wife, Franaz, and five children survive him. They include Chynna, a singer, and Mackenzie, former star of the TV series "One Day at a Time."
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