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Doherty of Mamas and Papas Dead at 66

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Posted on Jan 19, 2007
Denny Doherty

The Mamas and the Papas’ Denny Doherty died on Friday at the age of 66. The singer had suffered a brief illness and was experiencing kidney problems.

AP via Yahoo!:

His sister Frances Arnold said the singer-songwriter died at his home in Mississauga, a city just west of Toronto, after a short illness. He had suffered kidney problems following surgery last month and had been put on dialysis, Arnold said.

The group burst on the national scene in 1966 with the top 10 smash “California Dreamin’.” The Mamas and the Papas broke new ground by having women and men in one group at a time when most singing groups were unisex.
John Phillips, the group’s chief songwriter; his wife, Michelle; and another female vocalist,
Cass Elliot, teamed with Doherty.

“Monday, Monday” hit No. 1 on the charts and won the band a Grammy for best contemporary group performance. Among the group’s other songs were “I Saw Her Again Last Night,” “Go Where You Wanna Go,” “Dancing Bear,” and versions of “I Call Your Name” and “Dedicated to the One I Love.”

“What made the group special was their haunting and sumptuous harmony singing,” according to “The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll.”

“Everybody used to think that John Phillips, who wrote the songs, was also the main voice of the group, but it wasn’t—it was the angelic voice of Denny Doherty,” said Larry Leblanc, Canadian editor of Billboard Magazine. “He was often overlooked but it was really his voice that carried the group.”

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By Gary Vee, January 20, 2007 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I purchased the:

California Dreamin’
The Songs of the Mamas and Papas

DVD some time ago and I just love it. I’ve watched it many times. Denny said, on the DVD, “Dancing Bear” was one of his favorite songs which is primarily sung by him. What a beautiful voice. As Michele said, “Things really started to gel when Denny joined the group. A very special and unique group with a wonderful sound.

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By WILL S., January 20, 2007 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I saw Denny’s off-broadway show a few years ago in New York and I enjoyed the show and Denny’s wit and wisdow immensely.  The kindness and affection for the others in his group was very sincere. As well, his comments about Cass were very sincere and touching to hear then and for me to remember to this day.  He admitted on-stage that he was a hard-living and drinking man once he hit it big but that certainly wasn’t the man I saw on stage that night.  He was friendly, casual, sincere, and a great representative of the group, his family, and his country.  I hope someone taped that show so it might be replayed someday on PBS.  I am sure they’ll love hearing his voice in Heaven.

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By A momma and her little girl, January 20, 2007 at 7:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey…
I am just glad that my 12 year old daughter knows
the words to the song from the Mamas and the Papas! Thanks Denny, we will miss you…........

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By CapitalCat, January 20, 2007 at 12:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As soon as I read the news about Denny I reached into my CD collection and played a Mamas & Papas disc. Those sweet harmonies and brilliant arrangements brought back great memories.

Denny spent the past few years of his life working as an actor and balladeer. He abandoned the wild life of the 1960s and reported that he reveled in his sobriety. It pained him that John Phillips could never truly escape his addiction.

We are so lucky that Denny shared his gifts with us for as long as he did.

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