Synopsis by Mark Deming
The Mamas & the Papas were one of the most popular and influential pop groups to emerge in the mid- to late '60s. Based around the superb songs and arrangements of John Phillips and the lovely harmonies of Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot, John Phillips, and Michelle Phillips, The Mamas & the Papas walked a fine line between fresh-faced pop/rock and the psychedelic influences of the nascent hippie movement, and managed to please listeners on both sides of the fence. California Dreamin': Songs of the Mamas & the Papas offers a history of the group, featuring interviews with surviving members Denny Doherty and Michelle Phillips (and archival footage of John Phillips and Cass Elliot) as well as thoughts from friends and colleagues John Sebastian, Barry McGuire, Lou Adler, and many more. Also included are vintage television performances in which the group sing many of their biggest hits, including "Monday Monday," "I Saw Her Again," "Twelve Thirty," "Creeque Alley," "Words of Love" "Dedicated to the One I Love," and the title tune.