Saturday, January 20, 2007

R.I.P Denny Doherty


I loved the Mamas & Papas. I'm not sure how normal it was for an early teen to like their music when my other friends were more into Van Halen or the Doobie Brothers. I'd rather have a root canal than listen to the latter. ...and we all know how much I like the dentist.

But honestly, I acquired my musical tastes by starting at the beginning of rock and roll and worked my way up to modern day. I owned and loved the American Graffiti soundtrack. Eventually I went through all the '60s music - the Beatles, the Airplane, etc. before catching up with my cohorts. At least I knew the inspirations of the then current bands. I remember having a heated discussion on the school bus on how the death of John Lennon was much more significant than the one of John Bonham. Regarless of what Joe Lanese thought, John Bonham did not change the landscape of rock and roll.

The Mamas & the Papas did - in their own way. No one was doing four part harmony. The Beatles did two, sometimes three part. Peter, Paul & Mary....well obviously they weren't doing four part. One could argue that the Mamas & the Papas didn't either. Maybe 3.5 part harmony.

It's almost ironic that the least musical member of the Mamas & Papas is the only one alive. I'm not really sure how much Michelle Phillips ever contributed, besides to Knot's Landing. One struggles to single her out in the vocal section. But she was clearly a muse for both John Phillips and Doherty. She certainly slept with both.

Denny was easily overshadowed by John Phillips, but it was Doherty who handled some of the main vocals for the group.

Everyone knows "Monday Monday" and "California Dreamin'", but for those who haven't experienced them, you should really check them out - even if it's just a disk from the library. Heck you probably even recognize "Creque Alley" (my favourite) "Words of Love", "Dedicated to the One I Love" and "I Saw Her Again".

Even for just those songs - it was pretty damn good work for 2.5 years of work. Going from yesterday's post - definately a group who deserved their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 1998.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

They were a great band, and I think most gay guys loved the music. Nothing like tragic endings to make a gay guy wax dramatic. That's why I liked them.