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John Phillips of Mamas and the Papas dies at 65

Songwriter John Phillips, who as a member of the Mamas and the Papas penned California Dreamin' and other hits by the 1960s pop group, died Sunday morning. He was 65.

Phillips died of heart failure at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, a spokesman for the hospital said.

"His personality is going to be sorely missed," said Harvey Goldberg, a longtime friend and producer. "His music is going to be sorely missed."

Phillips was the principal songwriter for the Mamas and the Papas, writing hits including I Saw Her Again Last Night and Creeque Alley. In 1966, the band won a Grammy for best contemporary group performance for the single Monday, Monday.

He also helped organize 1967's seminal Monterey Pop Festival, which introduced Jimi Hendrix and The Who to American audiences.

Phillips also wrote for other groups, including the Grateful Dead, Beach Boys and Scott MacKenzie, who debuted his San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) at Monterey.

The Mamas and the Papas broke new ground for having women and men in one group at a time when most pop bands were all-male or all-female. Phillips' second wife, Michelle Phillips, and another female vocalist, Cass Elliot, sang along with Phillips and Denny Doherty.

The group's folk-pop sound was a blend of the upbeat pop that prevailed in the mid 1960s and the folk music that gained popularity toward the end of the decade.

The Mamas and the Papas disbanded in 1968 following John and Michelle Phillips' divorce.

Several of Phillips' children have gone on to achieve fame of their own. Mckenzie Phillips starred in the sitcom One Day at a Time in the 1970s.

Another daughter, Chynna, was a member of the pop group Wilson Phillips with two daughters of Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson.

Phillips was married four times: to Susan Phillips, mother of Jeffrey and Mckenzie; to Michelle Phillips, mother of Chynna; to Genevieve Waite, mother of Tamerlane and Bijou; and to his wife at the time of his death, Farnaz, to whom he'd been married for six years.