Papa John
An Autobiography

by John Phillips & Jim Jerome
Dell Books 1986
Out of Print
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Today most people consider the 60s a silly time of excess and opulence. Mini skirts, tie-dye shirts, reefer not beepers, acid, flowers, happy hippies, and what is now classic rock. But that’s just the surface view.

Many Bio books have dealt with this over reported subject, but few lay it on the line in such graphic detail as Papa John. From the folk beginnings of groups like The Journeymen and The Smoothies, morphing into The Mamas and The Papas, John Phillips paints a vivid picture of the behind-scenes hijinks and life on the road drama. Maxed-out credit cards, living in tents on tropical islands with bags full of drugs, Manhattan flops, meeting the Beatles, writing hit songs tightwired on Eskatrol, double Mondays, San Francisco nights, Who’s and Hendrix’s, Keith, Mick, Anita, and the original Mr. Jones, heady Hollywood Bowl nights, California comedowns and reality landings. It’s all in this tell-all tale, and then some!

Papa John begins with Phillips’ descent from real life via years of using his body as a chemistry set, run-ins and -outs with the law, and the realization that if he wanted to stay on Planet Earth he was going to have to make some radical changes in a life that had been so long dominated by dope.

After the horrific Prologue, Phillips takes the reader on a voyage through his beginnings on the East Coast, through his tenure on the folk music circuit with The Smoothies, The Journeymen (opening for 60s icons Bill Cosby and Mort Sahl) to The Mamas and The Papas. The dynamics of the former was a truly bizarre situation, both professionally and socially, which gave birth to Monterey Pop and the Summer of Love. For a few glorious months, it looked like we could change the world, but in eighteen months the whole scene became nothing more than a whirlwind of narcissism, with a tragic end with Sharon Tate’s murders. But the damage doesn’t end, and John Phillips was a prime example of that.

This book is a cautionary tale of what happened to many visionaries of the 60s. This book is probably out of print, so or eBay might be your best bet to obtain a copy.

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