Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Amazing Cass Elliot

For over a year now, I have been fascinated with the personality, life and career of Cass Elliot.

There is something about her voice that speaks to me. It's so emotionally charged with -- well, every emotion. Even in the Mamas and the Papas' four-part harmony, her voice is extremely distinguishable. How does that work? How does one voice stand out so much, especially when all of the singing sounds great? I suppose the recordings could have been engineered to highlight Cass' voice, but it doesn't sound louder or clearer.

I'm a big fan of the Mamas and the Papas. I hardly ever turn on my iPod without listening to some of their songs. Cass' voice is a big reason for that. They're also just beautiful songs. I know most of their discography very well. My favourites are Words of Love and Twelve Thirty. What are yours?

I think a big reason I love the Mamas and the Papas is their originality. Words of Love starts off with a drumroll and then the piano comes in with this drunken-lovers-in-a-western-saloon thing. It totally complements Cass' performance. I'd never heard such character, courage and fun in music before I got into this amazing band.

The Mamas and the Papas weren't about being cool. From what I've read, there wasn't really anything like them at the time and certainly hasn't been since. Their music didn't conform to any genre. In an interview, Cass said that there hadn't really been a mixed-sex band before them and they wanted a band name that would indicate that.

I don't understand why people compare Adele to Cass. The only similarity I can find is that they are both heavy. Funny how people categorize others based on appearance.

I feel sad that Cass died so young, at 33, almost 40 years ago. I would have loved to meet her and give her a big hug, but I know I never can. I wonder what she would look like now, what music she would have created. Death is still so strange to me. How someone just isn't there anymore. It's surreal because her recordings have immortalized her. It baffles me how a person whose voice was so full of life would be dead so soon.

I'd love to read her biography Dream a Little Dream of Me, but it's out of print, apparently. Arrrgh.


  1. I agree. There is no comparison to be made between Cass and Adele, apart from their size. Cass was extremely witty and had a warm stage presence; I can't say the same of Adele. And I have never seem Adele dancing; Cass was an amazing dancer, and actress. I've read that biography - I have the ebook version.I'm also obsessed with her music and life story. She was amazing

  2. To me the comparison between Cass and Adele isn't their physical size but the size of their voices. They both have huge, bold, distinct, gorgeous voices. That trait isn't something that appears via women in Hollywood all that often. They're both fabulous, fun and kind. Unafraid to stand out and be who they are/were in a world that is focus on conformity. Those are the similarities I see.