1969 Mama Cass – It’s Getting Better
The Mamas and the Papas had a turbulent few years in the late sixties, breaking up and reuniting. By 1968, it was clear that the group would only be recording to meet contract requirements, and no longer appearing as a group.
Mama Cass was the first member of the group to strike out and attempt a solo career. Her first single was Dream A Little Dream Of Me. The song was released as a single in 1968 and featured on her first album, even though that recording had appeared already on a Mamas and Papas album. The single peaked at #12 on the Hot 100, her best showing on her own. Her second single from the album, California Earthquake failed to even reach the top forty.
Cass used a familiar collection of musicians to create her second album. Steve Barri produced the album, Jimmy Haskell arranged the songs, and members of the Wrecking Crew who had already worked on the Mamas and Papas albums played on the album.
Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil had written the first single from her second album, It’s Getting Better. The song had previously been recorded by a strange collection of artists: The Vogues, Leonard Nimoy, and , the Will-O-Bees. The single only reached #30 on the Hot 100, but reached #13 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The single did well in most parts of the country, but it didn’t get airplay all at once and ended up spending a lot of time bouncing around on the chart without ever getting any higher. The record still sold nearly a half-million copies, almost qualifying for a gold record.
The Mamas and the Papas had appeared on American Bandstand, but Mama Cass appeared on the show for the first time as a solo act to support It’s Getting Better. She released a half-dozen other singles that charted on the Hot 100. Make Your Own Kind Of Music became her third and final single that reached the top forty when it peaked at #36.
Mama Cass died from heart failure in 1974; a later autopsy revealed that her death was not related to the rumor that she choked while eating a sandwich.
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