Didja know that it was on this day, July 27th 1968 Cass Elliot released her first solo single following the break up of The Mamas and Papas. ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ had been around since 1931 and had been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Frankie Laine and many others. Cass’ version would be the most successful when it peaked at No. 12 on the US chart, and No.11 in the UK. Cass will go on to have 5 more solo hits!
Mama Cass Elliot’s real name is Ellen Naomi Cohen, she adopted her first name “Cass” from comedian Peggy Cass who was a popular television comedian from the early 1960’s . She also adopted her last name “Elliot” from an old friend of hers who’d recently passed away. Mama Cass was blessed with the voice of an angel, along with a personality and attitude that immediately endeared her to everyone she met. However, as good-natured and easygoing Cass May have appeared her weight obsessed her every moment with dangerous radical diets AND DRUGS!
Heroin, became her path to escape her body image and the pressure of show biz. But perhaps the cruelest blow Cass ever endured was delivered posthumously!
Mama Cass Elliot died in April of 1974 in a flat she was renting in London. For reasons no one can totally understand the media immediately ran with the story that Cass died by choking on a ham sandwich. The cruel irony is almost to much to bear, but, the media insisted! The truth is Mama Cass died peacefully in her sleep from cardiac arrest brought on and exacerbated by her great weight! There was no food involved and there were no drugs in her blood stream. Yet, to this day, we hear the Mama Cass / Ham Sandwich story frequently. Donovan wrote a song about his friend Mama Cass, that say’s it all, the songs title is “Fat Angel”
Here’s Ellen Naomi Cohen at her best…WOW!