Mama Cass was beautiful, fat and a superb singer, possibly one of the best rock-folk rock singers of all time.
She was the one who gave the Mamas and Papas pizzazz and piquancy. She was the one at whom keys were tossed, of whom autographs were begged, the one whose fan club was largest.
And yet John Phillips didn't want to let her into the Mamas and Papas because she was too fat. (Too fat for what? For people to love her? She proved him completely wrong.)
He just didn't understand the draw, the fun, and that the Mamas and Papas brand clicked because of the contrast between blond, thin, somewhat aloof Michelle and exuberant, large, endearing Cass. The male voices basically backed up the female voices, except on a few songs.
If a FatLand had existed for Mama Cass, she wouldn't have had to go on semi-starvation diets, and she wouldn't have died of a heart attack directly attributed to her yo-yo dieting, done because she didn't fit certain strict parameters of allowed weights or shaped. She would have been an idol for longer and would have sung into a ripe and happy old age.
As it is, there is an auditorium named for her in FatLand - Cass Auditorium, on Chastain Boulevard. At the foot of the steps, on the right column, there is a plaque.
Ellen Naomi Cohen/Mama Cass/Cass Eliot
September 19, 1941 – July 29, 1974
The best singer of them all.