People Like Us is the fifth and final studio album released by The Mamas & the Papas in November 1971, three years after the group originally split. This album came to be because the former members of the group were still under contract with Dunhill Records. The group had originally been signed to the label when it was run by their original producer Lou Adler, but by 1971, Dunhill's distributor, ABC Records, had purchased the label and discovered the clause in the group's original contract. According to their contract, the group had to produce one more album, or else be in breach of contract and subject to possible fines. While the album has some memorable songs, it was considered a disappointment by fans and critics. It did not sell well upon its release. It was produced by John Phillips. Michelle Phillips said later in the liner note of a Mama & Papa's CD compilation that the album "sounded like what it was, four people trying to avoid a lawsuit".
All tracks except "I Wanna Be a Star" (written by Michelle Phillips) were written by John Phillips, making People Like Us the Mamas and Papas's only entirely self-written and produced album. Some of the lyrics refer to John's romance at the time with actress Geneviève Waïte, whom he married in 1972.
Tracks include "Pearl", a tribute to singer Janis Joplin, the single "Step Out", and the title track "People Like Us" which is the last song the group ever recorded. Due reportedly to the illness of Cass Elliot during the sessions, most lead vocals are handled by Denny Doherty and Michelle Phillips, and, while present and audible on certain tracks, Mama Cass does not feature prominently on the album.
People Like Us was reissued on MCA Records and Geffen Records
The Mamas & the Papas (credited as The Mama's and the Papa's on the debut album cover) were an American vocal group of the 1960s. The group recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968 with a short reunion in 1971, releasing five albums and 11 Top 40 hit singles. They have sold nearly 100 million records worldwide.
Their signature sound was based on four-part male/female vocal harmonies arranged by John Phillips, the band's songwriter who managed to "leave the folk music behind" and blend his writing with the new "beat" sound in an unprecedented mode.
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Please note : cover sleeve has one end flap missing