The beauty of The Johnny Cash Show, Johnny Cash's beloved late '60s and early '70s musical variety hour, is witnessing the country legend's genuine appreciation for his musical guests. During the show's three-season run, Cash welcomed Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Louis Armstrong, Tammy Wynette and more.
Among those special guests was Cass Elliot, also known as Mama Cass, who rose to fame as a member of the '60s folk rock group The Mamas and the Papas. The Johnny Cash Show was a perfect showcase for Elliot's wit and it's clear that Cash enjoyed watching her in action.
In one appearance (featured above), Elliot and Cash perform Buck Owens' classic "Act Naturally," with Elliot doing her best Minnie Pearl impression.
In another classic clip, filmed after the breakup of The Mamas and the Papas, the pair performs a medley of country standards, including Glen Campbell's "Gentle On My Mind," Ray Charles' "Born to Lose" and Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry."
In the introduction, Elliot makes a somewhat prophetic statement, speculating on a limited focus on musical genres.
"I think the day is coming when all the labels are going to be removed and it's not just going to be country music -- it's the music of our country, you know?"
Cash is quick to agree.
"I hope that will happen because, to me, it's just plain old music," Cash says in the clip. "If it's a good song, it's good music."
After racking up hits such as "California Dreamin'," "Monday, Monday" and "Dedicated To the One I Love," Cass Elliot (born Ellen Naomi Cohen) embarked on a successful solo career. In addition to her two television specials, The Mama Cass Television Program and Don't Call Me Mama Anymore, Elliot released her 1968 debut solo album Dream a Little Dream, which featured a John Hartford cut, and Bubblegum, Lemonade &...Something for Mama, which included country and jazz tracks. She'd go on to release a self-titled album in 1972, followed by The Road Is No Place for a Lady and Don't Call Me Mama Anymore.
Elliot, who was a pivotal part of the late '60s and early '70s Laurel Canyon music scene, gave birth to her only child, Owen Vanessa Elliot, in 1967.
Just a few years after her appearance on The Johnny Cash Show, Cass Elliot passed away from a heart attack. The music legend died on July 29, 1974, just after performing a mostly sold-out two-week run at the Palladium. She was 32 years old.
In 1998, she was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Cass Elliot will always be remembered for her incredible talent, spirit and passion for music.
Enjoy all things country?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.