The Mamas and the Papas – Can You Believe Your Eyes and Ears Session


© Guy Webster

“I think it was Cass who pulled out the grass from tinfoil and lit it with all the windows and doors closed. We all got really stoned. I couldn’t even get my lens cap off. I said, ‘We gotta shoot something.’ The apartment had a 1920s-era bathroom with all of this funky tile. I put them in the bathtub, set up my tripod and my big two-and-a-quarter camera, and shot the cover for If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears with my wide-angle lens. There was a toilet in the corner and I left it in. That was a big mistake. You can’t put a toilet on the cover of anything and sell it at Sears or one of those chain stores. They will not allow it. So Lou [Adler] came up with the great idea to put a little sticker on the shrink-wrap that read ‘including ‘California Dreaming’. And the covered the toilet. It became one of the most controversial album covers of its day, which pleased us to no end. I became famous overnight. The Mamas and the Papas blew up, and I guess I blew up with them.”

From Big Shots: The Photography of Guy Webster; Text by Harvey Kubernik and Kenneth Kubernik

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