John Edmund Andrew Phillips (August 30, 1935 – March 18, 2001), was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter and promoter (The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967). Known as Papa John, Phillips was a member and leader of the singing group The Mamas & the Papas. He was the father of Jeffrey Phillips, Mackenzie Phillips, Chynna Phillips, Tamerlane Phillips, and Bijou Phillips.
Phillips was born in Parris Island, South Carolina. His father was a retired United States Marine Corps officer who won an Oklahoma bar from another Marine in a poker game on the way home from France after World War I. His mother, a Cherokee Native, met his father in Oklahoma. According to his autobiography, Papa John, Phillips' father was a heavy drinker who suffered from poor health.
Phillips grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, where he was inspired by Marlon Brando to be "street tough". He formed a group of teenage boys, who also sang doo-wop songs. He played basketball at George Washington High School, where he graduated in 1953, and gained an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. However, he resigned during his first (plebe) year. Phillips then attended Hampden-Sydney College on a partial athletic scholarship, but dropped out and married his first of four wives: Susan Adams, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia family. They had a son, Jeffrey, and a daughter, Laura Mackenzie (known as "Mackenzie") Phillips.