Cass Elliot inspires TikTok users to create their own kind of music – Rolling Stone

What do Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal and a convertible cliff ride in Mallorca have to do with folk-rock legend Cass Elliot?

The answer — like most things these days — involves a new meme sweeping TikTok. Excerpt of a scene from the 2022 film The unbearable weight of massive talent, the short clip features a scowling Cage staring at Pascal, completely carefree, with nothing behind his eyes, all to the tune of Elliot’s 1969 song “Make Your Own Kind of Music.” Since February 2023, he’s been part of a meme on TikTok, used to display a variety of goofy disagreements between two people, couples, dogs and their owners, and super fans interacting with fandom veterans. The sound alone has been used in 46,000 videos and escalations, garnered over 32.1 million views, and got its own sped up version (which is TikTok’s way of saying “You did it!” ) and even passed through the hands of Elliot’s daughter, Owen Elliot-Kugell.

“It’s the coolest thing I can even conceptualize,” said Elliot-Kugell Rolling stone. “I’m a total TikTok addict, and I especially love the context in which people use the song because it’s completely attitude-accurate. “Create your own kind of music” is really like “fuck you”. I will do what I want no matter what anyone thinks.

Beyond the meme, the presence of “Make Your Own Music” as a staple of For-You-Page created a wave of interest in the caption behind the song. As TikTok can often drive a wedge between a trend and the context of the song it uses, some creators have taken it upon themselves to educate newcomers about Elliot’s story – including his reported disdain for the nickname Mama, the sexism and fatphobia she experienced in the industry, and how she fought to become a music legend.

Although Elliot died at the age of 32, she had a major impact on the pop and folk rock genre. During the first five years of her musical career, she formed several bands including the Triumvirate (renamed the Big 3), the Mugwumps and her own solo act. In 1965, Elliot joined the New Journeymen, along with former bandmate Denny Doherty and husband-wife duo John and Michelle Phillips. She said famous rolling stone that she was only allowed to join after being hit in the head by a pipe and that her range increased by three notes after recovering.

“Workers dropped a thin metal plumbing pipe and it hit me in the head and knocked me to the ground,” she said in 1968. “I had a concussion and I went to the hospital. I had a bad headache for about two weeks and all of a sudden I was singing higher. It’s true. Honest before God.”

The group, now made up of two women and two men, renamed themselves the Mamas and the Papas – and became a major influence on the emerging Southern California rock sound. As a plus-size woman in the 1960s, Elliot experienced a big music industry phobia and was often teased for her weight. The Mamas and Papas song “Creeque Alley” even included the famous phrase “And nobody gets fat but Mama Cass.” But Elliot’s distinctive mezzo-soprano voice shone through the band and helped them land 16 songs on the Billboard charts, including the iconic hits “California Dreaming” and “Monday Monday,” and win a Grammy in 1967. for Best Contemporary Group (R&R). Performance, vocal or instrumental.

After the group’s controversial split, Elliot went on to have a successful career as a prolific solo artist, actor and presenter on the talk-shot circuit, while trying to shed the image of Big Mama Cass. The last album released before her death was a live recording called “Don’t Call Me Mama Anymore”. She was also deeply involved in militant politics throughout the 1960s. rolling stone Asked what role pop music can play in political revolutions, Elliot replied:

“Well, look what he’s done so far. How can you deny the fact that it has mass appeal? It penetrates millions of homes and lives. Take people who have latent thoughts about maybe the United States isn’t always right. They hear a song like “Give a Damn” and maybe it will wake them up. If it gets you across that bridge between apathy and meaningful participation, great.


In 1998, Elliot was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and last year she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. No one is more thrilled with Cass Elliot’s resurgence than her daughter. An accomplished musician in her own right, Elliot-Kugell recounts rolling stone that she thought “Make Your Own Music” was landing on her For-You page due to her constantly searching for things about her mother online, but slowly began to realize the trend was, in fact, going viral. As Elliot-Kugell was seven when her mother died, she has fond but hazy memories of their life together, such as spending an afternoon on her mother’s bed watching football together – with Elliot commenting how good the “soccer players’ tushies” looked in their regulation pants. So even now, Elliot-Kugell is determined to make sure the world never forgets how awesome her mother was. And if TikTok can help her, she’s delighted.

“One of my main goals in my life is to make sure his legacy remains important and alive,” Elliot-Kugell said. rolling stone. “What people feel about my mom is the idea of ​​overcoming adversity. When people are told ‘no, you can’t do something’ or ‘no, you’re too fat’, “People walk away a lot. But my mom didn’t. She was a woman in a man’s world who paved the way for other great women. And that’s important.”

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