Archive for February, 2010
“I really, really enjoy music and that’s why I do what I do.”
Last Dance – Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis – Something New In My Life
Lovers In New York – Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis – Pieces of Dreams
Johnny Mathis – Man Of La Mancha Medley
Johnny Mathis – Misty
Johnny Mathis – Chances Are
Johnny Mathis – It´s Not For Me To Say
Johnny Mathis – Wonderful Wonderful
Johnny Mathis – A Certain Smile
Johnny Mathis – The Twelfth Of Never
Johnny Mathis – Maria
Johnny Mathis – One Day In Your Life
Johnny Mathis – 99 Miles From LA
Johnny Mathis – Fly Me To The Moon
When You Wish Upon A Star by Johnny Mathis
The Very Thought Of You by Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis – Come Running
Dear Heart Moon River by Johnny Mathis
Shangri-la by Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis – You’ll Never Know
Johnny Mathis – Stardust
Johnny Mathis ~ My Funny Valentine (Live in U.K.)
Johnny Mathis ~ All I Ask Of You ~ Phantom of the Opera
Johnny Mathis – Life is What You Make It
“My favorite singer to this day is Nat King Cole. I’ve tried to emulate his phrasing. It is so absolutely beautiful to listen to his lovely voice.”
Background Articles and Videos
Johnny Mathis Official Web Site
“…Johnny Mathis (born John Royce Mathis, September 30, 1935) is an American singer of popular music.
One of the last in a long line of traditional male vocalists who emerged before the 1960s, Mathis concentrated on romantic jazz and pop standards for the adult contemporary audience through to the 1980s. Starting his career with a flurry of singles of standards, Mathis became more popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status, and over 60 making the Billboard charts. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Mathis has sales of over 17 million certified units in the United States. According to British recordings chart historian and music writer Paul Gambaccini, Mathis has recorded over 130 albums and sold more than 180 million records worldwide.
Mathis was born on September 30, 1935 in Gilmer, Texas, the fourth of seven children to Clem Mathis and his wife, Mildred Boyd, and is of both African-American and Caucasian ancestry. The family moved when he was young to San Francisco, California on Post Street, in the famous Fillmore district where he was raised. His father worked for a time in vaudeville, and when he saw the budding talent in his son, the elder Mathis bought an old upright piano for US$25 to encourage his efforts. From his father, Mathis began learning songs and routines–his first song being “My Blue Heaven.” Mathis started out singing and dancing for visitors at home, and later publicly, at school and church events.
At thirteen, Mathis was taken to Connie Cox, a San Francisco Bay Area voice teacher, who accepted him as a student in exchange for work he would do around her house. He studied with Cox for six years, learning vocal scales and exercises, voice production, classical and operatic skills. He remains one of the few popular singers who has received years of professional voice training that included opera. The first band that Mathis would sing with as a young 13-year-old was formed by fellow San Francisco resident, Merl Saunders, whom Mathis eulogized in October, 2007 at his funeral to thank for giving him his first break as a singer.
At George Washington High School, Mathis was well known not only for his singing abilities, but also as a star athlete. On the track and field team, he was a high jumper and hurdler, and on the basketball team, he earned four athletic letters. In 1954, Mathis enrolled at San Francisco State University on a scholarship with the intention of becoming an English and physical education teacher.
He was spotted at a jam session by Helen Noga, former head cocktail waitress and co-owner of The Black Hawk Club at 200 Hyde Street in San Francisco and The DownBeat Club along with her husband John, and Guido Caccienti. She became his manager. The clubs attracted the world’s finest jazz musicians, including Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, and Billie Holiday. John Noga and Guido Caccienti had opened the Black Hawk in the fall of 1949 for $10,000. In September 1955, after Noga landed Mathis a job singing weekends at Ann Dee’s 440 Club, she ruthlessly pursued jazz producer George Avakian, who she found out was on vacation in the Bay Area. Avakian came to see him sing, and sent the now famous telegram to Columbia Records: Have found phenomenal 19-year old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts.
Mathis now had to decide whether to go to the Olympic tryouts, to which he had been invited, or to keep an appointment in New York to make his first recordings, which were subsequently released in 1956. With his father’s advice, Mathis opted for a recording career and the rest is history. He has never completely abandoned his enthusiasm for sports and today is an avid golfer who has achieved six holes-in-one, and has hosted several Johnny Mathis Golf Tournaments in the USA and the United Kingdom. Since 1985 he has been hosting a charity golf tournament in Belfast sponsored by Shell corporation, and the annual Johnny Mathis Invitational Track & Field Meet has continued at San Francisco State College since it started in 1982.
His first album Johnny Mathis: A New Sound In Popular Song was a slow-selling jazz album, but Mathis stayed in New York to play the clubs. His second album was produced by Columbia records vice-president and producer Mitch Miller, who defined the Mathis sound – he preferred him to sing soft, romantic ballads, initially pairing him with arranger/conductor Ray Conniff, and later, Ray Ellis, Glenn Osser and Robert Mersey. In late 1956, Mathis recorded two of his most popular songs – “Wonderful! Wonderful!” and “It’s Not For Me To Say.” That year MGM signed Mathis to sing the latter song in the 1957 film Lizzie, and shortly afterward he made his second film appearance for 20th Century Fox singing the song “A Certain Smile” in the film of the same name. He had small acting roles in both movies as a bar singer. This early cinematic visibility in two successful movies gave him mass exposure. Next was his appearance on the very popular Ed Sullivan Show in 1957 and this helped to seal his stardom. Critics called him the velvet voice.
In summer of 1958, Mathis left San Francisco with the Nogas, who sold their interest in the Black Hawk club that year to Max Weiss, secretary-treasurer of San Francisco’s avant-garde Fantasy Records, and moved to Beverly Hills where the Nogas purchased a home in which Mathis lived with them, their daughter Beverly, and their granddaughter, at 806 North Elm Drive at the corner of Elm and Sunset Boulevard, built in 1931 by the Max Factor family and later owned by Mabel C. Birdwell and Lillian and Ben Young, for about $99,500, which the Nogas later sold to singer Dionne Warwick in the summer of 1973 for around $359,500. Helen Noga, looking to expand her operations into production, financing, and publishing, also founded and funded Philles Records in 1961 with Phil Spector, with Lester Sills handling the business side of sales and promotion, which launched the Crystals in September 1961. Using money from Liberty Records, Noga was bought out by Spector in 1962 for around $60,000. Mathis had two of his biggest hits in the years 1962 and 1963, with “Gina” (#6) and “What Will Mary Say” (#9). In October 1964, Mathis sued Noga to void the management arrangement, which Noga fought with a counterclaim in December 1964. Mathis purchased a mansion in the Hollywood Hills, that was originally built by billionaire Howard Hughes in 1946, and later owned by hotel owner Hyatt R. Von Dehn and Oilman Robert Calhoun, and where he still maintains a residence.
After splitting from Noga, Mathis established Jon Mat Records, Inc., incorporated in California May 11, 1967 to produce his recordings, and Rojon Productions, Inc., incorporated in California September 30, 1964 to handle all of his concert, theater, showroom and television appearances, and all promotional and charitable activities. His new manager and business partner was Ray Haughn, who helped guide his career until his death in September 1984. Since that time, Mathis has taken sole responsibility for his career, operating from office suites at 1612 W Olive Avenue in Burbank. With the exception of a four-year break with Mercury Records in the mid-1960s, he has been with Columbia Records throughout his recording career.
Pieces of music from numerous Mathis albums continue to be used throughout motion pictures and television with great effect to impart nostalgia or mood themes, for example Chances Are memorably used during an alien visit in the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and various numbers currently in the hit TV series Mad Men.
Although he is frequently described as a romantic singer, his vast discography includes jazz, traditional pop, Brazilian and Spanish music, Soul, R&B, soft rock, Broadway, Tin Pan Alley standards, some blues and country songs, and even a few disco tunes for his album Mathis Magic (1979). In 1980/81 Mathis recorded an album with Chic’s Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, I Love My Lady, which remains unreleased. Mathis also remains highly associated with holiday music, having recorded nine Christmas albums. Mathis has the distinction of having the longest stay of any recording artist on the Columbia Record label, having been with the label from 1956 to 1963 and from 1968 to the present.
In 1958, Johnny’s Greatest Hits was released and was the first ever Greatest Hits album in the music industry. It began the Greatest Hits tradition copied by every record company. Johnny’s Greatest Hits spent an unprecedented 490 consecutive weeks (nine and a half years) on the Billboard album chart, a feat earning him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records and not broken until the 1980s by Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. He has had five of his albums on the Billboard charts simultaneously, an achievement equaled by only two other singers, Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow. He released 200 singles and had 71 songs charted around the world.
He has received three Grammy awards. In 1979, his hit duet “The Last Time I Felt Like This” from the film Same Time, Next Year was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Mathis and Jane Olivor sang the song at the Oscar ceremony. This was his second performance at the Academy Awards. He has taped twelve of his own television specials and made over 300 television guest appearances with 33 of them being on The Tonight Show. Through the years his songs (or parts of them) have been heard in 100 plus television shows and films around the globe. His appearance on the Live by Request broadcast in May 1998 on the A&E Network had the largest television viewing audience of the series. Also in 1989, Johnny sang the opening theme for the ABC daytime soap opera Loving.
Mathis continues to perform but from 2000 onwards has limited his concert engagements to fifty to sixty appearances per year. In 2006, his schedule included a UK tour that included his annual Scottish golf vacation and attendance at the 2006 Ryder Cup, two stints at his favourite Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. He still records and his 2005 album Isn’t It Romantic: The Standards Album has been enthusiastically received by critics and music buyers. Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, who heard over 2000 singers on his show, said: “Johnny Mathis is the best ballad singer in the world.” He appeared on the NBC Tonight Show with Jay Leno as a guest on March 29, 2007 performing the classic “The Shadow of Your Smile” with saxophonist Dave Koz. Mathis returned to the UK Top 20 album chart in 2007 with the Sony BMG release “The Very Best of Johnny Mathis” and again in 2008 with the Columbia CD “A Night to Remember”. …”
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“Working with the Kinks, there always seemed to be some kind of automatic process at work. Ray and I had this telepathy happening for a long time, where one of us always knew what the other could do with something.”
~ Dave Davies
the kinks all day and all of the night
the kinks you really got me
The Kinks – Tired of Waiting
The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon
The Kinks – Lola
The Kinks – Days – ’69
The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
Come Dancing – The Kinks
The Kinks – Apeman 1970
THE KINKS – VICTORIA
The Kinks – 20th Century Man
The Kinks – Dead End Street
THE KINKS -Wonder Boy
The Kinks-village Green
“Ray is very secretive about his ideas – why not, the times that the Kinks have been ripped off, especially in the early years, it makes you a little bit cautious about telling anybody what you’re doing. And that’s understandable.”
~ Dave Davies
Bacground Articles and Videos
Ray Davies interview 1985
Kinks – Hatred – Celluloid Heroes + Interview – Live!
Ray Davies Interview About Dave Davies, Chrissie Hynde, The Kinks, Postcard From London
“… The Kinks were an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, by brothers Ray and Dave Davies in 1964. Categorized in the United States as a British Invasion band, The Kinks are recognized as one of the most important and influential rock acts of the era. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including rhythm and blues, British music hall, folk, and country. The group initially consisted of Ray Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals), Pete Quaife (bass guitar, backup vocals), and Mick Avory (drums and percussion). The Davies brothers remained members throughout the group’s 32-year run. Avory left in 1984, the result of a dispute with Dave Davies, and was replaced on drums by Bob Henrit. John Dalton played bass for part of 1966 after Quaife was injured in a car accident, and joined as a full-time member when Quaife left to set up his own band in 1969. Dalton remained until the late 1970s, when he was replaced by Jim Rodford. From 1965 to 1968, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins accompanied The Kinks during studio sessions. Several keyboardists were later members of the band, most notably John Gosling (1970–1978) and Ian Gibbons (1979–1989, 1992–1996).
The Kinks first came to prominence in 1964 with their third single, “You Really Got Me”, written by Ray Davies. It became an international hit, topping the charts in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Between the mid-1960s and early 1970s, the group released a string of commercially and critically successful singles and LPs, and gained a reputation for songs and concept albums reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies’ observational writing style. Albums such as Face to Face, Something Else, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, and Muswell Hillbillies, along with their accompanying singles, are considered among the most influential recordings of the period. The subsequent theatrical concept albums met with less success, but the band experienced a revival during the New Wave era—groups such as The Jam, The Knack, and The Pretenders covered their songs, helping to boost The Kinks’ record sales. In the 1990s, Britpop acts such as Blur and Oasis cited the band as a major influence. The Kinks broke up in 1996, a result of the commercial failures of their last few albums and creative tension between the Davies brothers.
The Kinks had five Top 10 singles on the US Billboard chart. Nine of their albums charted in the Top 40. In the UK, the group had seventeen Top 20 singles on the British chart along with five Top 10 albums. Among numerous honours, they received the Ivor Novello Award for “Outstanding Service to British Music”. In 1990, their first year of eligibility, the original four members of The Kinks were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. …”
The Kinks’ Ray and Dave Davies to reunite?
Ray Davies also set to work with Bruce Springsteen
December 14, 2009
“…Ray Davies also set to work with Bruce Springsteen
The Kinks’ Ray Davies has said he wants to work on new material with his brother Dave.
If Davies‘ plans come into fruition, it will be the first time the duo have worked together since 1996, when The Kinks split. Ray said the two have already spoken about reuniting, though he told News Of The World that it may depend on how well his brother – who suffered a stroke in 2004 – can play.
“I suggested he do some low-key shows to see how well he can play. If we’re going to play together again, we can’t hit the road straight away with a big-time announcement,” Ray explained.
“But, if Dave feels good about it and there’s good new material that we can write, it’ll happen.”
Ray also revealed that he is planning to release an album of duets in 2010. Although he kept details to a minimum, he admitted that “Bruce Springsteen has expressed an interest” in the project. …”
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“Yes, there are two paths you can go by But in the long run There’s still time to change the road you’re on.”
Led Zeppelin-Stairway to Heaven
Led Zeppelin Black Dog 1973
Led Zeppelin Since I’ve Been Loving You 1973
Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
BEST PERFORMANCE LED ZEPPELIN LIVE!!!
Led Zeppelin – Achilles Last Stand (LA 1977)
Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love – Knebworth – 1979
Led Zeppelin Black Dog 1973
Led Zeppelin – Sick Again (Live 1977)
Led Zeppelin Rock and Roll live
Zeppelin & Neil Young RnR Hall Of Fame When The Levee Breaks
Led Zeppelin& Aerosmith
LED ZEPPELIN 1969 LIVE Communication Breakdown
Led Zeppelin – Rock ‘n’ Roll – Earls Court 24th May 1975
Led Zeppelin – The Ocean
Led Zeppelin Moby Dick – Earl’s Court 1975 RARE – Part 1 / 3
Led Zeppelin Moby Dick – Earl’s Court 1975 RARE – Part 2 / 3
Led Zeppelin Moby Dick – Earl’s Court 1975 RARE – Part 3 / 3
Led Zeppelin – Kashmir – Earls Court 24th May 1975
Led Zeppelin – Rain Song – Earls Court 24th May 1975
“So tonight you better stop and rebuild all your ruins, because peace and trust can win the day despite all your losing.”
Background Articles and Videos
All Of My Love – Led Zeppelin (Classic Orchestra)
Stairway to Heaven – Symphonic Led Zeppelin
“…Combining the visceral power and intensity of hard rock with the finesse and delicacy of British folk music, Led Zeppelin redefined rock in the Seventies and for all time. They were as influential in that decade as the Beatles were in the prior one. Their impact extends to classic and alternative rockers alike. Then and now, Led Zeppelin looms larger than life on the rock landscape as a band for the ages with an almost mystical power to evoke primal passions. The combination of Jimmy Page’s powerful, layered guitar work, Robert Plant’s keening, upper-timbre vocals, John Paul Jones’ melodic bass playing and keyboard work, and John Bonham’s thunderous drumming made for a band whose alchemy proved enchanting and irresistible. “The motto of the group is definitely, ‘Ever onward,’” Page said in 1977, perfectly summing up Led Zeppelin’s forward-thinking philosophy.
The group formed in 1968 from the ashes of the Yardbirds, for which guitarist Jimmy Page had served as lead guitarist after Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Page’s stint in the Yardbirds (1966-1968) followed a period of years as one of Britain’s most in-demand session guitarists. As a generally anonymous hired gun, Page performed on mid-Sixties British Invasion records by the likes of Donovan (“Hurdy Gurdy Man”), Them (“Gloria”), the Kinks (“You Really Got Me”), the Who (“I Can’t Explain”) and hundreds of others. Page assembled a “New Yardbirds” in order to fulfill contractual obligations that, once served, allowed him to move on to his blues-based dream band, Led Zeppelin. …”
“…Meanwhile, the Led Zeppelin legend endures and grows long after their demise, much like that of the Doors and Elvis Presley. The lingering appeal of Led Zeppelin is perhaps best summed up by guitarist Page: “Passion is the word….It was a very passionate band, and that’s really what comes through.” At the dawn of the new millennium, Led Zeppelin placed second only to the Beatles in terms of record sales, having sold 84 million units. Led Zeppelin IV is the fourth best-selling album in history, having sold more than 22 million copies, and four other albums by the band – Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin II, Houses of the Holy and Led Zeppelin – also rank among the all-time top 100 best-sellers. Fittingly, Led Zeppelin is tied with the Beatles (five apiece) for the most albums on that esteemed list – a mark of both bands’ impact. In their ceaseless determination to move music forward, Led Zeppelin carved out an indelible place in rock history. …”
“…Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in 1968 by Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica), John Paul Jones (bass guitar, keyboards, mandolin), and John Bonham (drums). With their heavy, guitar-driven sound, Led Zeppelin are regularly cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal and hard rock music. However, the band’s individualistic style drew from many sources and transcends any one genre. Led Zeppelin did not release the popular songs from their albums as singles in the UK, as they preferred to develop the concept of “album-oriented rock”.
Close to 30 years after disbanding following Bonham’s death in 1980, the band continues to be held in high regard for their artistic achievements, commercial success, and broad influence. The band has sold over 200 million albums worldwide, including 111.5 million certified units in the United States and they have had all of their original studio albums reach the top 10 of the Billboard album chart in the U.S., with six reaching the number one spot. Led Zeppelin are ranked #1 on VH1′s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Rolling Stone magazine has described Led Zeppelin as “the heaviest band of all time”, “the biggest band of the ’70s” and “unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history.” Similarly, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes Led Zeppelin being “as influential in that decade (70s) as the Beatles were in the prior one.”
In 2007, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited (along with deceased drummer John Bonham’s son, Jason) for the Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert at The O2 Arena in London.
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In other words, musicians know that going back to the Spoonful, what we were doing was not copying.
Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer In The City
Nashville Cats – Lovin’ Spoonful
Lovin’ Spoonful – Do You Believe In Magic
Lovin’ Spoonful on SHINDIG! (1965)
The Lovin’ Spoonful- “Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind?” (with Lyrics)
Lovin’ Spoonful – Daydream
The Lovin’ Spoonful “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” 1965
The Lovin Spoonful Darlin Be Home Soon
Rain on the Roof – Lovin’ Spoonful
You’re A Big Boy Now – The Lovin’ Spoonful
Full Measure – The Lovin’ Spoonful
She Is Still a Mystery – Lovin’ Spoonful
4 Eyes – Lovin’ Spoonful
Lovin’ Spoonful – Daydream
Younger Girl – Lovin’ Spoonful
Girl, Beautiful Girl — The Lovin’ Spoonful
Coconut Grove – Lovin’ Spoonful
John Sebastian “Lovin’ Spoonful”
I think that my past stands me in good stead in that it does have a certain strength for musicians.
Background Articles and Videos
John Sebastian – Younger Generation
John Sebastian Teaches You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice
The Lovin’ Spoonful
“…The Lovin’ Spoonful is an American pop rock band of the 1960s, named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. When asked about his band, leader John Sebastian said it sounded like a combination of “Mississippi John Hurt and Chuck Berry.”
Formation and early years (1964-1965)
The band had its roots in the folk music scene based in the Greenwich Village section of lower Manhattan during the early 1960s. Sebastian, who grew up in contact with music and musicians, was the son of a much-recorded and highly technically accomplished classical harmonica player. He had reached maturity toward the end of the American folk music revival that spanned from the 1950s to the early ’60s. Sebastian was joined in the Spoonful by guitarist Zal Yanovsky from a bohemian folk group called The Mugwumps, playing local coffee houses and small clubs (two other members, Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty, would later form half of the Mamas & the Papas.) Drummer-vocalist Joe Butler and bassist Steve Boone rounded out the group.
The group first recorded four tracks for Elektra Records in early 1965, but elected to sign with Kama Sutra Records that same year. The Elektra tracks were released on the 1966 various artists compliation LP What’s Shakin’ after the band’s success on Kama Sutra.
Pop success (1965-1966)
Working with producer Erik Jacobsen, the band released their first single, the Sebastian-penned “Do You Believe in Magic, in August of 1965. Unlike many pop groups of the day (the early Beatles being a notable and influential exception), The Lovin’ Spoonful played all the instruments on their records, with the exceptions of the orchestral instruments heard on their soundtrack album You’re A Big Boy Now and some later singles. Additionally, aside from a few covers (mostly on their first album) they wrote all their own material.
“Do You Believe In Magic” became a Top Ten hit in the US, and the band followed it up with a series of hit singles and albums throughout 1965 and 1966, all produced by Jacobsen. The Lovin’ Spoonful became known for such folk-flavored pop hits as “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice”, and “Daydream”, which went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.”  Arguably the most successful pop/rock group to have jug band roots, nearly half the songs on their first album were modernized versions of jug band standards. Their popularity revived interest in the form, and many subsequent jug bands cite them as an inspiration. The rest of their albums featured mostly original songs, but their jug band roots showed up again and again, particularly in their big hit “Daydream” and the lesser-known “Money”, which featured a typewriter as percussion. They even had a crossover hit, as “Nashville Cats”, a number eight pop hit, reached the country charts. Other hits were “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind” (another #2 hit), and “Younger Girl”. Their only song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was the harder-edged “Summer in the City”, an indelible part of the soundtrack for the summer of 1966.
Early in their recording and airwave career, Lovin’ Spoonful members termed their approach “good-time music”. In the liner notes of “Do You Believe in Magic”, Zal Yanovsky said he “became a convert to Reddy Kilowatt because it’s loud, and people dance to it, and it’s loud”. Soon-to-be-members of the psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead were part of the West Coast acoustic folk music scene when The Lovin’ Spoonful came to town while on tour. They credited The Lovin’ Spoonful concert as a fateful experience, after which they decided to leave the folk scene and “go electric.”
At the peak of its success the band was originally selected to perform on the television show that became “The Monkees”, and also gained an added bit of publicity when Butler replaced Jim Rado in the role of Claude for a sold-out four-month run with the Broadway production of the rock musical Hair. The Lovin’ Spoonful’s song “Pow!” was used as the opening theme of Woody Allen’s first feature film, What’s Up, Tiger Lily. John Sebastian composed the music for Francis Ford Coppola’s second film, You’re a Big Boy Now, and The Lovin’ Spoonful played the music for the soundtrack, which included yet another hit, “Darlin’ Be Home Soon”. Both films were released in 1966.
Personnel changes (1967)
In early 1967, the band broke with their producer Erik Jacobsen, turning to Joe Wissert to produce the single “Six O’Clock”, which would hit #18 US.
Yanovsky left the band after the soundtrack album You’re a Big Boy Now was released in May 1967, primarily due to a drug bust in San Francisco, in which he was arrested for possession of marijuana and pressured by police to name his supplier. As a Canadian citizen and fearing he would be barred from re-entering the U.S., he complied. He would later open a restaurant in Canada, the immensely popular Chez Piggy in Kingston, Ontario. The restaurant is now owned and run by his daughter.
Yanovsky’s replacement was Jerry Yester, formerly of the Modern Folk Quartet. Around this time, perhaps coincidentally, the band’s sound became more pop-oriented.
This new line up of The Lovin’ Spoonful would record two moderately successful Wissert-produced singles (“She Is Still A Mystery” and “Money”), as well as the 1967 album Everything Playing. Sebastian then left the group by early 1968 to go solo.
The final years (1968-1969)
The group was now offically a trio, and drummer Butler (who had previously sung lead on a few album tracks) became the group’s new lead vocalist. Up to this point Sebastian had written (or co-written) and sung every one of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s hits; the band now turned to outside writers for their singles, and used a variety of outside producers. The band’s last two Hot 100 entries (“Never Going Back” and “Me About You”) were sung by Butler, and written by professional songsmiths. In addition, “Never Going Back” only featured Yester and Butler’s playing — the other musical parts were played by session musicians, a first for the group.
With commercial success waning, The Lovin’ Spoonful lasted only until early 1969. They split up following the release of their album “Revelation: Revolution ’69″. …”
“…John Sebastian (born John Benson Sebastian, Jr. on March 17, 1944, in Greenwich Village, New York City) is an American songwriter and harmonica player. He is best known as a founder of The Lovin’ Spoonful, a band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. His tie-dyed denim jacket is prominently displayed there.
Sebastian’s father, John Benson Sr., was a noted classical harmonica player and his mother was a radio script writer. He is the godson of Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz of I Love Lucy). He grew up surrounded by music and musicians, including Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie and hearing such players as Leadbelly and Mississippi John Hurt in his own neighborhood.
One of his first recording gigs was playing guitar and harmonica for Billy Faier’s 1964 album The Beast of Billy Faier. He also recorded with Fred Neil on the Bleecker & MacDougal album in 1965. He came up through the Even Dozen Jug Band and The Mugwumps, which split to form the Lovin’ Spoonful and The Mamas & the Papas. Sebastian was joined by Zal Yanovsky, Steve Boone and Joe Butler in the Spoonful, which was named after a Mississippi John Hurt song. Sebastian also played autoharp on occasion.
The Lovin’ Spoonful became part of the American response to the British Invasion and was noted for such folk-flavored hits as “Jug Band Music,” “Do You Believe in Magic”, “Summer in the City”, “Daydream,” “Nashville Cats,” “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind,” “Six O’Clock,” “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice,” and “Younger Girl.” The band, however, began to implode after a 1967 marijuana bust in San Francisco involving Yanovsky, a Canadian citizen. Facing deportation, he gave up the name of his dealer, which caused a fan backlash and internal strife. Neither John Sebastian nor Joe Butler was involved in the matter; they weren’t even in San Francisco at the time. Yanovsky subsequently left the band and was replaced by Jerry Yester. 
Sebastian left the Lovin’ Spoonful in 1968 although he and the original band reunited briefly to appear in the film One Trick Pony starring Paul Simon and Blair Brown. In December of 1968, a musical he composed the music and lyrics for, Jimmy Shine, opened on Broadway with Dustin Hoffman in the title role.
He embarked on a moderately successful solo career after leaving the Lovin’ Spoonful in 1968. Sebastian was popular among the rock festival circuits. He had a memorable, albeit unscheduled appearance at Woodstock, appearing after Country Joe McDonald’s set, playing songs such as “I Had A Dream,” “Rainbows All Over Your Blues,” “Darling Be Home Soon” and “Younger Generation,” which he dedicated to a newborn baby at the festival. Documentary remarks by festival organizers revealed that Sebastian was under the influence at the time, hence his spontaneity and casual, unplanned set. Sebastian also returned for Woodstock ’94, playing harmonica for Crosby, Stills and Nash. Sebastian released his eponymous LP John B. Sebastian in 1970, which featured him accompanied by various L.A. musicians.
Sebastian played harmonica with The Doors on the song Roadhouse Blues under the pseudonym G. Puglese to avoid problems with his contract, which was featured on Morrison Hotel album. He also played on “Little Red Rooster” on the live album Alive, She Cried and on seven songs on Live In Detroit. He is also credited with playing harmonica on Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s “Déjà Vu” from the album of the same name.
In 1976, Sebastian had a number one single with, “Welcome Back”, the theme song to the Welcome Back, Kotter television show, which found new life decades later when a sample from it became the hook for rapper Mase’s 2004 hit “Welcome Back”. Recently, he has played with John Sebastian and the J-Band, a jug band including Fritz Richmond from the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, Yank Rachell, an original jug-band leader, and Geoff Muldaur.
Several modern musicians cite him as a large influence, including renowned blues harmonica player, Mike Tetrault. As a songwriter, Sebastian’s songs have been covered by Elvis Costello (“The Room Nobody Lives In”), Dolly Parton, Del McCoury, Helen Reddy, Brenda Lee, Johnny Cash, Bobby Darin, Slade, Joe Cocker and Jimmy Buffett (“Stories We Could Tell”). …”
“…”The good-time sounds of the Lovin’ Spoonful made the quartet a fixture during the golden age of Top Forty radio. Over a period of two years in the mid-Sixties, the New York-based group charted a string of ten Top Forty hits, seven of which placed inside the Top Ten at a time when the competition included Motown, the Beatles and countless British Invasion bands. The Lovin’ Spoonful’s tuneful, poppy singles have stood the test of time and at least one of them, “Do You Believe in Magic,” remains a defining rock and roll anthem.
The four original members–singer/guitarist John Sebastian, guitarist Zal Yanovsky, bassist Steve Boone and drummer Joe Butler–came together in Greenwich Village. The folk-music scene was in full swing, but the electrified sounds of the Beatles and the other pop bands of the day had also caught their attention. Retaining their folkie roots while exploring new directions, the Lovin’ Spoonful adapted folk-style fingerpicking to electric instruments. Their folk-rock hybrid was particularly evident in the unusual combination of autoharp and electric guitar on “Do You Believe in Magic.” What really set the Lovin’ Spoonful apart from the mid-Sixties pack of one-hit wonders was their daring eclecticism. No two singles were written in the same style. Between 1965 and 1968, they tackled jug-band music (“Good Time Music”), ragtime (“Daydream”), country (“Nashville Cats”), folk-pop (“You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice”), hard rock (“Summer in the City”) and orchestrated pop (“She Is Still a Mystery”). …”
“…The core of The Lovin’ Spoonful were John Sebastian, who was born on March 17th, 1944 in New York, and Zalman Yanovsky, who was born on 19th December 1944 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They first met as guests invited to Cass Elliot’s house to watch the Beatles’ U.S. TV debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. They played guitar together through the night and discussed the possibility of forming a rock group. At the time, Sebastian was a Greenwich Village folkie and sometime member of the Even Dozen Jug Band and Yanovsky was a guitarist with the Nova Scotia folk group, The Halifax Three. When they disbanded in June 1964, Yanovsky was briefly involved in the Mugwumps (with Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot and James Hendricks). This was a short-lived and unsuccessful venture, which soon disbanded, and, of course Doherty and Elliot went on to form one half of The Mamas and The Papas
With Yanovsky at loose ends again, the seeds for a rock group with John Sebastian were sewn in January 1965. Joe Butler (drums) and Steve Boone (bass) were recruited to fill out the ensemble. They decided on the name, “Lovin’ Spoonful”, which was taken from a phrase in Mississippi John Hurt’s song, “Coffee Blues”.
It wasn’t long until the band had won a residency at the Night Owl in Greenwich Village and their producer Erik Jacobsen got them a recording deal with the newly formed Kama Sutra Records. Playing their own brand of folk-rock/good-time music, they enjoyed immediate commercial success. Their first 45, “Do You Believe In Magic”, reached number 9 in the U.S. and their debut album of the same name peaked at number 32. The follow-up, “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” peaked at number 10 and “Daydream”, their lazy, laid back celebration of love on a summer’s day, was even bigger, reaching number 2 in the U.S. and UK, becoming a million seller. Their second album reached number 10 in the U.S. and number 8 in the UK. They also had four cuts included on the Elektra compilation “What’s Shakin’”, including one called “Good Time Music”.
Their next 45, “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?” peaked at number 2, but this was soon surpassed by what was arguably their finest moment, “Summer ln The City”. Notable for its atmospheric streetnoise sound effects, the record topped the U.S. charts for three weeks and made number 8 in the UK. It became their second million seller.
The Lovin’ Spoonful went on to appear on the soundtrack of the cult movie “What’s Up Tiger Lily” (No. 126 in the US) and their third album, “Hums Of The Lovin’ Spoonful”, peaked at number 14. “Nashville Cats” would be their last U.S. Top Ten hit, peaking at number 8, while in the UK, it climbed to number 26. They followed this with the heavily orchestrated “Darlin’ Be Home Soon”, which reached number 15 in the U.S. and number 44 in the UK. It would prove to be their last UK Hit. In March 1967, a greatest hits LP called “The Best Of The Lovin’ Spoonful” climbed to number 3 on the U.S. album charts. Their follow-up, “You’re A Big Boy Now”, their second soundtrack album, was their first taste of failure, peaking at No. 160.
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