The Lovin' Spoonful's catalog is out of print and their current
lineup doesn't include lead singer/songwriter John Sebastian, but
the seminal 1960s folk-rock band is experiencing a revival.
Nine years after they became eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame, the Spoonful were finally nominated last month, along with the
likes of Queen, Aerosmith and Lou Reed.
"I don't care if we don't get in," Sebastian said from his home in
Woodstock, N.Y., last month.
Sebastian, who left the band in 1968, said he was grateful for the
renewed interest, which includes plans to reissue the Spoonful's
classic '60s albums.
But he downplayed the Spoonful's influence on subsequent rock music
— a major criterion for inclusion in the Rock
Hall of Fame — and preferred to talk instead about the musicians who
influenced the Spoonful.
Referring to Spoonful guitarist Zal Yanovsky, Sebastian said, "Zallie
called the day we found out [about the nomination], and we talked for
just a minute. We're rooting for Harvey [Fuqua] and the Moonglows."
The Moonglows, also nominated this year, were a doo-wop group whose
'50s hits include "Sincerely" and "Ten Commandments of Love."
Not everyone is so indifferent about the Spoonful's possible Hall of
Fame induction. The nomination has fueled efforts at Buddha Records
to reissue the Lovin' Spoonful catalog and assemble an anthology of
album tracks, unreleased songs and live material.
Bassist Steve Boone, 56, who still performs as the Lovin' Spoonful
with drummer Joe Butler and guitarist Jerry Yester, said he wants the
band to be in the Hall.
"It's kind of a surprise there hasn't been more interest," said Boone,
who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "The music is surely universal in
its appeal. The type of music we performed seems to be popular again."
The Boone-Butler-Yester lineup plans to release Live at the Hotel
Seville, featuring acoustic versions of the band's greatest hits,
Artists become eligible for the Hall of Fame 25 years after the
release of their first album. The Spoonful's first was 1965's Do
You Believe in Magic?
Sebastian, Yanovsky, Boone and Butler rose from New York's Greenwich
Village coffeehouse scene, which also produced Bob Dylan. Between
September 1965 and January 1967, the Lovin' Spoonful frequently were
in the U.S. top 10. Their hits ranged from the breezy, Autoharp-driven "Do You Believe in Magic?" (RealAudio
excerpt) to the jovial acoustic strum of "Daydream" (RealAudio
excerpt) to the R&B-flavored "Did You Ever Have to Make
Up Your Mind?" (RealAudio
Their lone #1 song was the anthemic pop song "Summer in the City,"
which Boone co-wrote with Sebastian. None of those songs, which
remain staples of oldies and classic-rock radio, were longer than
two and a half minutes.
Sebastian said the bandmembers were "students" of such rock pioneers
as Fats Domino and Phil Spector — both now in the Hall of
Fame — and Huey "Piano" Smith, whom he called "the professors."
Sebastian said Yanovsky was greatly influenced by bluesman Elmore
James, another Hall of Famer. Boone named country singer Buck Owens
as a major influence.
From all those influences, Sebastian said, "We felt like we had
something that was an obvious hybrid that no one else had thought
of. We had skills that weren't rocking skills, that were not
finger-picking skills. We believed very strongly that this was going
to happen. It wasn't an experiment."
Alex Miller, Buddha Records' 41-year-old vice president, said he has
fond memories of growing up listening to the Spoonful's music. He's
assembling an anthology for release on Buddha and planning to reissue
the band's albums — Do You Believe in Magic?,
Daydream and Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful (1966),
The Best of the Lovin' Spoonful (1967), Everything Playing
(1968) and Revelation: Revolution '69.
The latter album were recorded without Sebastian. Miller said he
hopes to release the reissues by the middle of next year.
The Lovin' Spoonful began to dissolve in May 1966 amid controversy
surrounding Boone and Yanovsky's arrest for possessing marijuana in
Berkeley, Calif. Reports surfaced that the two became informants for
Yanovsky quit the group in 1967 and was replaced by Yester. Sebastian,
who left to pursue a solo career in 1968, said the group was victim
of bad timing. He said he thought the bust happened "just a little
too soon," before the counterculture blossomed on a national scale.
"It was unfortunate this whole bust thing came down around Zal and
Steve," Sebastian said. "It really did cause a cynicism that was
poison to what we were doing. That cynicism cost us our little corner
of the music we had going. It simply had to go somewhere else"
excerpt of interview).
Boone, who said he had to overcome shame after his arrest, blamed
some rock journalists who distrusted police for causing some of the
"In the end result, did anyone go to jail? No," he said. "Did
anything done by the Lovin' Spoonful cause any harm? No."
After leaving the group, Sebastian found success as a solo artist. He
performed a solo set at the original Woodstock festival in 1969, and
scored his biggest hit in 1976 with "Welcome Back," the theme song for
the television show "Welcome Back Kotter."
He formed the J-Band — a jug band — in 1991, and released
the album Chasing Gus' Ghost with them in June.
Erik Jacobsen, who produced nearly all of the Lovin' Spoonful albums
and now produces for rockabilly-pop singer Chris Isaak, called the
Spoonful "true inventors of folk-rock."
"Those guys were folk players," Jacobsen said from his San Francisco
home. "They were acoustic players. They were the first guys to put
those things down on record. They were [the] leading edge of a huge
cultural thing. They were the original psychedelic thing. They took
acid and smoked pot. They acted zanily and crazily."
- POV VMA SUBMISSION FORM09/01/2023
- MTV Video Music Awards Will Return to New Jersey for September Show05/23/2023
- Scream’s Ghostface Accepts Best Movie And Best Fight: ‘Movies Don’t Create Psychos’‘It’s about time someone truly appreciated my work’05/07/2023
- Anthony Ramos And Dominique Fishback Ramp Up The Tension In New 'Transformers' Clip'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts' hits theaters on June 905/07/2023
- Joseph Quinn Acknowledges The Power Of 'Stranger Things' Fans'I’m a little bit scared of you,' he said at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, 'but ultimately, I am utterly, utterly indebted to you'05/07/2023
- Ariel And Prince Eric's Romantic Night Ends With A Splash In New 'Little Mermaid' ClipHeart eyes all around05/07/2023