Saturday, March 08, 2008
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Lovin' Spoonful
Artist:The Lovin' Spoonful
Song:Summer In The City
Summer In The City was the only number one hit by one of the most popular groups of the mid-60s. Along with The Byrds, The Lovin' Spoonful popularized folk rock though they were probably more pop than folk. That's OK. It's still great music. John Sebastian (born Mar. 17, 1944 in New York City) was the main singer songwriter of the group. He grew up in Greenwich Village the son of a harmonica player. By the early 60s, he was already performing in local folk clubs. He met guitarist Zal Yanovsky (born Dec. 19, 1944 in Toronto) as part of The Mugwumps along with future Mamas & The Papas Cass Elliott & Denny Doherty in 1964. The Mugwumps recorded a bit but didn't catch on and split up. Sebastian & Yanovsky decided to form a new group and brought in Steve Boone on bass and Joe Butler on drums. The group name came fron the Misissippi John Hurt song Coffee Blues. After some initial interest by producer Phil Spector, The Lovin' Spoonful signed with Kama Sutra Records in 1965. The unique vision of Sebastian playing an autoharp helped The Lovin' Spoonful get to the top of the charts. They had several hits but Summer In The City was their only #1 hit in Aug. 1966. Obviously the timing of the release was perfect. The song was written by John Sebastian's younger brother Mark and John wrote an upbeat arrangement. This Rhino comp is perfect. The end of the group came when Boone & Yanovsky were busted for marijuana possession in California and turned informer in 1967. That didn't go well with the counterculture crowd. Yanovsky left in 1967 but Sebastian left in 1968 to go solo and that killed the group. Sebastian had a lot of success in the 70s. Yanovsky eventually moved back to Canada and owned a restaurant in Kingston, ON until his 2002 death. Here's The Lovin' Spoonful performing Summer In The City on Ed Sullivan in 1966.