Jim Seals of Seals and Crofts, Duo That Dominated ’70s Mushy-Rock With Hits Like’ Summer time Breeze, ‘Dies at 80

Jim Seals, who’s a part of the duo Seals and Crofts crafted memorably wistful Seventies hits like “Summer time Breeze” and “Diamond Woman,” died Monday at age 80. No reason behind dying was instantly given.

A number of buddies and kinfolk confirmed the dying. “I simply realized that James ‘Jimmy’ Seals has handed,” introduced his cousin, Brady Seals, a former member of the Little Texas nation band, Monday evening. “My coronary heart simply breaks for his spouse Ruby and their kids. Please hold them in your prayers. What an unimaginable legacy he leaves behind. ”

Wrote John Ford Coley, “It is a exhausting one on so many ranges as this can be a musical period passing for me. And it’ll by no means move this fashion once more, as his tune stated, ”he added, referring to the Seals and Croft hit“ We Might By no means Move This Manner (Once more). ” Coley was a member of one other hit duo of the period, England Dan and John Ford Coley, with Jim Seals’ youthful brother, the late Dan Seals.

“You and Dan lastly get reunited once more,” Coley wrote. “Inform him and your candy mother is for me.”

With Jim Seals as the first lead vocalist of the harmonizing duo, Seals and Crofts got here to be the very emblem of “gentle rock” with a run of hits that lasted for under about six years. Though not one of the pair’s hits ever reached No. 1 on the Scorching 100, their largest songs have been for a time as ubiquitous as any that did prime the chart. “Summer time Breeze” in 1972 and “Diamond Woman” in 1973 each reached No. 6, as did a extra upbeat tune in 1976, “Get Nearer,” sung with Carolyn Willis.

Moreover these three songs that reached the highest 10 on the Scorching 100, 4 extra made it to the grownup modern chart’s prime 10: “We Might By no means Move This Manner (Once more)” in ’73, “I will Play for You” in ’75, “Goodbye Previous Buddies” in ’77 and “You are the Love” in ’78.

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Critic Robert Christgau known as the duo “folk-schlock,” however Seals and Crofts had the final chortle – or would have, if crowing with vindication was a part of the Baha’i manner. Each members of the duo have been deeply embedded in that peace-loving religion from the late ’60s ahead.

The duo broke up in 1980, adopted by a few very fleeting reunions within the early ’90s and early 2000s, which generated just one album after their unique run, the little-noticed “Traces” in 2004, They by no means reembarked collectively on the form of nostalgia-stoking bundle excursions that will have appeared a pure for an act with so many well-remembered hits. However neither member confirmed a very heavy curiosity in chasing the limelight after the Seventies.

John Ford Coley shared his ideas at size in a Fb submit. “I spent a big portion of my musical life with this man,” he wrote. “He was Dan’s older brother, (and) it was Jimmy that gave Dan and me our stage identify. He taught me learn how to juggle, made me chortle, pissed me off, inspired me, confirmed me wonderful worlds and totally different understandings on life, particularly on a philosophical degree; confirmed me how costly golf was and learn how to by no means hit a golf ball as a result of subsequent got here the entire annihilation of a superbly good golf membership, and the record goes on and on. We didn’t at all times see eye to eye, particularly as musicians, however we at all times acquired alongside and I believed he was a bona fide, dyed-in the-wool musical genius and a really deep and contemplative man. He was an enigma and I at all times had regard for his opinion.

“I listened to him and I realized from him,” Coley continued. “We did not at all times agree and it wasn’t at all times straightforward and it wasn’t at all times enjoyable but it surely was positively at all times entertaining for certain. Dan adored his older brother and it was due to Jimmy opening doorways for us that we got here to Los Angeles to document and meet the correct individuals. … He belonged to a bunch that was one among a sort. I’m very unhappy over this however I’ve a number of the greatest reminiscences of all of us collectively. ”

For a number of years within the late ’50s and early’ 60s, each Seals and Sprint Crofts – who survives his companion – have been members of a bunch that bore little stylistic similarity to their later act: the Champs, though they joined after that band had recorded its signature hit, “Tequila.” Seals performed sax in that group and Crofts was on drums.

James Eugene Seals was born in 1942 to an oilman, Wayland Seals, and his spouse Cora. “There have been oil rigs so far as you might see,” Seals instructed an interviewer of his upbringing in Iraan, Texas. “And the stench was so dangerous you could not breathe.” Jim grew to become transfixed by a visiting fiddler and his father ordered him an instrument from the Sears catalog when he was 5 or 6. In a 1952 contest in west Texas, Jim received the fiddle division whereas his father triumphed within the guitar class. His little brother, Dan, later to be a pop star himself, took up the stand-up bass.

Jim took up sax at age 13 and commenced enjoying with an area band, the Crew Cats, when rock ‘n’ roll broke out in 1955. The shy musician joined up with the extra outgoing Darrell “Sprint” Crofts, who was two years older and grew up the son of a Texas cattle rancher, inviting his good friend to affix the Crew Cats as effectively. In 1958, the supply got here to affix the Champs, who’d lately had a No. 1 smash with “Tequila.” They stayed with that band until quitting in 1965.

The pair moved to LA and joined a bunch known as the Dawnbreakers, additionally enjoying for a time behind Glen Campbell, simply earlier than he broke out as a serious star. Their supervisor, Marcia Day, was a member of the Baha’i religion, and the home they shared on Sundown Blvd. was stuffed with adherents in addition to secular members of the native rock scene; in 1967, 5 years earlier than having their first hit, each Seals and Crofts transformed.

“She and her household have been Bahai, they usually’d have these hearth gatherings at their home on Friday evening,” Seals recalled in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Occasions. “There have been road individuals, docs, college lecturers and everyone there. And the issues they talked about, I could not even ask the query not to mention give the reply: the distinction between soul, thoughts and spirit, life after dying. We might talk about issues generally till 3 within the morning.

“It was the one factor I would heard that made sense to me, so I responded to it,” he continued. “That started to spawn some concepts to put in writing songs that may assist individuals to grasp, or assist ones who possibly couldn’t really feel something or have been cynical or chilly. Lyrically, I feel music can convey issues which might be exhausting generally for individuals to say to one another. However by a tune, by another person’s eyes, they’ll see it and it isn’t a lot a confrontation. ”

Abandoning their former devices for one thing extra folk-rock-friendly, Seals took up the guitar and Crofts realized the mandolin. Their first three albums as a duo, between 1969-71, had a candy sound however went little-noticed. They tried reducing “Summer time Breeze” earlier however didn’t provide you with a model they preferred till their third album in 1972, which they named after the monitor. It caught on at radio, area by area. Seals was quoted in Texas Month-to-month as having famous the sudden shift once they arrived for a gig in Ohio: “There have been youngsters ready for us on the airport. That evening we had a document crowd, possibly 40,000 individuals. And I bear in mind individuals throwing their hats and coats within the air so far as you might see, in opposition to the moon. Prettiest factor you’ve got ever seen. ”

After a number of extra main and minor hits adopted, together with “Diamond Woman,” wrote Texas Month-to-month, the duo had their very own personal jet but “would come out and sit on the fringe of the stage and maintain firesides in regards to the Baha’i religion with curious followers. In 1974 they performed the California Jam, together with Deep Purple and the Eagles, in entrance of a whole bunch of hundreds. When Jim pulled out his fiddle for a hoedown on ‘Fiddle within the Sky,’ throngs of sunbaked hippies clapped alongside. ”

The duo stirred controversy in 1974 by recording an anti-abortion tune, “Unborn Baby,” as their album’s monitor in 1974 within the wake of the Roe v. Wade choice. The assumption that abortion was unsuitable got here out of their shared Baha’i beliefs, they usually launched it over the objections of their label, Warner Bros.

The divisive tune “was actually simply asking a query: What in regards to the little one?” Seals instructed the LA Occasions years later. “We have been attempting to say, ‘This is a vital situation,’ that life is treasured and that we do not know sufficient about these items but to make a judgment. It was our ignorance that we didn’t know that form of factor was seething and boiling as a social situation. On one hand we had individuals sending us hundreds of roses, however however they have been actually throwing rocks at us. If we would recognized it was going to trigger such disunity, we would have thought twice about doing it. On the time it overshadowed all the opposite issues we have been attempting to say in our music. ”

In 1977, the duo contributed to the soundtrack for a basketball-based movie, “One on One,” starring Robbie Benson. They did not write the songs – Paul Williams and Charles Fox did – however have been prominently billed on the soundtrack album because the tune rating’s performers.

By the point they broke up in 1980, their model of music was discovering far much less of a spot in disco-fied prime 40 stations. Seals moved to Costa Rica along with his spouse, Ruby, the place they have been reported to have run a espresso farm as they raised their three kids, and Crofts and his household moved to Mexico and finally Australia.

In 1991, when Seals and Crofts made a stab at a reunion, they talked about their breakup with the LA Occasions. “Round 1980,” Seals instructed the newspaper, “we have been nonetheless drawing 10,000 to 12,000 individuals at concert events. However we might see, with this modification coming the place everyone needed dance music, that these days have been numbered. We simply determined that it was a superb time, after a future at it, to lie again and never completely commit ourselves to that form of factor as a result of we have been like (fish) out of water. ”

Seals, who later moved to Nashville, was thought-about to have retired from a music profession even earlier than he suffered a stroke in 2017 that put a cease to his enjoying.

However he did sometimes return to music within the intervening years, as when he toured along with his brother Dan (aka England Dan) as Seals and Seals.

The Seals identify has a legacy in music that goes past simply Jim’s, as a number of generations within the household tree have taken up performing or songwriting. Moreover Dan’s tenure with England Dan and John Ford Coley and cousin Brady Seals ‘success with Little Texas, one other cousin, Troy Seals, is a Nashville Songwriters Corridor of Fame member chargeable for such hits as “Seven Spanish Angels,” and within the’ 50s his uncle Charles “Chuck” Seals co-wrote the Ray Value basic “Loopy Arms.”

Seals is survived by Ruby and their kids Joshua, Juliette and Sutherland.

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