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

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

A number of associates and family confirmed the demise. “I simply discovered 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, “This can be a laborious one on so many ranges as it is a musical period passing for me. And it’ll by no means go this manner once more, as his tune stated, ”he added, referring to the Seals and Croft hit“ We Might By no means Cross 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 Sizzling 100, their greatest songs had been for a time as ubiquitous as any that did prime the chart. “Summer season 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.

Apart from these three songs that reached the highest 10 on the Sizzling 100, 4 extra made it to the grownup modern chart’s prime 10: “We Might By no means Cross This Manner (Once more)” in ’73, “I will Play for You” in ’75, “Goodbye Outdated Buddies” in ’77 and “You are the Love” in ’78.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 giggle – or would have, if crowing with vindication was a part of the Baha’i manner. Each members of the duo had 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 authentic run, the little-noticed “Traces” in 2004, They by no means reembarked collectively on the sort of nostalgia-stoking package deal 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 title. He taught me tips on how to juggle, made me giggle, pissed me off, inspired me, confirmed me superb worlds and totally different understandings on life, particularly on a philosophical degree; confirmed me how costly golf was and tips on how to by no means hit a golf ball as a result of subsequent got here the whole annihilation of a superbly good golf membership, and the record goes on and on. We didn’t all the time see eye to eye, particularly as musicians, however we all the time bought 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 all the time had regard for his opinion.

“I listened to him and I discovered from him,” Coley continued. “We did not all the time agree and it wasn’t all the time simple and it wasn’t all the time enjoyable but it surely was undoubtedly all the time entertaining for positive. Dan adored his older brother and it was due to Jimmy opening doorways for us that we got here to Los Angeles to file and meet the proper folks. … He belonged to a bunch that was certainly one of 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 accomplice – had 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 informed an interviewer of his upbringing in Iraan, Texas. “And the stench was so unhealthy you could not breathe.” Jim turned 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 started enjoying with a neighborhood 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 pal to hitch the Crew Cats as effectively. In 1958, the provide got here to hitch 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 significant 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 had been Bahai, and so they’d have these fireplace gatherings at their home on Friday evening,” Seals recalled in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Occasions. “There have been road folks, medical doctors, 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 demise. We might focus on issues generally till 3 within the morning.

“It was the one factor I might 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 folks to grasp, or assist ones who possibly couldn’t really feel something or had been cynical or chilly. Lyrically, I believe music can convey issues which can be laborious generally for folks to say to one another. However by way of a tune, by way of 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 discovered the mandolin. Their first three albums as a duo, between 1969-71, had a candy sound however went little-noticed. They tried chopping “Summer season 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 children ready for us on the airport. That evening we had a file crowd, possibly 40,000 folks. And I keep in mind folks throwing their hats and coats within the air so far as you might see, in opposition to the moon. Prettiest factor you have 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 Little one,” as their album’s monitor in 1974 within the wake of the Roe v. Wade choice. The idea that abortion was flawed got here out of their shared Baha’i beliefs, and so they launched it over the objections of their label, Warner Bros.

The divisive tune “was actually simply asking a query: What in regards to the youngster?” Seals informed the LA Occasions years later. “We had been making an attempt to say, ‘This is a crucial subject,’ that life is valuable 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 sort of factor was seething and boiling as a social subject. On one hand we had folks sending us hundreds of roses, however however they had been actually throwing rocks at us. If we might recognized it was going to trigger such disunity, we’d have thought twice about doing it. On the time it overshadowed all the opposite issues we had been making an attempt 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 had 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 had been reported to have run a espresso farm as they raised their three kids, and Crofts and his household moved to Mexico and ultimately 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 informed the newspaper, “we had been nonetheless drawing 10,000 to 12,000 folks at concert events. However we might see, with this alteration coming the place everyone wished dance music, that these days had been numbered. We simply determined that it was a superb time, after a long term at it, to lie again and never completely commit ourselves to that sort of factor as a result of we had been like (fish) out of water. ”

Seals, who later moved to Nashville, was thought of 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 often 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 title 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. Apart from 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 Worth basic “Loopy Arms.”

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

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