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The Lovin' Spoonful

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Right on the tails of the Beau Brummels and the Byrds, the Lovin' Spoonful were among the first American groups to challenge the domination of the British Invasion bands in the mid-'60s. Between mid-1965 and the end of 1967, the group was astonishingly successful, issuing one classic hit single after another, including "Do You Believe in Magic?," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," "Daydream," "Summer in the City," "Rain on the Roof," "Nashville Cats," and "Six O'Clock." Like most of the folk-rockers, the Lovin' Spoonful were more pop and rock than folk, which didn't detract from their music at all. Much more than the Byrds, and even more than the Mamas & the Papas, the Spoonful exhibited a brand of unabashedly melodic, cheery, and good-time music, though their best single, "Summer in the City," was uncharacteristically riff-driven and hard-driving. More influenced by blues and jug bands than other folk-rock acts, their albums were spotty and their covers at times downright weak. As glorious as their singles were, they lacked the depth and innovation of the Byrds, their chief competitors for the crown of best folk-rock band, and their legacy hasn't been canonized with nearly as much reverence as their West Coast counterparts. Leader and principal songwriter John Sebastian was a young veteran of the Greenwich Village folk scene when he formed the band in 1965 with Zal Yanovsky, who'd already played primitive folk-rock of a sort with future members of the Mamas & the Papas in the Mugwumps. Sebastian already had some recording experience under his belt, playing harmonica (his father was a virtuoso classical harmonica player) on sessions by folkies like Tom Rush and Fred Neil. The Spoonful were rounded out by Steve Boone on bass and Joe Butler on drums. After some tentative interest from Phil Spector (who considered producing them), they ended up signing with Kama Sutra. Sebastian's autoharp (which would also decorate several subsequent tracks) helped propel "Do You Believe in Magic?" into the Top Ten in late 1965. The Lovin' Spoonful were torn asunder by a drug bust in 1967. Boone and Yanovsky were arrested in California for marijuana possession, and evidently got out of trouble by turning in their source. This didn't sit well with the burgeoning counterculture, which called for a boycott of Spoonful product, although the effect on their sales may have been overestimated; most of the people who bought Spoonful records were average teenage Americans, not hippies. Yanovsky left the band in mid-1967, to be replaced by Jerry Yester, former producer of the Association. The band had a few more mild hits, but couldn't survive the loss of John Sebastian, who effectively closed the chapter by leaving in 1968, although the group straggled on briefly under the helm of Butler. Sebastian went on to moderate success as a singer/songwriter in the 1970s. Live at the Hotel Seville, the first new Lovin' Spoonful album in three decades, was released in 1999. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Albums by
The Lovin' Spoonful

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    15 songs

    On Air

    Playlist: The Very Best of Lovin' Spoonful

    14 songs

    On Air

    Everything Playing [Bonus Tracks]

    17 songs

    On Air

    Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful

    17 songs

    On Air

    Do You Believe in Magic [Bonus Tracks]

    13 songs

    On Air

    Revelation Revolution '69

    17 songs

    On Air

    Daydream

    12 songs

    On Air

    Platinum & Gold Collection

    26 songs

    On Air

    Greatest Hits [Buddha]

    12 songs

    On Air

    What's Up, Tiger Lily?

    14 songs

    On Air

    You're a Big Boy Now

    57 songs

    On Air

    Original Album Classics

    14 songs

    On Air

    Summer in the City: The Collection

    18 songs

    On Air

    Very Best of the Lovin' Spoonful [BMG]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Summer In The City

    26 songs

    On Air

    What's Up, Tiger Lily?/You're a Big Boy Now

    1 song

    On Air

    Darling Be Home Soon [Live On the Ed Sullivan Show]

    1 song

    On Air

    Do You Believe In Magic [Live On the Ed Sullivan Show]

    12 songs

    On Air

    Daydream

    12 songs

    On Air

    Do You Believe in Magic

    17 songs

    On Air

    Daydream

    17 songs

    On Air

    Do You Believe in Magic

    17 songs

    On Air

    Do You Believe in Magic [Bonus Tracks]

    16 songs

    On Air

    Do You Believe in Music

    16 songs

    On Air

    Everything Playing [Wooded Hill]

See All Albums

Top Songs by
The Lovin' Spoonful

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Summer in the City
  3.   Do You Believe in Magic
  4.   Daydream
  5.   Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind?
  6.   Nashville Cats
  7.   Rain on the Roof
  8.   You Didn't Have to Be So Nice
  9.   Darling Be Home Soon
  10.   Six O'Clock
  11.   Coconut Grove
  12.   Younger Generation
  13.   Younger Girl
  14.   She Is Still a Mystery
  15.   Warm Baby
  16.   Fishin' Blues
  17.   Butchie's Tune
  18.   Lovin' You
  19.   Coconut Grove by Michael Hakanson-Stacy
  20.   4 Eyes by Michael Hakanson-Stacy
  21.   Henry Thomas by Michael Hakanson-Stacy
  22.   Bes' Friends by Michael Hakanson-Stacy
  23.   Never Going Back
  24.   Jug Band Music
  25.   Sittin' Here Lovin' You by Michael Hakanson-Stacy
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
The Lovin' Spoonful

    On Air

    Woodstock Diaries

    On Air

    Stormy Weather

    On Air

    All-Time Top 55 Songs of Summer

    On Air

    Davy Jones Tribute

    On Air

    Oldies

    On Air

    '60s Hits

    On Air

    '60s Rock

    On Air

    Euphoric Hits

    On Air

    Jimi Hendrix: DNA

    On Air

    Cocktail Madness

    On Air

    Sweating to the Oldies

    On Air

    Tom Petty: DNA

    On Air

    Folk

    On Air

    '60s Deep Dive

    On Air

    Eclectic Rock

    On Air

    Kids Classic Hits

    On Air

    Grateful Dead: DNA

    On Air

    The Current


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