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The Lovin' Spoonful

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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Stations Featuring
The Lovin' Spoonful

    '60s Oldies

    '60s Oldies
    3 songs

    Oldies Hits

    Oldies Hits
    5 songs

    Oldies Party

    Oldies Party
    5 songs

    Classic Summer Songs

    Classic Summer Songs
    1 song


    3 songs

    Deep Classic Rock

    1 song


    1 song

Albums by
The Lovin' Spoonful

Top Songs by
The Lovin' Spoonful

  1.   Song
  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.   Butchie's Tune
  16.   Full Measure
  17.   Fishin' Blues
  18.   Warm Baby
  19.   Lovin' You
  20.   Wild About My Lovin'
  21.   It's Not Time Now
  22.   Let the Boy Rock and Roll
  23.   Good Time Music
  24.   War Games
  25.   Jug of Wine
  26.   Unconcious Minuet
  27.   Revelation: Revolution '69
  28.   Big Noise from Speonk
  29.   Henry Thomas
  30.   Voodoo in My Basement
  31.   4 Eyes
  32.   Only Pretty, What a Pity
  33.   Forever
  34.   Darlin' Companion
  35.   The Finale
  36.   March
  37.   Miss Thing's Thang
  38.   Barbara's Theme
  39.   Letter to Barbara
  40.   Dixieland Big Boy
  41.   Peep Show Percussion
  42.   Try and Be Happy
  43.   Kite Chase
  44.   Wash Her Away (From the Discothedque)
  45.   End Title
  46.   Phil's Love Theme
  47.   Lookin' to Spy
  48.   Speakin' of Spoken
  49.   A Cool Million
  50.   Respoken
  51.   Unconscious Minute
  52.   Pow Revisited
  53.   Gray Prison Blues
  54.   Bald Headed Lena
  55.   Night Owl Blues
  56.   Other Side of This Life
  57.   Blues in the Bottle
  58.   Searchin'
  59.   Don't Bank on It Baby
  60.   Me About You
  61.   Never Going Back
  62.   Lonely (Amy's Theme)
  63.   You're a Big Boy Now
  64.   Pow!
  65.   Didn't Want to Have to Do It
  66.   Jug Band Music
  67.   Almost Grown
  68.   Money
  69.   Old Folks
  70.   My Gal
  71.   Alley Oop
  72.   Girl, Beautiful Girl (Barbara's Theme)
  73.   Introduction to Flick
  74.   There She Is
  75.   On the Road Again
  76.   Priscilla Millionaira
  77.   Amazing Air
  78.   Words
  79.   Sportin' Life
  80.   Day Blues
  81.   Only Yesterday
  82.   Try a Little Bit
  83.   Close Your Eyes
  84.   (Til I) Run with You
  85.   Bes' Friends
  86.   The Prophet
  87.   Boredom
  88.   You Baby