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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

    Oldies Hits

    Oldies Hits
    5 songs

    Oldies Party

    Oldies Party
    5 songs

    '60s Oldies

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