Saturday, December 28, 2019

Seals and Crofts

50 years ago, Eugene "Jim" Seals and Darrell George "Dash" first performed together as a duo. In 1963, Seals, Crofts, Glen Campbell and Jerry Cole left The Champs (of “Tequila” fame) to form Glen Campbell and the Gee Cees, who played regularly at The Crossbow in Panorama City, California, just across Van Nuys Blvd. from the Chevy Plant. The Crossbow was a hangout for many of the band members who later would be known as The Wrecking Crew. David Gates of Bread said, "We drove from club to club, three a night, auditioned for everybody until we finally got a job and got rolling again. And then on Saturday nights, after hours, musicians from all over the city would meet at a place called the Crossbow, in the Valley. It was at the Crossbow that I met guys like Steve Douglas, Glen Campbell, James Burton, Leon Russell, Chuck Blackwell, [and] Jerry Cole. Slowly they were getting into recordings, mostly demo sessions, some union jobs. By jamming with these people, I got more work. All of a sudden, I was being asked to play on demo sessions and then on recordings."

Glen Campbell and the Gee Cees only lasted a couple years before they went their separate ways. Crofts returned to Texas, while Seals joined a band called The Dawnbreakers. Glen Campbell would have his breakthrough hit with “Guess I’m Dumb” in June 1965, written for him by Brian Wilson and Russ Titelman (producer of James Taylor’s Gorilla, Randy Newman’s Sail Away and Eric Clapton’s Unplugged). After the failure of The Dawnbreakers, the two friends got back together with Seals on guitar, saxophone and violin and Crofts on guitar and mandolin. They signed a contract with Talent Associates (TA) in 1969 and released two LPs, neither of which charted. The duo signed a new contract with Warner Bros. in August 1971. Their first album for WB didn’t have any more success than the others, but their 4th LP, Summer Breeze charted at No. 7 in 1972. The record went gold in December 1972, selling 500,000 units. The LP produced two monster hits in the title track and “Hummingbird.”

The duo’s biggest hit would come with the title track of their next LP, Diamond Girl, in 1973. My first encounter with Seals and Crofts was in yearbook class at Newbury Park High School (me and Belinda Carlisle) when the decision was made to have “We May Never Pass This Way Again” as the 1974 Pawprint theme. It has remained my favorite Seals and Crofts track all these years. They would not top their success with these two LPs, and would only chart with one my hit, “Getting Closer” in 1976, one of those songs that defines the California Sound of artists like Christopher Cross and Al Stewart. Despite the lack of chart success, the pair took their Bah’ai faith seriously, as George Harrison did with Hinduism, and each of the duo’s LPs reflects the Bah’ai principles of unity and equality.

No comments:

Post a Comment