His father was a classical harmonica player, his mother a radio scriptwriter and he is the godson of Vivian Vance, also known as Ethel Mertz from ‘I Love Lucy’. John Sebastian was originally a member of the Mugwumps, the band that split to become the mamas and the papas and the Lovin’ spoonful. The Spoonful became part of the American response to the British invasion with a ton of hits like ‘Do you believe in magic’, ‘Summer in the city’, ‘Daydream’, ‘Nashville Cats’ and more. John Sebastian left the Lovin’ Spoonful in 1968 to embark on a solo career…which included a memorable appearance at Woodstock in 1969. Sebastian also played harmonica with the doors on their album, “Morrison Hotel”. He is credited on the song Roadhouse blues under a pseudonym, G. Puglese. He is also credited with playing harmonica on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Déjà Vu”. In 1976, when TV producer Alan Sachs wanted a Lovin’ Spoonful-like theme song for a new sitcom called “Kotter”, he called upon John Sebastian. Sebastian’s song was so well received that the name of the show was changed to ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’. The song eventually sold over one million copies.
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The real beginning for the Eagles was an audition for Linda Ronstadt. It all happened in about a year…Linda Ronstadt needed a backup band, so she and her manager David Geffen recruited Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. They were short a drummer so, Glenn Frey called up a friend,Don Henley, who he had met at the Troubadour. The band backed Linda Ronstadt on her self-titled album and then joined her on a two-month tour.
Eagles in 1972 (l-r) Leadon, Meisner, Henley, Frey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Afterwards, with her approval and encouragement, they formed their own band calling themselves, Eagles. It was a tip of the hat to the band that set the standard for country rock, the byrds. The Eagles were signed by David Geffen and his new Asylum records and a first album was quickly recorded. It included the hits, Take it easy, witchy woman, and peaceful easy feeling. There were many late nights, creative differences and potholes on their road to fame but the eagles went on to become one of the most successful musical acts of all time. Whether you call them Eagles or ‘the’ Eagles, with music that powerful…names, labels and categories don’t really apply.
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