John Sebastian

Sebastian, John

John Benson Sebastian (born March 17, 1944) is an American singer/songwriter, guitarist, harmonicist, and autoharpist. He is best known as a founder of The Lovin’ Spoonful, as well as for his impromptu appearance at the Woodstock festival in 1969[1] and a US No. 1 hit in 1976, “Welcome Back”.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 as a member of The Lovin’ Spoonful.

Sebastian was joined by Zal YanovskySteve Boone, and Joe Butler in the Spoonful, which was named after “The Coffee Blues,” a Mississippi John Hurt song. The Lovin’ Spoonful, which blended folk-rock and pop with elements of blues, country, and jug band music, became part of the American response to the British Invasion, and was noted for such hits as “Do You Believe in Magic“, “Jug Band Music”, “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice“, “Daydream“, “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” “Summer in the City“, “Rain on the Roof”, “Nashville Cats”, “Darling Be Home Soon“, and “Six O’Clock”.

The band, however, began to implode after a 1967 marijuana bust in San Francisco involving Yanovsky, a Canadian citizen. Facing deportation, he revealed the name of his dealer to police, which caused a fan backlash and added to the internal tension already created by the band members’ diverging interests. Neither Sebastian nor Butler was involved in the matter, both being away from San Francisco at the time. Yanovsky subsequently left the band and was replaced by Jerry Yester, after which the band’s musical style veered away from its previous eclectic blend and became more pop-oriented.

Sebastian left the Lovin’ Spoonful in 1968 and did not play with any later versions of the band, except for a brief reunion with the other three original members to appear in Paul Simon‘s 1980 film One-Trick Pony, and again for a single performance at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2000.

Albums Featuring this Artist