John Sebastian made drastic changes in the way I hear music; in how I'd define a good pop song. He came along when so much was happening on the radio that was different than what had been happening for a long, long time. I always think of the Moody Blues doing Go Now as a song on the radio when I first heard The Lovin' Spoonful. I guess "Do You Believe in Magic" was their first hit, but everything by them which got played on the radio was wonderful.
I met John Sebastian for a few minutes one day, and he was as nice a guy as you'd want to know. Other rock stars could take a lesson.
He was born March 17, 1944 and grew up in Greenwich Village. His dad was a fairly famous classical harmonica player, and his mom wrote for radio shows. So they were in the biz, and Sebastian said himself that, "they were both pretty much 'hip to the jive.'" Folks like Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie would be guests at his parents' house. He would wander around the neighborhood and hear folks like Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin' Hopkins playing in the clubs.
He joined the "Even Dozen Jug Band" which had as members Maria Muldaur and Steve Katz, later a crucial member of Blood, Sweat, and Tears. When that group blew up, he hooked up with the "Mugwumps." Also in this band were Zal Yanovsky, Cass Elliot and Denny Dougherty. The latter two, of course, would find high-dollar fame with the Mamas and the Papas. When that ran its course, he and Yanovsky began fooling around with electrical instruments. That was the beginning of the Lovin' Spoonful.
They were pretty much America's answer to the British Invasion of the Beatles and the Hollies and the Kinks and the rest. Some of their other big hits in that era were "Summer in the City," "Daydream," "Nashville Cats," "Make Up Your Mind," "Six O'Clock" and "Younger Generation."
After the Lovin' Spoonful broke up, Sebastian hung around doing odd jobs, the most well-known of which was probably the theme song for that godawful show, "Welcome Back Kotter."
He lives in upstate New York with a wife and two kids, and I'm sure he feels just fine about his life. You can tell a whole lot about a person just by the way they smile, you know?