Jim Seals of Seals & Crofts Passed Away At 80
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Jim Seals of Seals & Crofts passed away on Monday at the age of 80, confirmed by his family and friends. No cause of death was released yet.
Seals was the singer and the brains behind the lyrics to their eight Top 40 hits in the ’70s. Seals & Crofts rose as high as No. 6 on the singles chart three times, with 1972’s “Summer Breeze,” 1973’s “Diamond Girl” and 1976’s “Get Closer.” In 2017, he stopped playing music after reportedly suffering a stroke.
His cousin Brady Seals of the country band Little Texas told Variety:
“My heart just breaks for his wife Ruby and their children. Please keep them in your prayers. What an incredible legacy he leaves behind.”
Seals was the singer and brains behind the lyrics to their eight Top 40 hits in the ’70s. Seals & Crofts rose as high as No. 6 on the singles chart three times, with 1972’s “Summer Breeze,” 1973’s “Diamond Girl” and 1976’s “Get Closer.” In 2017, he stopped playing music after reportedly suffering a stroke.
The singer was born as James Eugene Seals in 1942 at Sidney, Texas. He began his career as a member of the Champs with Glen Campbell, joining after they hit with “Tequila.” Then he toured with Eddie Cochran before working with Dash Crofts during a subsequent stint with Campbell. The duo built their career slowly.
Seals told Melody Maker in 1975:
“We were lucky. We came along at a time when Chicago, Jethro Tull and the Moody Blues and people like that would have us as a support band.”
After three of their album were ignored, their song “Summer Breeze” became their breakout hit. Suddenly, Seals & Crofts rose to fame. Robert Christgau memorably dubbed them “folk-schlock.” The pair kept selling records while delving into surprisingly philosophical subject matter, including the often-misunderstood Bahai faith.
Both of their 1975’s “I’ll Play for You” and 1978’s “You’re the Love” went to No. 18, and Seals & Crofts even appeared at the California Jam alongside the likes of Deep Purple and Eagles. When they broke up amid the rise of disco, punk and post-punk, Seals & Crofts had notched four gold-selling albums and a pair of multiplatinum LPs, including 1975’s Greatest Hits.
Seals told the Los Angeles Times in 1991:
“We were still drawing 10,000 to 12,000 people at concerts, but we could see, with this change coming where everybody wanted dance music, that those days were numbered.
“We just decided that it was a good time, after a long run at it, to lie back and not totally commit ourselves to that kind of thing.”
Seals & Crofts reunited 11 years later and again in 2004 when they released Traces, their first new album since 1980’s The Longest Road. Seals was the older sibling of the late Dan Seals, who found fame as part of England Dan & John Ford Coley. The brothers later toured together as Seals and Seals. Coley said in an emotional Facebook post:
“It was because of Jimmy opening doors for us that we came to Los Angeles to record and meet the right people.
“This is a hard one on so many levels as this is a musical era passing for me. And it will never pass this way again as his song said. He belonged to a group that was one of a kind.”