Jim Seals, half of Seals & Crofts, a soft-rock duo who had a string of hits within the 1970s, together with the Top 10 singles “Summer Breeze” and “Diamond Girl,” died on Monday at his house in Nashville. He was 79.
His spouse, Ruby Jean Seals, mentioned the trigger was an unspecified “chronic ongoing illness.”
Mr. Seals and his musical accomplice, Dash Crofts, have been nonetheless youngsters after they have been requested to affix an instrumental group, the Champs, which had a No. 1 hit in 1958 with “Tequila.” By the mid-Sixties they’d drained of the band and of the loud, generally offended strains that have been infusing the onerous rock of the time.
Adherents of the Baha’i religion, they sought to make a calmer model of music, mixing people, bluegrass, nation and jazz influences and delivering their lyrics in shut concord.
“Jim Seals plays acoustic guitar and fiddle,” Don Heckman wrote in The New York Times in 1970 in a temporary evaluate of their second album, “Down Home,” “and Dash Crofts plays electric mandolin and piano; together they sing coolly intertwined, and quite colorful, vocal harmony.”
With the lilting, nostalgia-seeped single “Summer Breeze,” launched in 1972, the 2 discovered worldwide stardom. They had developed a modest following, however that tune modified the whole lot, as they discovered after they arrived in Ohio to play a present.
“There were kids waiting for us at the airport,” Mr. Seals advised Texas Monthly in 2020. “That night we had a record crowd, maybe 40,000 people. And I remember people throwing their hats and coats in the air as far as you could see, against the moon.”
The tune, written collectively by the 2 males, featured the type of refrain that sticks within the mind:
“Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, / Blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”
“Around 1980, we were still drawing 10,000 to 12,000 people at concerts,” Mr. Seals advised The Los (*79*) Times in 1991, when the 2 revived the act. “But we could see, with this change coming where everybody wanted dance music, that those days were numbered.”
Six years earlier, although, the pair had begun to fall out of favor with some listeners and critics as a result of of their sixth album, “Unborn Child,” which was launched in 1974 not lengthy after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade determination on abortion rights. The title track urged girls who have been contemplating an abortion to “stop, turn around, go back, think it over.”
Mr. Seals, in a 1978 interview with The Miami Herald, acknowledged that the file broken the duo’s profession.
“It completely killed it for a while,” he mentioned. Radio stations refused to play the file. Some Seals & Crofts concert events have been picketed, though there have been additionally a whole lot of letters of help. In the 1991 Los (*79*) Times interview, Mr. Seals mentioned the pair had by no means supposed the tune to be a lightning rod.
“It was our ignorance that we didn’t know that kind of thing was seething and boiling as a social issue,” he mentioned. “On one hand we had people sending us thousands of roses, but on the other people were literally throwing rocks at us.
“If we’d known it was going to cause such disunity,” he continued, “we might have thought twice about doing it. At the time it overshadowed all the other things we were trying to say in our music.”
James Eugene Seals was born on Oct. 17, 1942, in Sidney, Texas, to Wayland and Susan Seals. His father labored within the oil fields, and Jim spent a lot of his childhood in Iraan, a boomtown in southwest Texas.
“There were oil rigs as far as you could see,” Mr. Seals advised Texas Monthly. “And the stench was so bad, you couldn’t breathe.”
His father performed a little guitar, and his mom performed the dobro, so casual jam classes have been a frequent approach to cross the time within the family. When a fiddler got here by one night, younger Jim was taken with the instrument, and his father ordered him one from a Sears catalog.
Jim later took up the saxophone, which led to an invite to affix a rockabilly band known as the Crew Cats, which performed at dances and in native golf equipment. The band’s drummer stop proper earlier than a present at a junior faculty, and the drummer from one other band on the invoice sat in — Darrell Crofts, referred to as Dash.
The two grew to become buddies and performed with the Champs for a number of years out of Los (*79*). Both mastered different devices, together with the guitar. Once they hit it huge as a duo, they knew the picture they needed to venture and tried to remain true to it. In 1973, after they have been about to tour England, Mr. Seals advised a reporter that they’d pulled out of a earlier European engagement.
“We were going to tour there earlier, but we had a last-minute change of mind when we found out that we’d be playing with Black Sabbath,” he mentioned. “I’m sure they’re a fine band, but I’m not sure that the audience would be quite right for us.”
In addition to his spouse, Mr. Seals is survived by their two sons, Joshua and Sutherland; a daughter, Juliet Crossley; and three grandchildren. A sister, Renee Staley, and a half brother, Eddie Ray Seals, additionally survive him. His brother, Dan Seals, a singer who had success within the late 1970s as a member of one other soft-rock duo, England Dan & John Ford Coley, died in 2009. The two brothers toured collectively for a number of years earlier than Dan Seals’s demise, with Jim Seals’s two sons generally enjoying with them.
Maia Coleman contributed reporting.