Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian

Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian

Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian

aka

John Sebastian

Happy birthday to you
March 17, 1944
Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian
2013-08-15 Richie Havens Memorial Service @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (photo by J Shelley)

Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian

Another Greenwich Villager


The common thread to the story that many musicians of the 1960s share is that they moved to Greenwich Village in New York City to be part of its burgeoning folk scene and Bohemian lifestyle.


John Benson Sebastian didn’t have to move there. He was born there to a father who was a classical harmonica player and a mother who was a writer for a radio program.


 Early Villagers such as Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie visited his home regularly, so it was no surprise when he became part of the Even Dozen Jug Band. From that platform others observed his skills on guitar, harmonica and auto-harp. Soon he accompanied artists such as Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Jesse Colin Young, Tom Rush, Mississippi John Hurt, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan and others.


Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian

Lovin’ Spoonful               


It was the Lovin’ Spoonful and “Do You Believe In Magic” that brought Sebastian national recognition. Here is a live performance of that song from 1965. How many of you remember wondering what that thing he was playing?



Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian

Solo Sebastian


John Sebastian left the group in 1968 to go solo and other than an occasional return to the group format (J-Band), he continued and continues to perform as such. Of course, he also continues to be in demand as an accompanist.


Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian

Woodstock Sebastian


One of his most famous moments was his unscheduled performance at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. After the Festival’s laborious delivery on Friday, Saturday dawned damp and the organizers faced a worrisome day.


The band Quill opened but the stage crew needed time to set up the next scheduled group. Organizers “volunteered” Country Joe McDonald and borrowed a strapless guitar (he found a piece of rope).  Santana’s awesome set followed McDonald’s rousing songs, but again time was needed for Keef Hartley to set up.


 John was living in Woodstock at the time (he still does) and wandered to Bethel to party. A much larger party than he or anyone realized was going to happen.


John was volunteered and filled in admirably.


Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian
John Sebastian in his tie-died outfit at Woodstock on Saturday 16 August 1969. I am in the upper right area of the crowd. Do you see me waving? Photo by Henry Diltz.

Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian

Welcome back John


His second moment of national fame came in 1976,  when he had an unexpected #1 single with “Welcome Back”, the theme song to the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter.


Check out the link to his site below and see where he’s playing next. If it’s near you, it’d be a great event to attend.


As part of the Lovin’ Spoonful, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.


John continues to live in Woodstock, NY (“Where Woodstock is, but not where Woodstock was.”) and regularly shows up to play at Levon Helm’s Barn.


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4 thoughts on “Lovin Spoonful John Benson Sebastian”

  1. I always enjoyed his music and met him once at a musicians swap meet in Woodstock in 1987…he’s a lovely man…Happy Birthday John!…💚🎉🎊

  2. From David Egan … what I call a ‘vibe musician’ ; had his fingers on many musical pulses in his glorious, salad days starting out from the Village to California and then back eastward settling in Woodstock, appropriately many would say. A treasure.

  3. From John Sweeney: Never knew he was born on St. PADDYS DAY,circa 1964 he taught me to play Do you believe in magic on the steps of the Night Owl Cafe in Greenwich Village on a Saturday afternoon,they would pass the hat to get paid!!!So they passed it after every song,those were the days!

  4. From Dori Mazur: My favorite Solo Album is “The Four of Us ” … Met him back in the,early 90s and mentioned that I Loved this Album , And he told me that it was a Favorite of his Also….. What a Great Guy and a Day I’ll Never Forget….. ☺ Happy Birthday John !!!!

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