The Lovin' Spoonful
For a New York band, The Lovin' Spoonful sure sounded like a California act. For one thing, they blended folk rock with country rock and threw in come cascading vocal harmonies a la Buffalo Springfield or The Byrds. They also peppered their songs with themes about peace, love and beautiful girls. Their first single "Do You Believe in Magic?" seemed to compete with the flood of British invasion acts that were saturating the airwaves and "Summer in the City," hinted at psychedelic rock, but by "Nashville Cats" it was obvious that the Spoonful were at home in the country. But instead of becoming another chambray shirt clad country rock act they leaned more toward folk and the down home blues found in pastoral jug bands. Singer John Sebastian (who got his start playing harmonica on Fred Neil recordings) was hardly ever seen without his autoharp in hand and they seemed to prefer writing songs about "going fishing" to singing about "life in the fast lane." After a few lineup changes, Sebastian parted ways to start a solo singer-songwriter career, breaking up the band in 1968. He had a hit in 1976 with "Welcome Back," the theme song for the television sitcom Welcome Back Kotter.