During the 1960’s The Lovin’ Spoonful had a series of hits including “Do You Believe in Magic”, “Daydream” and “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?”. The band was led by John Sebastian, the son of an accomplished harp player, his father John, and a radio script writer, his mother Jane. His parents had an eclectic group of friends constantly dropping by the house; Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie and Vivian Vance to name a few. Sebastian grew up on Bank Street , in New York’s Greenwich Village and attended New York University for a year before deciding to strike out on his own. By this time John could play the piano, guitar and harp and was a prolific songwriter. He formed the group The Lovin’ Spoonful and met great success putting their first seven singles into the Top Ten, a remarkable achievement, but the group’s road to superstardom was abbreviated after the arrest of band member Zal Yanovsky on marijuana possession charges. Yanovsky, faced with a deportation order (he was Canadian) gave up the drug dealer’s name and as a result the band suffered a public backlash. The Lovin’ Spoonful eventually broke up and Sebastian pursued a solo career that included writing and performing the song ‘Welcome Back” for the TV series “Welcome Back Kotter” Sebastian continues to tour regularly and compose for film and TV.
Ken Rockburn spoke to John Sebastian at his home in Woodstock, New York.
A veteran journalist and broadcaster widely recognized for his irreverent and entertaining interview and presentation style, Ken is an award-winning journalist with almost 40 years of experience on radio and television. He first joined CPAC in 2001 as host of Talk Politics which ran for eight seasons. He returned to CPAC in 2010 to host Rockburn Presents. Prior to joining CPAC, Ken hosted CBC Radio’s All In a Day, CBC TV Ottawa’s Rockburn and Company and was news director at CHEZ-FM in Ottawa.