Monday, March 30, 2009

RIP England Dan

Last week while I was on my old-school U2 bender, I received the unfortunate news that Dan Seals, also known as England Dan of the 70s duo England Dan and John Ford Coley, passed away at the age of 61 from complications from lymphoma. I am an unabashed fan of his 70s light rock material, but I was not aware of his extensive country music career. He had several top ten country hits in the 1980s, including a run of nine straight number 1 songs. From Yahoo News on March 26:
Dan Seals, who was England Dan in the pop duo England Dan and John Ford Coley and later had a successful country career, has died of complications from cancer. He was 61.

Longtime manager Tony Gottlieb said Seals, diagnosed with lymphoma two years ago, died Wednesday night at his daughter's home in Nashville.

With England Dan and John Ford Coley, Seals had hits including "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" and "Nights Are Forever," both in 1976. His country hits in the '80s and '90s included "Bop," "You Still Move Me," "Love on Arrival," and a duet with Marie Osmond, "Meet Me in Montana."

"I've loved to play and sing from the moment I knew what it was," he told The Associated Press in 1992.

Seals, who is survived by his wife, four children and seven grandchildren, was in hospice care when he died.

"He was very positive," said Gottlieb, Seals' manager for about 30 years. "He participated in several clinical trials to assist with research on this type of lymphoma."

Gottlieb said a major misconception about Seals is that he was a pop singer who came to country music. In reality, he said, Seals grew up singing country music and crossed into pop.

"He was raised in a very rural part of West Texas. His father was an amateur country singer, and he used to play with his dad. They were Hank Williams, Grand Ole Opry people. He was much more of a country singer than a pop singer."

Seals' older brother, Jimmy, was the Seals in Seals & Crofts, who recorded the hits "Summer Breeze" and "Diamond Girl" in the 1970s.

Until Dan Seals got sick, the brothers were working as a duo, Seals & Seals. They performed some shows and were recording an album but never finished it. The songs they did complete, about eight in all, will be released.

"In the last two years he only did like three shows," Gottlieb said. "He just didn't have the energy."

Seals, whose father was a pipefitter, was born in McCamey, Texas, and grew up in Iraan, Texas, and Dallas.

His well-crafted songs tended to be insightful and graphic with lofty themes. In 1989, his music video for the song "Rage On" addressed a topic rare in country music: an interracial relationship. It showed angry youths smashing the windows of the car of a young man dating a girl of a different race. One boy hurled a beer bottle at the girl's father. The song itself was about small town values.

"When we record songs, we take chances," Seals said at the time. "We feel we are on the cutting edge of what we can do."
I unfortunately don't own any of Dan Seals country tracks, a problem that I will fix ASAP, but here are two tracks from his 70s heyday. RIP Mr. Seals.

Nights are Forever Without You.mp3
I'd Really Love to See You Tonight.mp3
Buy: Nights Are Forever (1976, reissued 2005)


Anonymous said...

They also did a good cover of Todd Rundgren's 'Love Is The Answer'.

C. Greene said...

Grew up on "Meet Me In Montana" with Marie Osmond...