John Sebastian

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John Benson Sebastian Jr. (born March 17, 1944, in Greenwich Village, New York City) is an American songwriter and harmonica player. He is best known as a founder of The Lovin' Spoonful, a band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.[1] His tie-dyed denim jacket is prominently displayed there.


Life and early career

Sebastian's father, John Benson Sebastian Sr., was a noted classical harmonica player and his mother was a radio script writer. He is the godson of Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz of I Love Lucy). He grew up surrounded by music and musicians, including Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie and hearing such players as Leadbelly and Mississippi John Hurt in his own neighborhood.[2][3]

One of his first recording gigs was playing guitar and harmonica for Billy Faier's 1964 album The Beast of Billy Faier.[4] He also recorded with Fred Neil on the Bleecker & MacDougal album and Tom Rush's self-titled album in 1965. He came up through the Even Dozen Jug Band and The Mugwumps, which split to form the Lovin' Spoonful and The Mamas & the Papas. Sebastian was joined by Zal Yanovsky, Steve Boone and Joe Butler in the Spoonful, which was named after The Coffee Blues, a Mississippi John Hurt song. Sebastian also played autoharp on occasion.

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