Friday, January 18, 2008

John Stewart - Musician - RIP

Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 10:42:40 EST

John has fallen ill and been hospitalized in the San Diego area this
morning, Buffy and his children are with him.

Word came later today that John Stewart passed away.


The Kingston Trio years

The Kingston Trio, one of the best-known and best-selling acts on the folk music scene, was enjoying a lucrative recording and touring contract with Capitol Records, with ten albums under their collective belts, when Stewart joined them in 1961. They had emerged from the relatively crowded San Francisco folk music culture in 1957, using a mixture of calypso, pop, and folk styles, along with several forms of comedy, in their act. Relying on new arrangements of folk music classics as well as some original compositions, the Trio simultaneously earned their first gold record with "Tom Dooley," while launching a major revival in folk music that would lead to and influence the careers of Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul, & Mary, and John Denver, among others.

When Dave Guard left the group to explore other musical directions, Stewart was selected by remaining members Nick Reynolds and Bob Shane as his successor, bringing with him his respected skills as a musician, composer, and performer. The trio of Reynolds, Shane, and Stewart would record a dozen albums together, taking the music of the Trio into new directions, including more original material, and performing covers of songs by relative newcomers Tom Paxton, Mason Williams, and Gordon Lightfoot.

The folk era began to wane and the music of groups such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones dominated the charts, and the members of the Kingston Trio decided to disband the group in 1967.

Solo career, the post-Trio years

Stewart continued to write songs and record for Capitol, while touring as a solo act. It was during this time that he composed the hit, "Daydream Believer" for The Monkees (later a hit for Anne Murray as well), and later toured with Robert F. Kennedy's ill-fated 1968 presidential campaign. He also met and married fellow folk singer Buffy Ford — with whom he remains today (2007) — and began recording a remarkable string of albums. These include his signature album, California Bloodlines, as well as Willard, Cannons in the Rain, and Wingless Angels.

Though usually successful with critics and a core group of fans, Stewart's albums were not considered commercial successes. He left Capitol after only two solo releases and was signed by Warner Bros. Records, with whom he also recorded just two albums before moving on to RCA Records, where he recorded three LPs (including a live performance album). Stewart followed his release from RCA with a contract at the Robert Stigwood organization, the same organization that serviced the recording contracts for the Bee Gees, as well as several other disco performers. It was at RSO Records that Stewart enjoyed his most commercially successful years as a solo artist. Teaming with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham (of Buckingham-Nicks and, later, Fleetwood Mac), Stewart recorded and released Bombs Away Dream Babies, which included the #5 hit, "Gold," in 1979. Two other tracks from the album, "Midnight Wind" and "Lost Her in the Sun," would also hit the top 40. The follow-up album, Dream Babies Go Hollywood, proved to be a commercial disappointment, and shortly thereafter Stewart dropped from the pop charts, never to return as a performer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that! RIP John :(

8:07 PM, January 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know where the poster got the information, but as of 7 pm Pacific time Friday night, after 10 pm here in the east, John Stewart was in a difficult situation but had NOT passed away. We have asked his friends and fans for prayers and emotional support for John and his wife Buffy, who is at his bedside. Granted the situation does not look good, but I spoke just 10 minutes ago with friends at John's side, and he is still with us. Please correct that mistaken information, and pray for his recovery. We cannot give up.
Tom DeLisle
Bloodlines (John's online fan group)

9:10 PM, January 18, 2008  
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