The Lovin’ Spoonful will give Park City a dose of ‘good-time music’
What: Lovin’ Spoonful
When: 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30; 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1
Where: Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.
Cost: $35-$53 for Friday tickets and $39-$59 for Saturday and Sunday tickets
When the Lovin’ Spoonful performs its three-night stand at the Egyptian Theatre next weekend, founding bassist Steve Boone promises to play the songs as close to the original recordings as it can.
“We know (the audience wants) to hear ‘Summer in the City’ the way they heard it in 1966,” said Boone, who restarted the band in 1991 with original drummer and vocalist Joe Butler. “That way the audience won’t be disappointed and think we’re not the same guys.”
The set list will include “Summer in the City” as well as the band’s hit parade, including “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice,” “Daydream” and “Do You Believe in Magic?”
“The Lovin’ Spoonful is fortunate that our first nine songs that we released as singles in the 1960s landed in the Top 20, and the first seven ended up in the Top 10,” Boone said.
Those songs were originally released as 45-RPM vinyl singles that were played on AM radio back in the day, according to the bassist.
“When we started out, the 45 was the record of the day, because full albums were reserved more for jazz and classical music,” he said. “When we went shopping for a record company with our would-be hit, ‘Do You Believe in Magic,’ we were enthusiastically courted by premier labels such as Elektra Records, but they were a high-class folk music label at the time and their artists didn’t get on the radio back then. It just wasn’t their market.”
So, the Lovin’ Spoonful signed with Karma Sutra, a label that specialized in singles.
“The decision was made almost entirely because we knew that they could get us on the radio,” Boone said.
Having that string of singles that also includes “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” and “Darling Be Home Soon,” is the biggest reason the band is still playing concerts today, Boone said.
“The majority of our audience, who are generally aged 50 and older, listened for those singles on the radio when they were younger,” he said. “And while we didn’t have a glamorous career like the Stones or the Beatles, we did have these songs that nearly everyone has heard and remember.”
The Park City concerts will also feature what Boone calls the “Golden Nuggets,” which are the more obscure Lovin’ Spoonful songs that reach back to the band’s bluegrass and jug-band roots, Boone said.
“These are songs I really like that show how varied we were musically,” he said.
Another reason Boone believes the band is still touring is because the songs it recorded weren’t controversial.
“I think our songs could weather any storm, because they weren’t designed to stir up emotions against the (Vietnam) war, even though we weren’t in favor of the war,” he said. “We just felt singing a song about it didn’t fit with us. Our motto was ‘Good Time Music.’”
Boone said the numerous remakes of Lovin’ Spoonful songs has also kept the music alive.
“It means the world to me to hear about a remake, especially if it’s a song that I had a hand in writing, like ‘Summer In the City,’” he said. “One of the most clever arrangements of ‘You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice” that I ever heard was done by a local band in (Florida). They invited me to play with them on it.”
Boone considers one of the “oddest” remakes of “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice” was by Kevin Costner and Amy Grant for Costner’s 1997 science fiction film, “The Postman.”
“Kevin must have been a Lovin’ Spoonful fan because he also used ‘Daydream’ in his movie, ‘Field of Dreams,’” Boone said.
While Boone looks forward to future remakes, he said he’s not sure what the Lovin’ Spoonful’s next step will be.
“It’s like when you’re a batter in a baseball game, you don’t know what the pitcher will throw at you,” he said. “But we do know if it’s in our strike zone, we will take a swing at it.”
Boone, who turned 76 in September, did say, however, that he and Butler have made a pact to still be playing in a rock band when they are in their 80s.
“He’s closer to that age than I am,” Boone said with a laugh. “But I’m all for that. And while I can’t jump around like I used to and I have to be careful about how I lift things, I get such a kick of playing for an hour and a half or how long the show is, that I’ll put up with the airport travel hassles and long drives to do it.”
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