Seals and Crofts, England Dan and “We May Never Pass This Way Again”

I am going to dip my toe in the water a little today to see how I get on – Since my somewhat enforced hiatus (I don’t know if it’s actually a thing, but I think I had the equivalent of a “blogging breakdown”), I have read a few comments from my fellow practitioners and had a bit of an epiphany. As John Medd of the eponymously named blog wrote:

“Speaking as someone who has maintained a modest two up two down blog since 2010 you seem, to me anyway, to be worrying needlessly. This is your space so just write what you want to write about, when you want to write about it. Your readership won’t suddenly unsubscribe from your site [if you have a break] and the sky won’t fall in. Believe me.”

Wise words indeed John and taking them on board I am now going to write about something that could perhaps cause the sky to fall in – Yes I’m going to cover the wonderful world of “soft rock”!

Early on in my days of blogging, long before I kind of lost the plot as to what it was all supposed to be about (that would be a nostalgic journey through the tracks of my years), I covered the soft rock classic I’d Really Love To See You Tonight by England Dan and John Ford Coley (link here). My last post before I had a break (or was it a breakdown?) for the summer, featured Summer Breeze by The Isley Brothers which has always been a favourite of mine, but, whilst doing a bit of research as to its provenance I made a wonderful discovery. The song was not indeed written by the Isley Brothers as I had always thought but by the writing duo Seals and Crofts, Jim Seals being the older brother of Dan Seals, or England Dan as he became known because of his great love for the Beatles. Although from Texas, that nickname was given to him by big brother Jim after he briefly affected an English (or was it Liverpudlian?) accent. And this is what my blog was always supposed to be about – Finding out the backstory to the songs and artists of my youth. There is so much more information out there now (ok some might be a bit dubious) but back in the day, all we had was Jackie magazine and a few more worthy publications – We lived in blissful ignorance, which was perhaps a good thing in light of a few revelations of late, but as you may have guessed I am a bit of a rock & pop “facts and figures” aficionado, so for me, this brave new digital world is just perfect.

So, what follows on from Summer Breeze? Well by good fortune I heard a song on the car radio the other day by none other than Seals and Crofts and was immediately smitten by it – Like little brother’s output, the music of Jim Seals and his singing partner Darrell “Dash” Crofts, fitted nicely into the soft rock camp which now seems to have become a bit of a derogatory term but when it comes to rock I have always preferred mine to be of the soft rather than the hard variety anyway (and my listening to be easy as opposed to difficult). These genres and labels we give music truly baffle me as at the end of the day there is music of great quality and music that really is a bit rubbish, but there is also music that just gives lots of pleasure, to lots of people, and this song does that for me. The Carpenters whom I featured recently (link here) also came from the soft rock camp and the passage of time, and Karen’s tragic death, seems to have erased any preconceptions many had about their output – When it comes to music of quality, it doesn’t get much better than The Carpenters.

We May Never Pass This Way (Again) by Seals and Crofts:

The song We May Never Pass This Way (Again), from 1973, didn’t ever enter the UK Singles Chart but it did reach No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. I can honestly say I don’t remember ever having listened to Seals and Crofts before (neither can Mr WIAA) but theirs was very much the kind of music that was all pervasive during my teenage years. Originating in southern California, soft rock was a style that largely featured acoustic guitars and slow-to-mid tempos – Simple, melodic songs with big, lush productions. I very much doubt if we called it soft rock back then but when listening to the radio from the early ’70s onward much of what we heard was by bands and artists such as Anne Murray, John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Rod Stewart, Carole King, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Toto, England Dan & John Ford Coley, the Eagles, Chicago, America and the reformed Fleetwood Mac whose “Rumours” was the best-selling album of the decade. In the late ’70s, prominent soft rock acts included Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross and Captain & Tennille. A lot of albums were brought in to school and exchanged amongst friends for the very naughty practice of home-taping – Good to know such illicit activity doesn’t happen today!

Since we are featuring big brother Jim’s song in this post, I can’t leave little brother Dan out, so here is another soft rock delight, this time from the late ’70s. Love Is The Answer was written by Todd Rundgren and was a hit for England Dan and John Ford Coley in 1979. Although I loved this soundtrack to my teenage years, we weren’t really awash with visuals in those days and YouTube was still a few decades away – This sounds really shallow but I am quite glad now as somehow these lush love-songs sound better when you don’t think of the moustachioed pair who sang them. My bedroom walls at the time might have had an array of good-looking boys on them, but when it just came down to the lyrics, who wouldn’t want “a ticket to paradise“?

So, “What’s it all about?” – Lots of things actually.

First of all, I have missed blogging dreadfully so as long as I remember that it is indeed my space, to do with what I want, there should be no problem. Unlike with a paid job there are no deadlines, only the ones that are self-inflicted. Oh yes, and there are apparently “no guilty pleasures” in music (although we do have to remind ourselves of that one an awful lot, which leads me to suppose there actually are, but I’ll keep on peddling the myth).

Secondly, the lyrics to the featured song have really struck a cord with me. Ok, some of the lines make little sense and probably just sounded right for the melody, but the basic premise is that we only get one shot at life and at the moment I am definitely wearing too many hats, so in order to sort my life out, one will have to go. As it turns out, getting rid of the chapeau de bloggeur seems not to be an option, so it will have to be one of the others. Interesting times.

car share

Thirdly (odd word), just as Kayleigh Kitson realised in Peter Kay’s Car Share (link here), “we may never pass this way again”, so she came out and declared her love for John, which was a very brave thing to do but had she not she might have regretted it for the rest of her life. I would have done the same in her position and in my late twenties, a few “declarations” were made, just in case. Unfortunately, 30 years on, a couple of the recipients of such declarations have turned up in this new-fangled “smarter office” setup I have going on at work (for that read packing four times as many people into the same space). Fortunately we have all moved on and have families of our own now, but there is still perhaps a slight twinge of embarrassment as you bump into them whilst casually hydrating at the water cooler of a morning – I just hope that the passage of time, and loss of hair follicles (for them, not me), has blanked out the memory of it all!

Finally, I know I said that I wouldn’t return until August but I do seem to have (thanks to Mr Medd, Jez and a few others) a better perspective now on this pastime called blogging – If I don’t always have the time to visit the other blogs I follow, and leave a comment or two, it’s because I’m still wearing “all the hats”. Once I dispense with one (or two?), that rare commodity called “spare time” might reappear in my life. I look forward to that day with relish.

Until next time….

We May Never Pass This Way (Again) Lyrics
(Song by Jim Seals/Dash Crofts)

Life, so they say, is but a game and we let it slip away.
Love, like the Autumn sun, should be dyin’ but it’s only just begun.
Like the twilight in the road up ahead, they don’t see just where we’re goin’.
And all the secrets in the Universe, whisper in our ears

And all the years will come and go, take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
Dreams, so they say, are for the fools and they let ’em drift away.

Peace, like the silent dove, should be flyin’ but it’s only just begun.
Like Columbus in the olden days, we must gather all our courage.
Sail our ships out on the open sea. Cast away our fears
And all the years will come and go, and take us up, always up.

We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
So, I want to laugh while the laughin’ is easy. I want to cry if it makes it worthwhile.
We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you.

‘Cause, you make me feel like I’m more than a friend.
Like I’m the journey and you’re the journey’s end.

We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you, baby.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

22 thoughts on “Seals and Crofts, England Dan and “We May Never Pass This Way Again””

  1. What an unexpected pleasure to see you pop up on my sidebar this afternoon Alyson. John was absolutely right, we may have deadlines to meet in the real world, but no such constraints exist in our little corner of the internet. Whenever you feel like putting (metaphorical) pen to (metaphorical) paper and donning your chapeau de bloggeur, we’ll be here.
    You return with an apposite post actually, as only this morning I was remarking to Mrs S about the number of West Coast / Soft Rock influenced tunes that have sprung up recently – Mac DeMarco’s ‘On the Level’, Thundercat’s ‘Show You the Way’ and Childhood’s ‘Californian Light’ to name but three. I love all three of them, though the 20 year old me would’ve no doubt been mortified to hear me say so – before he ran off to play a Gang of Four record at neighbour bothering volume. I enjoyed the tunes you shared today too, particularly ‘We May Never Pass This Way Again’. Seals, Crofts, Dan & Foley were all just names until an hour ago. Every time I think I’ve broken the back of this music lark, along comes another rabbit warren to investigate.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by – It’s nice to be back and although I said I would wait until August I now feel ready and under less pressure to deliver. I’ve never quite cracked the technique of the short and pithy blog post (this one turned out very long so amazed you got through it!) so I’ll stick with what I know and just post when I feel like it.

      No, I can imagine that the 20 year old you would not have been into such fodder but my memories of the ’70s are awash with such West Coast influenced music and there was a lot of quality (whether it was your bag or not). Amazed to hear you hadn’t heard these names before as you seem to be au fait with just about everything that ever appeared on vinyl because of the record shop. Pleased to know I have popped up with something new!

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      1. I knew the names, I’ve no doubt sold many of their records over the years, but had never knowingly heard any of their music until now. I used to think that I was musically open minded in my late teens and early twenties and perhaps compared to some of my chums I was, but I was still ridiculously pig-headed about some things. Stupid really, when I think of the access I had to all those records. All that music I’ll never hear. That’s why I still try to listen to so much music to this day. I’m genuinely scared that my favourite song is out there somewhere and I’ll never get to hear it.

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        1. I should have known that – Of course you knew the names it was just that you couldn’t have possibly condescended to listen to them!! I suspect all the boys I knew back then would have felt exactly the same. As for your favourite song still being out there, like me you have probably had various favourite songs over the years as they change depending on how over-familiar they become. Nice pastime however finding that out – Long may it continue.

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    1. Thanks – a bit earlier than planned but my holiday by the sea must have blown all the cobwebs away and I now feel a lot more capable of stringing a sentence together!

      Amazed that you guys hadn’t heard of Seals and Crofts as you have usually heard of just about everyone who ever recorded a single note – Only found out about them because they wrote Summer Breeze but am now a bit of a fan.

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  2. Ah, what a lovely surprise and pleasure to see you back here! Everything you (and John and others) say about blogging is absolutely right and true. It’s actually one of the few things in life where there is no pressure or deadline, no need to feel guilty for a non-appearance, and no expectation to deliver a set number of words, or whatever, whereas so many other aspects of our lives have one remit or another. A good enough reason to do it, if ever there was one!
    Another informative post – I feel as if I’ve heard the Seals & Croft number in a film or something? It sounds familiar but not having charted in the UK that seems strange, so I’m wondering where I may have heard it… I must say too that it’s a joyous thing (in a strange, perverse way) just to see such a plethora of hair too, particularly those top lip ticklers 😉
    I hope you can lose one (or two) of the least attractive hats – and very pleased to hear that you still intend to wear the lovely Chapeau de Blogger – it suits you. (I’m seeing beautiful feathers, decorative trim, a nice wide brim…)

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    1. Yes, I had planned to wait until August but I feel ready to resume service again – What you say is true of course, it is one of the few things in life where there is no deadline or expectation but that would be of course because no money changes hands! Sadly in the real world where a remuneration takes place for work done there are many, many deadlines and they seem to be getting tighter every year – Going to keep 4 hats going I think, a couple of practical/caring ones, a money-earning one and the one with the beautiful feathers and a decorative trim which would of course be the Chapeau de Bloggeur (I think it should actually be le chapeau de la bloggeuse, but it didn’t sound right!).

      But back to Seals and Crofts, I at first confused it with the song “We May Never Love Like This Again” which was from the film The Towering Inferno (suddenly relevant again after the terrible fire in London). Maybe that’s what you were thinking of? As for the hair and the moustaches, I think I mentioned that I had found an archive box with some great stuff from the ’70s in my loft – Lots of great pictures and memorabilia of such hirsute chaps which I’m going to try and shoehorn in over the next few weeks. Should be fun (especially if I include the diary entries!).

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  3. It will come as no surprise to you to hear that I have Seals & Croft’s Greatest Hits in my collection, though I haven’t listened to it as much as England Dan and John Ford Coley.

    I hope I never meet anyone with whom I shared embarrassing declarations in the past. Being that my hair is still all in place (my marbles are shedding much faster), they probably would recognise me, and that would be awful. I often wish I could go back and live my life again, knowing what I know now.

    Glad to see you back, if only briefly. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

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    1. You are the first person to leave a comment who has heard of them, but somehow I thought that might be case in view of the fact you first visited my blog after I wrote about England Dan and John Ford Coley and admitted to owning their Greatest “Hit” album.

      You know what, embarrassing declarations don’t really faze me as I think I would have regretted it if I hadn’t made them – Mr WIAA would have slipped through my fingers if I’d not contrived the arranging of a date (although I’d actually have had a much more “conventional” life come to think of it).

      I’m getting quite brave in my old age as realising “we will definitely never pass this way again” – Got to sort out the hat juggling and I think you possibly know which one is the most likely to go. My previous attempt failed so will have to persist.

      I have had a nice summer so far but won’t stay away for long now – Hope you’ve enjoyed your downtime and the DIY? I think a few of us got a bit caught up with posting regularly, but self-inflicted really as no one minds if we disappear for a while – Nice to know.

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      1. The linked posts made me smile! Thank you Alyson.

        Yes indeed – AOR, American FM radio rock – you’ve nailed four of the main protagonists. The strapline beneath their photos in many music weeklies would read ‘Ladies, form an orderly queue.’ Isn’t there a link (that word again) to another set of soft rockers – the Moody Blues, or have I just imagined that?

        Anyhoo, good to have you back A. And remember what I said…

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        1. Not sure of the Moody Blues connection/link but I do remember being jealous of Justin Hayward’s hair back in the day – It was always very nice and well-conditioned which was a rarity in those less “product” laden days!

          Yes it’s good to be back but I will indeed have to remember “what it’s all about” and keep it under control – Not always as easy as it seems though.

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      2. DIY sucks. Especially painting, which is how I spent today. Think I’d rather be back at work. At least I get to listen to the radio while I’m DIYing though. Can’t really do that in a classroom.

        Hope you find a solution to the hat juggling problem. The most tempting solution has some unfortunate drawbacks, otherwise we’d all be taking it!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I actually love painting – so calming and a real sense of achievement at the end of it all. I listen to podcasts whilst decorating but haven’t done any for a while as been so busy. Yes the tempting solution does indeed have drawbacks but I don’t have a young family any more and I have a strong belief in that old proverb, “as one door closes another one opens” – Let’s hope so anyway.

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  4. I’ve never understood why England Dan and John Ford Coley’s cover of “Love Is The Answer” wasn’t a monster hit in the UK, although it did reach #10 in the US Billboard Chart. I even bought their album “Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jive” on the strength of it – although that turned out not to be such a good idea. I knew that Seals & Croft had written “Summer Breeze”, but always preferred the Isley’s version because it was from their album “3+3” which paved the way for their 3 greatest albums, Live It Up (1974), The Heat Is On (1975 – side 1 of which, I would argue, was a major template for rap music and it’s no surprise that the Isleys are one of the most sampled bands ever) and Harvest for the World (1976).

    And I’d just like to say, I’m glad Mr Medd’s words have kept you stepping on the blogging path.

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    1. Like you I have always been fond of “Love Is The Answer” but having just checked, it only made it to No. 45 in the UK Singles Chart – Bizarre, as I’m sure it’s played a lot on the radio to this day (but then again it is the kind of thing that would go down well on certain radio stations that I listen to, which is how the Seals and Crofts song came my way although).

      As we’re coming up to the next of nature’s key dates in the calendar, Lammas, which is all about gathering in the first harvest of the year I did think I might feature Harvest for the World next time but it does seem like overkill now. Great song though.

      Yes still on the blogging path and wearing that hat again with relish!

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  5. Yes, “thirdly” is a strange word! I hate when my students use it 🙂 Blogging can be real love/hate – no matter how many readers follow. But you are right, this is your space and your place. I deviate from my theme, too, but come right back around. As I tell my students, embrace every dimension – otherwise, you’ll never find your voice.

    Glad you are still here!

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    1. Lovely to have you drop by Lauren, especially as you are on your travels at the moment. I really am enjoying your trip and it has reminded me that I must get back to my virtual journey across the 50 states in song. Soon.

      Yes “thirdly” is a truly awful word but as I finished off making four different points, I struggled to find an alternative that wasn’t equally as awful!

      By the way, my daughter is now 21, but back in the day she hated long car journeys with the result we rarely went anywhere very far at all when she was a child. I am full of admiration for what you are doing. There will be good days and not-so-good days but just think of the memories you’ll have to share with each other in the future.

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  6. Good to see you back posting again. I’m liking I’d Really Love To See You Tonight, a classic I hadn’t heard before, good stuff. Seems the 70s was the hey-day for soft rock.
    Off the top of my head, I’m struggling to remember favorite soft rock songs/albums. I’ll see what I can come up with for a reply post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes please – A reply post would great. As for soft rock, it covers a lot of ground so no shortage of artists to choose from.

      Yes good to be back posting and now realise there is no pressure to deliver a certain number of posts per week/month – Just do it when the time feels right!

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