American Icons: PF Sloan

He’s both famous and infamous. Famous as the songwriter of many classic songs, including “Secret Agent Man,” “Eve Of Destruction” and  “You Baby,” all co-written with Steve Barri. He’s infamous for disappearing for more than a decade, a mystery made legendary by Jimmy Webb, who wrote the elegiac “P.F. Sloan” about him, which features the lines “I have been seeking P.F. Sloan/ But no one know where he has gone.” When I first interviewed Webb back in 1988, I had no notion that Sloan was a real person. I assumed that he was a mythic songwriter invented by Webb as a symbol for the waning spirit of the ’60s. I printed my admission in SongTalk magazine, and within days started receiving a deluge of tapes and articles and photos from Sloan devotees the world over, all containing the same message: that P.F. Sloan was one of the great American songwriters. There was also another message: that Sloan was in Los Angeles, and was ready to be rediscovered. Through a series of maneuvers over a few weeks I finally received a phone call. It was Sloan. “I think the cosmos wants us to get together,” he said. I agreed. He lived…

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