Jim Seals, One Half of Soft Rock Duo Seals and Crofts, Died at 80

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Jim Seals, one-half of the seminal soft rock outfit Seals and Crofts, died at the age of 80. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, though he reportedly suffered from a stroke a few years ago.

His cousin Brady Seals, a former member of the country band Little Texas, shared the news on social media. “I just learned that James ‘Jimmy’ Seals has passed. My heart just breaks for his wife Ruby and their children,” Brady wrote. “Please keep them in your prayers. What an incredible legacy he leaves behind.”

John Ford Coley, of England Dan and John Ford Coley, added: “This is a hard one on so many levels as this is a musical era passing for me. And it will never pass this way again, as his song said.”

Seals and Dash Crofts teamed up in the late ’60s and remained a breezy pop-rock group until 1980. Amid their heyday in the ’70s, the two made genre-defining hits including the oh-so-chill “Summer Breeze.”

Seals and Crofts met in their home state of Texas while playing in other local bands. By the mid-’60s both had relocated to California and had begun working together in a group called the Dawnbreakers. In 1961, Seals also garnered fame when rockabilly singer Brenda Lee recorded his song “It’s Never Too Late.”

Finally settling on the name Seals and Crofts, the two released their debut under the moniker in 1969. Their third album, Summer Breeze, clinched the No. 4 spot with “Diamond Girl.” The title track on the album reached No. 7 on the charts. They first broke up in 1980 following their 11th studio album The Longest Road.

Seals continued to tour throughout his life, even joining Crofts for a brief reunion in the early 1990s. They reunited for one final album, Traces back in 2004.


John Ford Coley, of England Dan and John Ford Coley, shared his condolences in a Facebook post.

“Wow. Don’t even know where to begin. Jimmy Seals passed away today. I spent a large portion of my musical life with this man,” he wrote. “We toured together, he and Dash invited us to sing on Seals and Crofts records, and we played with him for years. He was Dan’s older brother, it was Jimmy that gave Dan and me our stage name, he taught me how to juggle, made me laugh, pissed me off, encouraged me, showed me amazing worlds and different understandings on life, especially on a philosophical level, showed me how expensive golf was and how to never hit a golf ball because next came the total annihilation of a perfectly good golf club and the list goes on and on.”

He continued, “We didn’t always see eye to eye, especially as musicians, but we always got along and I thought he was a bona fide, dyed in the wool musical genius and a very deep and contemplative man. He was an enigma and I always had regard for his opinion. I listened to him and I learned from him. We didn’t always agree and it wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always fun but it definitely was always entertaining for sure. Dan adored his older brother and it was because of Jimmy opening doors for us that we came to Los Angeles to record and meet the right people. This is a hard one on so many levels as this is a musical era passing for me. And it will never pass this way again as his song said. He belonged to a group that was one of a kind. I am very sad over this but I have some of the best memories of all of us together. Rest In Peace Jimmy. You and Dan finally get reunited again. Tell him and your sweet momma hi for me.”

Photo: Album Image From ‘Seals and Crofts Greatest Hits’

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