Jim Seals of Seals and Crofts dies aged 80

"He belonged to a group that was one of a kind"

Jim Seals, of soft rock duo Seals and Crofts, has died at the age of 80.

Seals teamed up with fellow musician Dash Crofts in the ’60s, taking on lead vocalist duties for the pair. During their career they were known for hits including ‘Summer Breeze’, ‘Diamond Girl’ and ‘We May Never Pass This Way Again’.

Seals’ death was announced on Tuesday (June 7), with musician John Ford Coley writing on Facebook: “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.”

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

Coley was part of the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley with Seals’ older brother Dan, who were among a large wave of soft rock groups in the ’70s.

Both from Texas, Seals and Darrell George “Dash” Crofts had known each other since they were teenagers. They moved to Los Angeles to join the band The Champs.

By 1963, the pair, along with Glen Campbell and Jerry Cole, left The Champs to form Glen Campbell and the GCs, which lasted a few years.

They eventually became Seals and Crofts and by 1972 had their first major hit ‘Summer Breeze’, which sold over a million copies. The following year, they had another hit with ‘Diamond Girl’, which made it to Number Four in the US.

The duo caused controversy in 1974 with the release of ‘Unborn Child’, an anti-abortion song that was written shortly after the Roe V Wade Supreme Court decision. It was banned by a number of radio stations.

Speaking to Los Angeles Times in the ’90s, Seals said of the song: “It was our ignorance that we didn’t know that kind of thing was seething and boiling as a social issue. On one hand we had people sending us thousands of roses, but on the other people were literally throwing rocks at us. If we’d known it was going to cause such disunity, we might have thought twice about doing it.”

Seals and Crofts broke up in 1980, reuniting in 1991 and again in 2004, when they released their final album ‘Traces’.

The cause of death is as yet unknown. Seals is survived by his wife, Ruby, and their three children. See a number of tributes, including from Steve Miller, below.