If you have ever heard the song “Do You Believe in Magic” — whether sung by Ronald McDonald in a McDonald’s commercial, playing in “The Parent Trap,” the Lindsey Lohan version of course, or even serving as a musical accompaniment in the movie “American Pie,” — then you have heard The Lovin’ Spoonful.
The song is one of those classics heard in commercials, on soundtracks and covered by artists from every genre of music. It’s only one of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s many hits from when the band first became popular in the ‘60s.
The New York-based band last played in San Luis Obispo in 1965 during its first tour in California. Now the group is back and will play at SLO Brewing Co. tonight at 6:30 p.m.
“We started touring again in early ’92 and have been going at it ever since,” said the band’s bassist and songwriter Steven Boone.
With a recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and more than 20 years of touring under its belt, the band has not only experience, but proven success.
When the band first formed in 1965, the group wrote and recorded five albums in just four years, creating hits in both America and Europe.
The band’s music quickly spread to the young adult population and soon began playing at college campuses, a rare happening at the time.
“Prior to The Beatles invasion and Spoonful’s rise to popularity, college campuses were mostly only entertained by jazz or folk music,” Boone said. “Our manager started to put us into colleges to see how it would go over.”
Boone said the band was one of the first rock groups to have a fan base in the college audience.
The shows they played in those days were at bigger venues, with excited crowds waiting to hear hits like “Daydream” and “Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind.”
Paso Robles resident and former San Jose record store manager Lisa Lien said she was an original fan of The Lovin’ Spoonful and was pleasantly surprised to hear the band is touring again.
“I remember my sister had all their records,” Lien said. “I love all their music. It brings back a lot of memories.”
Although the vibe of current shows is different from tours in the ‘60s, the band is still enjoyable, Boone said.
“The audiences seem to really enjoy hearing the songs that we created 40-some years earlier,” Boone said. “Touring is just as fun or maybe even more fun, especially since the equipment and sound systems are a lot better than they were in the ‘60s.”
The band separated in 1969 because of a dispute with its record company, but even during the break from The Lovin’ Spoonful, the band members continued their involvement with music.
In addition to being a producer, Boone fulfilled his lifelong dream of living on a sailboat, never leaving music behind.
“Even when I was living on the sailboat, I wrote music and played at a club in The Virgin Islands,” he said.
The Lovin’ Spoonful’s lead vocals and guitarist Joe Butler landed lead roles in Broadway productions and appeared in movies.
Jerry Yester, also on lead vocals and guitar, performed with other groups and produced music as well.
After the band made a deal with its record company in 1991, original members Yester and Butler, along with Boone, decided to get the band together again.
This time, they are joined by new members Mike Arturi and Phil Smith.
Central Coast ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll cover band Unfinished Business will open for The Lovin’ Spoonful at SLO Brewing Co.
When Unfinished Business heard that The Lovin’ Spoonful was playing in San Luis Obispo, the band thought it would be the perfect fit.
“We’re excited about it,” said Ed Miller, lead guitar and vocals for Unfinished Business. “We would love to see more bands from that era come through.”
Miller said they are fans of The Lovin’ Spoonful — Unfinished Business even plays its hit “Summer in the City” in its shows.
And Miller said, although it is arguable, the band considers ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll to be the best music of all time.
Tickets can be bought for those 21 and older from SLO Brewing Co. for $26 in advance and $28 at the door. Tickets can also be purchased at Boo Boo Records for $29.