Even if you don’t know who Seals and Croft are, you’ll most likely recognize their biggest song from the opening lick, perfect for this time of year: “Summer breeze makes me feel fine, blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind,” the chorus goes. Jim Seals, who penned and sang this dreamy 1970s hit as one-half of soft rock duo Seals and Crofts, died on Monday at age 80.
Many people probably have very specific memories attached to hearing the gentle harmonies of this earworm, with lyrics detailing a simple but contented relationship. It’s the kind of song you hear in the grocery store checkout line that’ll suddenly make you feel a little wistful, thinking back on the sunny glory days of your youth.
As reported by CBS News, the musician died at his home outside of Nashville. Seals’ wife told The New York Times that he passed away of an undisclosed but “chronic ongoing illness.” Alongside partner Darrell “Dash” Crofts, Seals released more than a dozen albums throughout his career, including Seals and Crofts’ 1972 breakthrough record Summer Breeze. It sold 2 million copies at the time, according to Rolling Stone.
Many friends and fellow musicians have already paid public tribute to Seals’ memory. One of these is John Ford Coley, who sang with Seals’ older brother Dan in the ’70s duo England Dan & John Ford Coley. In a Facebook statement, Coley wrote: “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. 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. 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.”
Get into the nostalgic summer groove by re-listening to Seals’ most iconic track below.