So Long, Daydream Believer

20 Jan

John Stewart 1940 – 2008

News today that John Stewart of the Kingston Trio passed away yesterday at the age of 68 from a stroke or brain aneurysm.

While most well known for being the lead singer and Banjo player of the Kingston Trio, Stewart penned one of the greatest 60’s tune ever in Daydream Believer, recorded by The Monkees.

I was introduced to the Kingston Trio by my father. A quiet and introspective man, my Dad had really eclectic musical taste. In the early 60’s, he was big into Calypso-type music like Harry Belafonte and went on a Kingston Trio tangent for a while. I am truly amazed by this as I look back at my father listening to folk music and realize just how out of character it was.

But I digress….the original Kingston Trio, sans John Stewart, broke into the music industry their first unlikely hit of Tom Dooley. John Stewart joined The Kingston Trio in 1961 and played with them until they broke up in 1968, when the British Invasion began to take over the popular music space. From The Andy Williams Show in 1966:

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? AND Early Morning Rain

In the never ending merry-go-round that is music, Gordon Lightfoot actually wrote Early Morning Rain.

Final TV appearance

The Kingston Trio was a little bit of everything. Some Bluegrass, some Country, some Folk and some early Rock. Their rich harmonies and string instruments helped to set the foundations of the folk “scene” of the 60s and role models for folk and pop artists like Jim Croce, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and countless others.

It’s important to recognize these musical pioneers and to honor their memory when one passes. Perhaps the most fitting tribute to John Stewart can be found in The Kingston Trio’s own recording of Try To Remember:


Posted by on January 20, 2008 in Music History, oldies, Uncategorized


6 responses to “So Long, Daydream Believer

  1. shrewspeaks

    January 20, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Another one? Man-o-man

  2. music maven

    January 21, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Unfortunately, all of the great acts and artists from the 50s, 60s and 70s are reaching their 60s, 70s, and 80s. We’ll lose many in the coming years. That’s why it’s important to explore and discover music’s history.

    It’s one of the tenets of why “Music Maven”.

  3. shrewspeaks

    January 21, 2008 at 11:46 am

    That…and the fringe benefits

  4. steven roy

    January 26, 2008 at 2:50 am

    The nice thing is … Stewart leaves behind a large body of work that stretches back almost fifty years.

    Just the last couple of months, Collectors Choice has rolled out a series of live concert albums of the Trio from ’61 and ’66. And live-in-concert was how the Kingstron Trio was the most memorable: “From the Hungy i” (1959), “Stereo Concert” (’59), “College Concert” (’62), “Back in Town” (’64), “Once Upon A Time” (’69), “Live at Newport” (’94), “The Last Concert” (2007), “Live at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium” (2008), and “Twice Upon a Time.” (2008).

    And Mr. Stewart put out “Phoenix Concerts” in 1974.

  5. music maven

    January 26, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Thanks, Steven.

  6. Dark Cloud

    February 29, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Stewart and Reynolds aren’t on Try to Remember. Just Shane and studio guys.

    Stewart was never the lead singer of the KT, which had none. Shane sang melody most.


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