Jim Seals, of soft rock duo Seals and Crofts, dies aged 80 | Music

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

The lead vocalist of the pair, known for hits such as Summer Breeze and Diamond Girl, died on Monday. The cause of death is unknown.

“This is a hard one on so many levels as this is a musical era passing for me,” said musician and colleague John Ford Coley on Facebook. “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.”

Together with Dash Crofts, Seals helped define soft rock in the 1970s. Their first major hit was Summer Breeze in 1972, selling over a million copies. The next year saw the release of Diamond Girl which was also a hit, making it to No 4 in the US.

There was controversy in 1974 with the release of the album Unborn Child, which included an anti-abortion song that was written shortly after Roe v Wade. It was banned by many radio stations, and concerts were picked although the duo insisted it was not as political as many claimed, just that it asked people “don’t take life too lightly” before considering an abortion.

“It was our ignorance that we didn’t know that kind of thing was seeingthing and boiling as a social issue,” Seals said years later. “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.”

The band continued with hits like Get Closer and I’ll Play For You before they took a hiatus in 1980 after being dropped by Warner Bros after their 11th studio album, The Longest Road.

There were two reunions, in 1991 and then in 2004 with the final album, Traces. Seals suffered a stroke in 2017.

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

Seals is survived by his wife Ruby Jean and three children, Joshua, Juliette and Sutherland.

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