P.F. Sloan, a folk-rock musician of the 1960s whose two best-known songs — the apocalyptic protest anthem “Eve of Destruction” and the ominous TV-show theme song “Secret Agent Man” — became major hits for other performers, died Nov. 15 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 70.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his publicist, Sangeeta Haindl.
In a long but spotty career, Mr. Sloan was a songwriter, record producer and member in the 1960s of a Los Angeles recording-session coterie known as the Wrecking Crew. The Turtles, Herman’s Hermits, the Searchers and other groups recorded his compositions.
With frequent songwriting partner Steve Barri, he recorded surf music as the Fantastic Baggys. Mr. Sloan’s guitar work graced several recordings by the Mamas and the Papas including the introduction to “California Dreamin’ ” (1965).
P. F. Sloan, left, compares harmonica techniques with Johnny Rivers in 1965. (AP)
Couplets such as “You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’/You don’t believe in war but what’s that gun you’re totin’?” and “Think of all the hate there is in Red China/ Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama” distilled the era’s anxieties into a strident 31/3-minute pop song — just long enough for Top 40 airplay.
Folk rockers the Byrds had already rejected the song when Barry McGuire, a former member of the folk group the New Christy Minstrels, recorded it. McGuire’s label, Dunhill, had so little faith in it that they released it as a B side. However, the 1965 recording beat Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” for the No.1 spot on the Billboard pop charts.
Conservatives objected to the lyrics, even as many liberals considered it a cheap attempt to capitalize on the anti-war movement. In England, the BBC banned it, as did several U.S. radio stations. And a group named the Spokesmen immediately recorded a conservative rebuttal, “The Dawn of Correction.”
“Secret Agent Man, ” which Mr. Sloan and Barri co-wrote for singer Johnny Rivers, became the theme to the English spy show “Secret Agent” starring Patrick McGoohan (the program was originally called “Danger Man” in England). Mr. Sloan’s simple guitar hook on Rivers’s 1966 recording made it a standard for fledgling garage bands.
Mr. Sloan’s other writing and co-writing credits include “Let Me Be” (1965) and “You Baby” (1966) for the Turtles.
He also produced the Grass Roots, one of the era’s most successful folk-rock groups. The act began as an avenue for Mr. Sloan and Barri to record their songs. Their first recording, “Where Were You When I Needed You, ” featured Mr. Sloan as a vocalist. However, Dunhill insisted that they find a “real group, ” since Mr. Sloan and Barri were too valuable to the label as a production and songwriting team. A Los Angeles band, the 13th Floor, was hired to tour and later record as the Grass Roots.
Mr. Sloan also recorded two albums of his own, “Songs of Our Times” and “Twelve More Times, ” but Dunhill did little to promote them. The single from the first, “The Sins of the Family” (1965), a song about teen prostitution and dysfunctional families, reached No. 87 on the charts.london grammar london gold london gatwick london gifts london gallery london gb london gbr london house london has fallen london house chicago london house rooftop london hughes london hotels london heathrow london has fallen cast london isd london in december london in spanish london is falling london irish london in november london in january london is in what country london jewelers london jeans london johnson london jae london jobs london jewelry london jeans brand london jewelers east hampton london ky london ky weather london king london kills london ky zip code london kids shoes london knights london ky restaurants london lazerson london laz london lazerson movies london local time london latitude london lash london look london landmarks london marathon london map london marathon 2021 london marathon 2022 london mayor london metropolitan university london museum london mule london nfl games london nfl london news london newspapers london nails london natural history museum london normandy house london on da track london ontario london ohio london opening london olympics london on map london ontario weather london ontario canada london pound cake strain london population london postal codes london plane tree london phone number london pound mints strain london pound cake london population 2021 london quarantine london queen london quarantine rules london quotes london quarantine requirements london quiet room london quireboys london quick lube london real london review of books london restaurants london road rental london real estate for sale london road london river name london rentals london school of economics london system london stock exchange london square london skyline london stadium london soccer teams london square apartments london time london time zone london tipton london to paris london to paris train london tube map london to edinburgh london travel restrictions london uk london underground london underground map london university london uk weather london urban dictionary london uk time london underground shoes london vaccination rate london vet clinic london vs new york london victoria london visa london vs paris london vacation rentals london weather london weather by month london west hollywood london weather today london walmart london weather in december london west end london weather november london xmas london xmas markets london xi london xr london xmas bandeau london xrp london xoyo london xxl london yellow london young london york london young thug london yearly weather london yard london yellow net worth london zip code london zoo london zip code uk london zones london zip london zones map london zack and cody london zillow london about the city london about essay london about tammy london about history london about mask about london eye about london bridge about london in english london after midnight band london after midnight found london after midnight movie london after midnight kiss lyrics london after dark london after midnight found 2021 london after ww2 london against e5 london against king's indian london against dutch london against lockdown london against c5 london against corona london against sicilian london against brexit london among us fallen london among the monster-hunting academics fallen london among the dead edifice in london among the higher kind london around christmas london around the world london around places visit london around areas london around hiking around london around london poem around london in 40 steps london as diet london as a first name london as a girl name london as a name london as diet recipes london as a boy name london as atlantic port city the light at the bottom of the world london shah london pool top of building best rooftop swimming pool london london at christmas london at night london at christmas time london at midnight london at night wallpaper london at night joke london at home covid test london at new years london before and after ww2 london before the great fire london before the romans london before sewers london before industrial revolution london before it was london london before ww1 london before ww2 london behind the scenes tours london behind vaccine london behind time london behind scenes behind london fields behind london tooting london grammar behind her eyes london is behind me london beneath the pavement beneath london beneath london book beneath london tour beneath london documentary london lies beneath fallen london beneath the neath london lies beneath review oli london beside jimin radley london beside the sea cities beside london hotel beside london eye country beside london places beside london