Monday, 16 December 2019

Cover Me Monday #4: P.F. Sloan

This weekend's Saturday Snapshots featured the Jimmy Webb song P.F. Sloan, a tribute to the man who wrote Barry McGuire's Eve of Destruction, as well as many other songs for artists as varied as the Mamas & Papas, Herman's Hermits, The Turtles and Johnny Rivers.

Like many successful songwriters of his era, Sloan wanted to be a solo star in his own right. However, the success of Eve of Destruction, health problems, and a conflict with his record company forced Sloan out of the music scene in the early 70s for many years, leading Jimmy Webb to pen his heartfelt tribute about "seeking P.F. Sloan", another unsung hero of the cut-throat world of pop.

Most of you will know that I hold Jimmy Webb in very high regard, and not just because he composed the greatest song ever written. I've seen Webb live and he's an excellent performer, warm and witty raconteur and genuinely decent bloke. But I also know he'd be the first to admit that his songs often sound better when performed by others. Curiously though - despite how damned catchy that chorus is - P.F. Sloan was never recorded by Glen Campbell or any of Webb's other more famous collaborators.

Dig deep and you can find versions by The Association, Unicorn (me neither) and Jennifer Warnes, but up until a few years ago Webb's own recording went unchallenged. (Webb also re-recorded the song a few years back as a duet with Jackson Browne, but I still prefer the original.)

This, though... this trumps them all. Ironically, Rumer is another artist who claims to have suffered greatly at the hands of the music industry; the pressure of her debut album led her to being diagnosed both bipolar and PTSD. She has the voice of an an angel though, and is considered by many to be the closest thing we've got these days to Karen Carpenter...

While researching this post, I discovered a couple more nice videos.

Firstly, here's Jimmy and Rumer duetting the song in 2013... with Jimmy explaining more about the genesis of the tune.

Secondly, one year later, here's Rumer performing the song live with P.F. Sloan himself. Sadly, Sloan would die of cancer within 18 months of this recording, but I like to think his immortality is guaranteed, thanks not least to Barry McGuire, Jimmy Webb and Rumer.


  1. Until Saturday(or more likely Sunday) I didn't know that he wrote Eve of Destruction.
    I always assumed it was written by Barry McGuire.

    Every day's a school day

  2. My mate Les was a P.F. Sloan fan back in the early 1970's, so I knew a little about him. He wrote "Take Me For What I'm Worth" which was a hit for The Searchers mid 1960's. I do remember P.F. Sloan's "The Sins of a Family" got a lot of UK radio play on its release.

  3. What a lovely post with lots of new info for me - I love Rumer so that's a great song choice for me Jimmy Webb song and Rumer's voice. Didn't realise she'd had health issues though after all that initial success - sad.


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