Liberal Arts Blog — John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful — “Summer in the City,” “Daydream,” “Do You Believe in Magic?”

Liberal Arts Blog — Thursday is the Joy of Music Day

Today’s Topic: John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful (1965–1969)- “Summer in the City,” “Daydream,” “Do You Believe in Magic?”

As a naive Catholic high school student in the 1960s, I missed all the drug and sex references in rock and roll songs. In fact, it was not until this morning that I had any clue of the innuendos in the name “Lovin’ Spoonful.” So it’s not just about coffee and sugar? Well, moving on. Today, three of my favorites from the mid-1960s. After the lyrics and a few links, two footnotes. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

DAYDREAM: included in John Lennon’s 40-song jukebox

  1. “What a day for a daydream, what a day for a daydreamin’ boy

And I’m lost in a daydream, Dreamin ‘bout my bundle of joy

And even if time ain’t really on my side, It’s one of those day for taking a walk outside

I’m blowin’ the day for a walk in the sun and fall on my face on somebody’s new-mowed lawn

2.“I’ve been havin’ a sweet dream, I been dreamin’ since I woke up today

It’s starrin me and my sweet thing, Cause she’s the one makes me feel this way

And even if time is passin’ me by a lot I couldn’t care less about the dues you say I got

Tomorrow I’ll pay the dues for droppin’ my load A pie in the face for being a sleepy bull toad

3. And you can be sure that if you’re feelin’ right A daydream will last long into the night

Tomorrow at breakfast you may prick up your ears or you may be daydreamin’ for a thousand years

What a day for a daydream, Custom-made for a daydreamin’ boy, And I’m lost in a daydream

Dreamin’ ‘bout my bundle of joy.”

NB: Influence on the The Beatles: “Good Day Sunshine” was “really very much a nod to The Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Daydream,’ the same traditional, almost trad-jazz feel. That was our favorite record of theirs. ‘Good Day Sunshine’ was me trying to write something similar to ‘Daydream.” (Paul McCartney)

Lovin’ Spoonful — Daydream

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? Featured in several films, can you remember which?

  1. “Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart?

How the music can free her whenever it starts

And it’s magic if the music is groovy

It makes you feel happy like an old-time movie

I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul

But it’s like trying to tell a stranger ‘bout a rock ’n’ roll

2. “If you believe in magic don’t bother to choose

If it’s jug band music or rhythm and blues

Just go and listen it’ll start with a smile

That won’t wipe off your face no matter how hard you try

Your feet start tapping, and you can’t seem to find

How you got there, so just blow your mind

3. “If you believe in magic come along with me

We’ll dance until morning till there’s just you and me

And maybe if the music is right

I’ll meet you tomorrow sorta late at night
And we’ll go dancing baby, then you’ll see

How the magic’s in the music, and the music’s in me”

NB: The song has been featured in several films — The Parent Trap, American Pie, Date Movie…

The Lovin’ Spoonful “Do You Believe In Magic” on The Ed Sullivan Show

SUMMER IN THE CITY — “their only song to reach #1 on the Hot 100 (August 13–27, 1966)”

  1. “Hot town, summer in the city

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty

Been down, isn’t it a pity?

Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead

Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

2. But at night it’s a different world

Go out and find a girl

Come on, come on and dance all night

Despite the heat it’ll be all right

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity

That the days can’t be like the nights

In the summer, in the city In the summer, in the city

3. Cool town, evening in the city

Dressing so fine and looking so pretty

Cool cat, looking for a kitty

Gonna look in every corner of the city

Till I’m wheezing like a bus stop

Running up the stairs, gonna meet you on the rooftop”

The Lovin Spoonful — Summer In The City Video HQ


1. Two other big hits: “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice” (third link below) and “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” (fourth link)

2. The founders of Lovin Spoonful, John Sebastian and Zal Janovski, had been members of The Mugwumps which also included Cass Eliot and Denny Doherty who went on to co-found the Mamas and the Papas along with John and Michelle Philips.

The Lovin’ Spoonful

The Lovin’ Spoonful “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” 1965

The Lovin’ Spoonful — Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind? (Audio)

Last three years of posts organized thematically:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive


Time to share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to music. Or the coolest thing you learned in your life related to music. Say your favorite song or songs. Or your favorite tips for breathing, posture, or relaxation. Or some insight into the history of music….Or just something random about music… like a joke about drummers. jazz, rock….or share an episode or chapter in your musical autobiography.

This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And perhaps to cement in your memory something important you would otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters to you.