P.F. Sloan Songwriter Gone At 70

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Submitted by Don Graham

Songwriter P.F. Sloan has passed away in his Los Angeles home after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 70 years old. Sloan was never a household name but his songs were played in households around the world. “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers and the anthem that propelled Barry MacGuire to eternal fame “ Eve Of Destruction”. It is still relevant especially today with the insanity in Paris. Sloan is also responsible for hits by The Turtles "You Baby" and "Let Me Be", Herman’s Hermits "A Must to Avoid" and "Hold On!" and “Take Me For What I'm Worth" by The Searchers. With musical partner Steve Barri he also had hits like “Where Were You When I Needed You?” by The Grassroots.

It has been said that because of the line "You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'", "Eve of Destruction" was instrumental in the changing of the twenty-sixth amendment to the United States Constitution, changing the voting age from 21 to 18 in 1971.

Sloan was also a session guitarist, working with such well-known backing musicians as drummer Hal Blaine, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, bassist Joe Osborn, and bassist/keyboardist Larry Knechtel, among others. While working on a song with Barry McGuire, Sloan created and played a guitar intro for a new song by John Phillip scalled "California Dreamin'". The track was used for the hit version by Phillips' group the Mamas & the Papas. Sloan played the lead guitar tracks on most of the songs he wrote, including the famous riff in "Secret Agent Man."

Sloan dropped out of public sight in the late 1960s battling numerous business and legal problems. Sloan always claimed that Dunhill made threats that forced him to sign away the rights to his valuable compositions. Sloan has also said that the other main reason for his disappearance from the music world was having to spend most of the last three decades battling various mental and physical illnesses.He didn’t record or perform again until the 1980s, although he did release an unsuccessful album, Raised on Records in 1972 and after that released a single CD in the early 1990s. Finally, in 2005 Sloan made some recordings with producer Jon Tiven in Nashville, Tennessee. The album, Sailover, was released in August 2006 on the Hightone label.

Sloan was born Phillip Gary Schlein in New York. The family moved to California and his father changed the family name to Sloan. Phillip was nicknamed Flip and decided on P.F. Sloan as his stage name.

Rest In Peace P.F. Sloan – your songs live on.