by Paul Cashmere, Noise11 and VVN Music
Songwriter P.F. Sloan has died in his Los Angeles home at age 70. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer for a number of months.
Sloan was born Phil Gary Schlein in New York City on September 18, 1945. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1957 and changed the family name to Sloan. Phil Sloan recorded his first single, Flip, in 1959 at age 14. In 1963 (still a teenager) he wrote the theme for the hit music TV show T.A.M.I. (Teen Age Music International show). A year later, Jan Berry of Jan and Dean used Phil for the falsetto on The Little Old Lady From Pasadena. He also played the guitar intro on the Mamas and the Papas classic California Dreaming.
Sloan became P.F. Sloan when he signed to music publisher Trousdale Music and new label Dunhill in 1965. The F. stood for Flip, his nickname. He then wrote the classics Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire and Secret Agent Man for Johnny Rivers.
Sloan’s songs were recorded by The Turtles, Herman’s Hermits, The Grass Roots, Jan and Dean, The Searchers and the Mamas and the Papas. He also recorded his own albums and had a minor US hit with Sins of a Family (1965 / #87), but it is as a songwriter he is best remembered.
Sloan had an Australian connection with songwriter and filmmaker Frank Howson. Frank posted on Facebook “I think the greatest thing you can say about someone is that by knowing them I became a better person. Such was Phil’s spirit. I was blessed that he appears in my film “Remembering Nigel” and was such a supporter of its message that he chose to write the incidental music score for it. All that remains of him now are the songs and music of his life. And the glorious memories he has given all those who opened their hearts to him”.
The biggest songs written by P.F. Sloan:
- Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire (1965 / #1 U.S. / #3 U.K.)
- I Found a Girl - Jan and Dean (1965 / #30 U.S.)
- Let Me Be - The Turtles (1965 / #29 U.S.)
- A Must to Avoid - Herman's Hermits (1965 / #8 U.S. / #6 U.K.)
- You Baby - The Turtles (1966 / #20 U.S.)
- Secret Agent Man - Johnny Rivers (1966 / #3 U.S.)
- Where Were You When I Needed You - Grass Roots (1966 / #28 U.S.)
- Another Day, Another Heartache - 5th Dimension (1967 / #45 U.S.)
- Things I Should Have Said - Grass Roots (1967 / #23 U.S.)