Popular Articles

Toronto’s Zal Yanovsky a key part of the 60’s sound

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

A high school dropout at age 16, Zal Yanovsky played the Toronto coffee house scene, then moved to Israel where he worked on a kibbutz and performed on Tel Aviv streets. Five years later he had a #1 hit with the Lovin’ Spoonful – Do You Believe In Magic. (Photo: Supplied)

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

(David Eisenstadt has written a new book Excerpt From ‘UNDER THE RADAR – 30 Notable Canadian Jewish Musicians’. The book is available on Amazon.ca in paperback and e-book versions. A frequent contributor to TheJ.ca, he has provided the following excerpt.)

Zal Yanovsky:  Guitarist, Co-Founder – Lovin’ Spoonful, Chef, Restaurateur, Cookbook Author (December 19, 1944 – December 13, 2002)

About two years ago and just ahead of the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, three of the four Lovin’ Spoonful musicians reunited on a Glendale, California stage for the first time in about 20 years. The original foursome last appeared together at their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2000.

On February 29, 2020 at an all-star benefit concert, the band and their fans missed their Jewish Canadian co-founder, Zalman (Zal) Yanovsky, who died December 13 2002 – 18 years earlier.

This 1960s group got lots of airplay and regularly topped the charts with memorable tunes like Daydream, Do You Believe In Magic, Nashville Cats, Rain On The Roof, Summer In The City and You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice.

Zal Yanovsky, a rock music icon, and fashion trendsetter was the group’s conspicuous showman. Zal was a self-taught guitarist and folk singer. He wore cowboy hats and fringed jackets, emulated by Sonny Bono, David Crosby and Johnny Rivers.

He was born on December 19, 1944 in Toronto, Canada, the son of political cartoonist Avrom Yanovsky. A high school dropout at age 16, he played the Toronto coffee house scene, then moved to Israel where he worked on a kibbutz and then performed on Tel Aviv streets.

Previous
Next

Returning to Toronto, he connected with Denny Doherty who asked him to join his folk-blues combo, the Halifax Three. Doherty, later part of the Mamas & the Papas, invited Yanovsky to play with that group and the future Mama Cass Elliott in the Mugwumps, as reported in the Rolling Stone.

Yanovsky moved to Greenwich Village and teamed with John Sebastian, another talented guitarist, who told Rolling Stone, “He could play like Elmore James, he could play like Floyd Cramer, he could play like Chuck Berry. He could play like all these people, yet he still had his overpowering personality. Out of this we could, I thought, craft something with real flexibility.”

Then came bassist Steve Boone and drummer Joe Butler and the Lovin’ Spoonful with Sebastian as lead singer was launched.

So how did they choose their name?

According to rocknrollmusichistory.com, “the name came from a line in a Mississippi John Hurt song ‘Coffee Blues’. In the song, Hurt paid tribute to Maxwell House coffee which is so good he only needs one spoonful which he refers to as ‘my lovin’ spoonful.’”

Do You Believe In Magic, their first single in 1965, became a Top 10 hit. As a string of catchy tunes followed, the Spoonful challenged the Beatles and other British Invasion groups’ chart dominance.

But trouble was brewing in the band when Boone and Yanovsky were booked on pot charges in San Francisco in 1966, then escaped prosecution by turning in their dealer. In mid-1967, Yanovsky was deported back to Canada, was ostracized and quit the foursome.

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

He played guitar with Kris Kristofferson and in 1969 co-produced an album Happy Sad with his Lovin’ Spoonful replacement Jerry Yester. He recorded a solo album, Alive And Well In Argentina in 1971.

Fed up with music business politics in the early 70s, he took a shot at TV production, but ultimately found new career success as a chef and restaurateur. In 1979 he renovated an 1880s livery stable naming it Chez Piggy and opened a second resto, Pan Chancho Bakery in 1994, both Kingston, Ontario, Canada hot spots. Yanovsky’s business partner was his second wife Rose Richardson. He also wrote the Chez Piggy Cookbook in 1998 which became a favorite for music and culinary fans.

Just six days before his 58th birthday, Yanovsky died of a heart attack. His daughter Zoe Yanovsky, whose mother is actress Jackie Burroughs (1939-2010), has owned and operated both restaurants since March 2005.

In memoriam, John Sebastian told Rolling Stone that, “Spoonful reunions without Zal Yanovsky are more like get-togethers. (Whenever we do them), it will be a blast, but a reunion would be a misnomer.”

David Eisenstadt is Founding Partner of tcgpr.com, the Canadian Partner of IPREX Global Communication.  He is a graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and the University of Calgary

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Previous
Next

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved