Dan Seals was an American musician known for giving some great hits in the genres of both pop and country music. Many people believe that he started his career as a pop singer and later shifted from the genre to country music. However, what many do not know is that country music was his first passion. Later on, he got into rock music as well. When he and his future collaborator John Coley came together, they chose to specialize in soft pop music. Dan went back to country music after he separated from John Coley. It is true that Dan will always be appreciated for the great pop numbers that he and Coley sang, but he will also be remembered for his country songs like ‘Meet Me in Montana,’ ‘Bop,’ and ‘Big Wheels in the Moonlight.’ Dan was loved for his soft, soulful voice. He was not the one to sing just any song; particular about the lyrics, he ensured every word in his songs was meaningful and soul-stirring. That is why his music was loved not only in America, but also in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Childhood & Early Life
Dan Seals was born as Danny Wayland Seals on February 8, 1948, in McCamey, Texas. His father, E.W. Waylon Seals, worked for Shell Oil as a pipe fitter and repairman. He was also musically inclined and used to play the guitar and bass for Ernest Tubb and Bob Wills, who were the pioneers of country music.
Dan had two brothers, Jim and Eddie. Jim Seals was part of the successful soft rock duo called Seals & Crofts.
Blessed with such a musically inclined family, it is no wonder that Dan mastered playing upright bass and became a member of the family band when he was a young boy.
His parents divorced when he was quite young and he went on to live with his mother. They moved around quite a bit before settling in Dallas.
It was while studying at W.W. Samuell High School in the early 1960s that Dan met John Ford Coley, who would one day become a classical trained pianist. Together, they became members of several local bands including Theze Few and Playboys Five.
The boys eventually joined Southwest F.O.B band, in which Seals played the sax and also sang, while Coley was on the keyboards. Their pop number ‘Smell of Incense’ in 1968 was a minor hit.
As their friendship blossomed, they began to write their own songs. Pretty soon, they realized that they were not happy with where the band was going, so they separated and formed their own band in 1969. They preferred a softer sound.
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Dan Seals and John Ford Coley came together to form a soft rock duo called England Dan & John Ford Coley in 1970. Since his brother, Jim Seals, was already famous, Dan didn’t want to use the surname Seals. He settled for the name “England Dan,” because during his childhood he was a fan of the Beatles and would love speaking with an English accent.
The duo moved to Los Angeles and signed a recording contract with A&M in 1971. They eventually signed with Atlantic records. From 1976 to 1980, they released seven albums, from which several pop singles featured in the top ten charts. Their single ‘I’d Really Love to See You Tonight’ climbed to No. 2 on Billboard Hot 100 Hits.
In 1980, Dan Seals parted ways with Coley and went solo. He signed up with Atlantic and the same year his solo debut album, ‘Stones’ was released. He was still using his earlier name, England Dan, at this time. His next album, ‘Harbinger’ did not fare so well.
He then returned to country music and signed up with Liberty/Capitol. From 1984 to the early 1990s, Dan was a force to be reckoned with in country music. During this time frame, he released 16 albums, from which numerous singles went on to reach the top ten on country charts.
In 1984, his singles ‘God Must Be a Cowboy’ and ‘You Bring Out the Wild Side of Me’ made it to the top ten in country music charts. The next year, two of his songs, ‘My Baby’s Got Good Timing’ and ‘My Old Yellow Car’ were featured in the top ten list.
Dan Seals truly arrived on the country music scene when his duet with Marie Osmond titled ‘Meet Me in Montana’ became a No. 1 hit in 1985. In 1986, the singles ‘Bop’ and ‘Everything That Glitters is Not Gold’ reached the top spots.
In 1987, music lovers were enthralled by his ‘I Will Be There,’ ‘You Still Move Me,’ and ‘Three Time Loser,’ all three of which were No.1 hits. The year 1988 saw the singles ‘Addicted’ and ‘One Friend’ reach the top.
His single ‘Big Wheels in the Moonlight’ peaked at the No. 1 position in 1989. In 1990, ‘Good Times’ and ‘Love on Arrival’ became No.1 hits.
By the early 1990s, the country music scene had begun to change and his music did not find favor with the new audiences. In the last half of the 1990s, he was just a touring artist. ‘Make It Home’ in 2002 was his last album.
In the early 2000s, Dan embarked on several tours with his brother Jim and called themselves Seals & Seals.
Dan Seals’ duet, ‘Meet Me in Montana,’ with Marie Osmond is considered one of his major works. This duet established him as a popular country singer and earned him the Country Music Association Duet of the Year Award in 1986. The song is considered a country classic.
Family & Personal Life
Dan Seals’ first marriage was with Carol Bradbury, his childhood sweetheart. They had two sons together. His second wife was Andrea Gilbert, and he had a son and a daughter from this marriage.
He died on March 25, 2009, after battling with cancer for two years.
Dan Seals was a left-handed guitarist.