Anniversary of Daydream Believer Songwriter John Stewart's Death

(Gibson) On this day in 2008, Singer-songwriter John Stewart, who wrote the Monkees hit "Daydream Believer," died at age 68 after he suffered a massive stroke or brain aneurysm in San Diego. Stewart was a member of folk group The Kingston Trio and went on to record more than 45 solo albums with his biggest solo success being a U.S. top five single, "Gold," in 1979.

Gibson looks back: He started out in small folk groups before making his mark in the seminal '60s folk combo the Kingston Trio, whose style influenced a generation of folkies from Bob Dylan to Peter, Paul and Mary. After that group fizzled out, he talked about starting a duo with John Denver but that pairing never went beyond the talking stages. When "Daydream Believer" hit for The Monkees, Stewart no longer had to be concerned about money and could devote himself to making the kind of singer-songwriter albums he'd always aspired to.

His debut solo album, California Bloodlines, remains a cult classic. Recorded in Nashville while Dylan was cutting his pioneering Nashville Skyline album, California Bloodlines was a brilliant first album and an inspiration to the burgeoning singer-songwriter boom that was about to engulf rock and roll. Rolling Stone placed Stewart's masterpiece in their list of the top 200 albums of all time.

But Stewart's throaty, literate, whimsical style, while influential among his peers, failed to translate into sales. The industry truly rated him indeed three major labels, Capitol, Warner Brothers and RCA, at different times tried to break him to the mainstream market but for some mystifying reason, Stewart spent the early '70s in obscurity. more on this story

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