P.F. Sloan has died. The singer/songwriter had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Sloan is best known for the hit, Eve of Destruction, written for Barry McGuire as well as A Must To Avoid by Herman’s Hermits and a string of songs by The Turtles. In fact, Sloan compositions were recorded by several big-name acts in the 1960s – The Searchers, Jan & Dean, Johnny Rivers, The Grass Roots, The Mamas & The Papas.
Written off by some as a poor-man’s Bob Dylan, a cash-in on protest songs, Sloan recorded some of his own material too, under a handful of pseudonyms. The charming From A Distance shows he had chops as singer and performer too.
But it was as a writer that Sloan excelled – capable of making surf-rock and garage-pop, of adapting to meet the folk-rock boom in the mid-60s, he had trained – learning on the job – as a staff songwriter from the age of 16. Born Philip Gary Schlein it was as P.F. Sloan that he made a name so strong that Jimmy Webb wrote a song called P.F. Sloan because Webb had been inspired to hit out on his own as singer, not just songwriter, following Sloan’s lead.
After being driven from the business – and seemingly in hiding for years, P.F. Sloan returned with Sailover in 2006. A really sweet record, it included old and new songs – even his own version of that lifelong anthem, Eve of Destruction. Having signed over publishing rights and forced through various legal battles and struggled with mental and physical illnesses Sloan was reclusive for most of the last 30 years, although last year his story was told when he released his memoir.
R.I.P. P.F. Sloan