John Stewart of Kingston Trio fame passes
January 21, 2008
John Stewart, a member of the Kingston Trio who wrote "Daydream Believer" for the Monkees and recorded more than 40 albums of his own, died Saturday from a stroke surrounded by his family in the same San Diego hospital where he was born. He was 68 years old.
Stewart, who spent most of his adult life living in Marin County, had a Top 10 hit in 1979 with "Gold," featuring guest artists Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac.
He first emerged as a songwriter when the original Kingston Trio recorded a couple of his songs. Stewart had formed a similarly styled folk group, the Cumberland Three. He joined the Kingston Trio in 1961, at the time one of the biggest selling acts in the world, to replace founding member Dave Guard. He quit the group in 1967.
With folk singing partner Buffy Ford, whom he would marry in 1975, Stewart hit the 1968 campaign trail for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, appearing with him at campaign rallies up until the night of his assassination in Los Angeles.
He released his classic "California Bloodlines" album in 1969, the first of seven solo albums to make the charts through 1980. His biggest solo hit was "Gold," from the "Bombs Away Dream Babies" album, which also produced lesser hits "Midnight Wind" and "Lost Her in the Sun." His songs were recorded by a number of artists, including Rosanne Cash, who scored a 1988 country hit with his "Runaway Train."
He continued to record over the years, releasing a number of recent albums on his own label and selling them through the Internet. He was working on a new album at the time of his death, with Buckingham playing guitar on the record. Recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Stewart wrote a song for the new album titled "I Can't Drive Anymore."
Since 2000, Stewart and fellow former Kingston Trio member Nick Reynolds have held the Trio Fantasy Camp, where campers practice their favorite Kingston Trio song and perform the number with the two former group members. Stewart was visiting Reynolds in San Diego when he was stricken last Thursday in his hotel room.
Friends and family came from across the country on Friday to hold a hospital room vigil. Stewart is survived by his wife, Buffy; three children from his first marriage, Mikael of Camarillo (Ventura County), Jeremy of Mission Viejo (Orange County) and Amy of Alisa Viejo (Orange County); a son, Luke, of San Francisco, from his second marriage; and six grandchildren. Services are pending.
Posted by Chris Boros at January 21, 2008 11:20 AM