Bands: Lovin' Spoonful, The Mugwamps.
Zal Yanovsky died aged fifty-seven on 13th December 2002 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada from a heart attack. His death came just six days short of his fifty-eigth birthday. A funeral service was held for him in Kingston, Ontario on 16th December 2002.
Zal Yanovsky was born Zalman Yanovsky on 19th December 1944 in
Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Zal started his musical career playing folk music coffee houses in Toronto. Zal lived on a kibbutz in Israel for a short time before returning to Canada. Zal teamed with fellow Canadian Denny Doherty in the Halifax Three. The two joined Cass Elliot in the Mugwumps. It was at this time that Zal met John Sebastian and they formed the Lovin' Spoonful with Steve Boone and Joe Butler.
In 1966, Zal was arrested in the United States on a marijuana-related charge. In exchange for not being deported, Zal disclosed his dealer's name, and as a consequence was ostracized by the music community. Returning to his native Canada, he recorded a solo album Alive and Well in Argentina. Buddah Records released the album in the U.S. in 1968, along with a single that did not appear on the album, "As Long As You're Here". The single (on which the B-side was the same track without vocals and recorded backwards) just missed the Billboard Hot 100, but fared a little better in Cashbox, peaking at number 73, and reaching number 57 in the Canadian RPM Magazine charts. Kama Sutra Records reissued the album in 1971 with a completely different cover and the inclusion of "As Long As You're Here".
While a member of Kris Kristofferson's backing band at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, he had a brief reunion with John Sebastian who had been apparently unaware of Zal's presence, and was made aware by a message passed through the crowd, written on a toilet roll.
Zal also appeared in the Off-Broadway show "National Lampoon's Lemmings" at New York's Village Gate. Although not an original cast member, he contributed a musical number called "Nirvana Banana".
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