Born Dan Wayland Seals, February 8, 1948, in McCarney, TX. Addresses: Record company-- Warner Bros., 1815 Division St., Nashville, TN 37212.

Singer and songwriter Dan Seals first came to fame as part of the pop duo England Dan and John Ford Coley. During the 1970s he and Coley released such pop and easy-listening hits as "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight," "Never Have to Say Goodbye Again," and "Love Is the Answer." After Seals broke with Coley, he went on to become one of the hottest country performers of the late 1980s and early 1990s with smashes like "Bop" and "Love on Arrival." As Bob Millard explained in Country Music, "Dan Seals has a lot of soul when he gets wound up around a really top notch song. He can sell a story and a feeling."

Despite his adoption of the stage name England Dan, Seals was actually born in McCarney, Texas. His was a musical family--older brother Jim is famed for his work in the folk duo Seals and Crofts, while another brother, Eddie, tours the Nashville nightclub circuit with his duo, Eddie & Joe. In addition, cousin Johnny Duncan is a country singer and another relative, Chuck Seals, wrote the tune "Crazy Arms." Dan Seals's first musical love was the country genre, and while he was still a young child he played in the family country band. Seals's father warned his children about the pitfalls of a performing career, though. "He'd sit down and say, 'Alcohol and dope and fast women killed every country singer there ever was,'" Seals remembered in the Tennessean. By the time he was a teenager, however, he had come to prefer rock and roll, and it was when they were members of a high school rock band that Seals first became acquainted with his future partner, John Ford Coley. Despite often practicing with one another, it took some time for the two of them to become good friends and begin writing songs together.

Meanwhile, the band was changing its focus from rock to soul, then acid rock. Not pleased with the group's direction, Seals and Coley left the band in 1969 to play milder music, especially folk. Unable to use Seals's last name because of his famous brother, they initially used his middle name, calling themselves Wayland and Coley. They finally settled on the England Dan tag, though, even before garnering some popularity in that country where they were the opening act for then-rising superstar Elton John. Encouraged by their success, Seals and Coley began looking for a recording contract, eventually signing with A&M Records in 1971.

England Dan and John Ford Coley made two albums for A&M-- Fables and I Hear the Music. Not only did these efforts meet with less success than the duo had hoped, but the two men were dissatisfied with their lives in general. Accordingly, they decided to concentrate more on their religion, the Baha'i faith, which seeks to promote the belief that all people are part of a spiritual whole. After a year and a half without recording, and performing only in small clubs or Baha'i Fireside shows, Seals and Coley were sufficiently refreshed to devote more attention to their professional careers. This time they signed with Atlantic Records, accepting songs written by other artists, and the hits began to come. Their first Atlantic album--released on the Atlantic subsidiary label Big Tree--was Nights are Forever Without You. It scored not only with the title track but with the duo's first gold single, "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight."

Seals's next effort with Coley, the 1977 Dowdy Ferry Road, garnered them a hit on the pop charts, in addition to the Number One spot on Billboard' s easy-listening chart with "It's Sad to Belong." Ironically, though England Dan and John Ford Coley became known and loved for the mellow sound of their chart-climbers, these songs were anomalies of a sort--much of the pair's other work was more rock-oriented, and their concert performances surprised their fans with vigorous, upbeat music. Seals and Coley made three more albums together--including a movie soundtrack called Just Tell Me You Love Me --scoring two more big hits with "Never Have to Say Goodbye Again" and the uplifting "Love Is the Answer," which was penned by singer and songwriter Todd Rundgren. In 1980, however, the duo decided to split up.

At that point Seals returned his attention to the country music he had loved so much as a child, hoping to establish a solo career. By 1985 he had hit the Top Ten on the country music charts three times, going as high as Number Two with "My Baby's Got Good Timin'." That year Seals released Won't Be Blue Anymore with which a People review stated he had "arrived at the ... heart of country music," although he took "a far more circuitous route than a lot of Nashville mainstays." The album also included the immensely popular "Meet Me in Montana," a duet with country singer Marie Osmond.

The following year saw the release of On the Front Line. Alanna Nash of Stereo Review called the songs on this album "exceptionally well-crafted," further urging listeners to "give him a try." Apparently they took this advice to heart. "Bop," a song from Seals's next album, The Best, fared extremely well on the country charts--it was the Country Music Association Single of the Year--and received some crossover play as well.

As popular as his music is, Seals himself is thought of just as highly. Perhaps that's why his fans are so loyal. Tennessean correspondent Robert K. Oermann likened Seals's appeal to a "warm masculinity, quiet dignity or deep sensitivity. Whatever it is, it has kept country lovers coming back to him year after year, regardless of shifting fads and fashions." Much of Seals's character can be traced to his faith. Seeking to promote the international unity of all people, he participated in the 50th anniversary Voice of America show in Washington, D.C., in 1992. Later the same year Seals traveled to the remote town of Alma-Ata, located in what was once the Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, in order to attend the Voice of Asia Festival. Brotherhood was also the theme of the single "We Are One" on his Walking the Wire album, released in 1992. Seals was quoted as saying in the Tennessean, "We're all members of the human race.... If we were unified with each other we could knock out the problems in the world a lot quicker."

by Elizabeth Wenning

Dan Seals's Career

As England Dan, member of duo England Dan and John Ford Coley, 1969-80; signed with A&M Records, 1971; solo performer, c. 1983--.

Dan Seals's Awards

Country Music Association duet of the year (with Marie Osmond), 1985, for "Meet Me in Montana," and single of the year, 1988, for "Bop."

Famous Works

Further Reading

Books

Visitor Comments Add a comment…

about 7 years ago

I am glad to have discovered his music, around 1 y ago!!! My mother made me listenening to his songs for 1st time. And i was seeking online the date an eventual show here in France, when i saw " RIP" on a youtube comment. I felt sick during a couple weeks...because i was touched by his voice and sincerity in textes, became also sick during a couple weeks!!! You were and continue to be, for your fans, a great & real artist. RIP my friend!!!

over 7 years ago

Just found out today that Dan Seals passed away! I am so sad, he was such a humble guy with an incredible voice and sound. I wish all of you well in his family and circle of friends. He was truly a great artist. I literally grew up listening to England Dan and John Ford Coley. I will miss him dearly, but keep him in my heart with his songs. God bless you all.

over 7 years ago

Debra! Its Kaitlin Seals! I need your phone number! My email is kat.seals@yahoo.com. God i hope you see this. I cant believe that i just seen you on here. Well i hope that i hear from you.. that by chance you will come back to this site! Kaitlin L. Seals 2-08-1985

almost 8 years ago

Dan was born in 1950 not 1948 he was 10 years older then I am. Debra L. Seals

almost 8 years ago

To a distant cousin that I never had the priveledge to meet. There aren't too many of us Seals left we should all get together somehow. I am the Grandaughter of the late Wayne Lewis Seals, and the daughter of the late Jackie Wayne Seals, and the niece of Gary l. Seals of AZ. Would love to meet Jimmy someday before it's to late like it was for me and Dan(Butch) With all the Seals Love Debra L. Seals 01-28-1960

over 8 years ago

I GOT TO MEET Dan Long ago in 1991 when he did a concert in my home town of Cabool Missouri my mother worked for the local radio station KOZX Dan was really nice he stood at the door for all his fans to pass by and say hi I rember him as a great guy he took time for all the staff and their family I love his music and am sad to hear of his death may you rip Dan Joshua from Cabool Missouri

over 8 years ago

I met Dan briefly when he sang "The Garden of Ridvan" at the 1992 Baha'i World Congress at the Jacob Javvits Center in New York City. I was in the backup choir. Being from Owensboro, Kentucky, just a couple hours north of Hendersonville TN, I grew up knowing a lot of these quiet country guys. My hope is one day folks like Dan, a regular humble country guy with an unexpected religious and social ethic, will begin to multiply throughout the South as sign of this country's spiritual transformation. It is then he will be seen to be the amazing pioneer that he is.

over 8 years ago

I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED DAN'S MUSIC. DON'T KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN IT BUT HIS LYRICS WERE SPECIAL. FOR SOME REASON I WAS PLAYING A BUNCH OF HIS SONGS WITH MY GUITAR THE NIGHT HE DIED. I FOUND OUT THE NEXT MORNING. HE WILL BE MISSED.

over 8 years ago

The sky of the musical industry has truly lost another bright star. God Speed, and thank you for the music.

over 8 years ago

I had the privledge of meeting Mr. Seals recently and he was truly a happy peaceful soul!

over 8 years ago

His voice will surely be missed. His duet (Meet Me In Montana) w/ Marie Osmond was outstanding on so many levels. Especially how he made you feel like he meant every single word in the song. He was great.

over 8 years ago

He was such a wonderful soul and an inspiration. May he rest in peace. He will truly be missed by so many who loved him.

over 8 years ago

I just learned of Dan's death and wanted to add my admiration and heart felt thanks to him for sharing his music with all of us. His humility was refreshing, his courage an example and his beliefs uplifting. He will be missed!

over 8 years ago

well. my name is kelli hollingsworth. and dan seals is somewhere down the line related to me. i would relaly like to meat him. because i have wanted to be a singer my whole life. and i would just really like that chance.

about 9 years ago

About eleven years ago, my wife and I saw Dan and his band do a performance in Farmington, NM on behalf of ranchers whom some were attempting to prevent being able to lease certain government lands too pasture cattle. Appreciated his succinct statement of said cause, but, wow! what a show!!! Don't know when I have ever enjoyed a concert as much. Would have paid a premium for tickets but there was no charge for this particular event. My wife still has a scrap of paper on which she got his autograph. Was also impressed by an apparant lack of egotism. He just seems like a hell of a nice guy. Good luck, Dan.