About 1970, P. F. Sloan disappeared and was never heard from again.
Okay, not never, but certainly seldom. It was enough to motivate Jimmy Webb to write a song about him:
I have been seeking P. F. Sloan
But no one knows where he has gone
No one ever heard the song
That boy sent winging
A few hardy folks covered it, most notably Jennifer Warnes in 1972. I thought it was wonderful. Then again, I’d been following Sloan since I’d discovered that he, and not Dean Torrence, sang the falsetto part on Jan and Dean’s “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” who, you may remember, had a brand-new, shiny red, Super Stock Dodge in her rickety old garage. Sloan also wrote, usually in partnership with Steve Barri, and became a member of the Wrecking Crew, the Los Angeles studio pros who played on literally thousands of tracks back then. Although Sloan is probably best known now for “Eve of Destruction,” the terribly, terribly topical tune cut by ex-Christy Minstrel Barry McGuire in 1965, this 1967 Grass Roots single is, I think, more typical of what Sloan and Barri were doing:
Then: nothing. Sloan cut a solo album, from which one flop single was released, and he stayed gone until the turn of the century. In 2015, Sloan’s book What’s Exactly The Matter With Me? — almost the title of the B-side of “Eve of Destruction” — explained some of what had been the matter with him.
And all the while, people continued to seek P. F. Sloan. In 2014, singer Rumer, who had covered that Jimmy Webb song two years earlier, actually found him:
I’d like to think he continued singing right up to the end — which was, alas, just this month. Pancreatic cancer, which spares no one.