John Stewart
Biography Written by Lesley A. Thode

John Stewart recounted in 1979, "I'd learned to play electric guitar listening to Lindsey Buckingham records and found out that Lindsey learnt to play acoustic guitar listening to Kingston Trio records, so we'd been
John Stewart from the back cover of Air Dream Believer
John Stewart
talking to each other for eight years before we even met."† That psychic and instinctual musical relationship, and the close friendship with Buckingham that blossomed as a result, led Stewart to the commercial peak of his long recording career and gave Buckingham the opportunity to work with a musical hero who influenced his unique finger-picking style.

John Stewart, born in San Diego on September 3, 1939, first emerged on the musical scene in 1958 as the frontman of a folk trio called The Cumberland Three.† During his time in the folk group, he garnered a reputation as a talented songwriter, contributing a number of songs to the Kingston Trio musical catalog.† In September of 1961 when Dave Guard decided to leave the Kingston Trio, John was chosen as Dave's replacement and he made his official Trio debut on vocals and banjo on "Close Up." During John's tenure in the Trio, the group released 16 albums that included hits like, "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" and "The Reverend Mr. Black."† John remained a member of the Kingston Trio until June 1967 when he decided to go solo. It was during his first year as a solo artist that John penned one of his most well-know hits, "Daydream Believer," recorded by the Monkees in 1968.

As a solo artist, John's vivid story-telling skills earned him a small but loyal fan following in the States and abroad, which he maintains today as he continues to write, record and tour America and Europe regularly.† He boasts 40 some solo recordings to his name.† His booming voice, and songs dedicated to documenting American culture and many of the most important episodes in American history became his trademarks. Of Stewart, the Phoenix New Times wrote, "... His work over the last 25 years constitutes a stunning body of lonesome reflections on the promise and betrayal of the American experience... His is a music of longing...a hushed hope that what is best in this country will somehow emerge...."

His long solo recording career produced such critically acclaimed albums as 1969's "California Bloodlines" which Rolling Stone proclaimed as one of the best 200 albums of all time, and the 1974 live, double-album, "The Phoenix Concerts - Live."†

The commercial highlight of his career to date came with 1979's top-10 album Bombs Away Dream Babies on which John established his musical
From left to right: Nick Reynolds, John Stewart, actor Gary Busey, and Lindsey Buckingham, Published in The Kingston Trio On Record (1986)
Nick Reynolds, John Stewart, actor
Gary Busey, & Lindsey Buckingham
Photo © Henry Diltz (www.henrysgallery.com)
relationship with Lindsey Buckingham.† John sought out Lindsey's involvement on the record after admiring his guitar and production work on the Fleetwood Mac albums, and on Walter Egan's album Not Shy. Lindsey played guitar, sang backing vocals on several tracks on John's 1979 album, and helped produce it, while Stevie Nicks also contributed backing vocals on two songs. That album spawned the hit singles "Midnight Wind," "Lost Her In The Sun," and the top-5 hit, "Gold."† John credited Buckingham's studio prowess with much of album's sound and direction and regards Lindsey as "the only genius I've ever worked with in the studio . . . . A few people I know of really know how to make that mystical 'thing' happen with a record. Brian Wilson is one; Lindsey Buckingham is the master at it."

From that musical
Kingston Trio Reunion concert; Magic Mountain, November 7, 1981. From left, Lindsey Buckingham, Dave Guard, Nick Reynolds, Bob Shane, John Stewart, and Mick Fleetwood, Published in The Kingston Trio On Record (1986)
Kingston Trio Reunion concert
Magic Mountain, November 7, 1981
Photo © Henry Diltz (www.henrysgallery.com)
foundation, Lindsey and John developed a long-standing, mutual respect and friendship. Appearing in a televised Kingston Trio reunion special in November of 1981, John introduced Lindsey as a special guest performer by saying, "He helped me with that album (Bombs Away Dream Babies) more than I can say.† I love him like a brother."† That friendship and respect also inspired them write songs in tribute to one another.†

A track from John's 1979 hit album, "Coming Out of Nowhere," was written as a tribute to Lindsey's song "That's Enough For Me" from the Tusk album. John explains, "It's the only time I've written a song about another song.† Lindsey accomplished in songwriting and in record making what I didn't think anyone was going to be able to do again. He came up with a new form. He came up with a combination of ingredients that made
John Stewart, Lindsey Buckingham, and Nick Reynolds, Published in The Kingston Trio On Record (1986)
John Stewart, Lindsey Buckingham,
& Nick Reynolds
Photo © Henry Diltz (www.henrysgallery.com)
something entirely new . . . . I felt it would be neat to write a song telling the folks that the 80s are upon us. It has happened."

After Stewart was unceremoniously dropped from his recording label RSO, in 1980 when his follow-up to Bombs Away failed to yield the same success as its predecessor, Lindsey wrote and recorded "Johnny Stew" for his 1981 solo debut album Law and Order, in support of his friend and in tribute to John's musical vision.† Stewart returned the tribute when he wrote and recorded "Liddy Buck" in support of his friend at a time when Lindsey was struggling with his place and artistic direction within Fleetwood Mac. Two slightly different versions of "Liddy Buck" can be found on John's 1998 CD release, "Teresa and the Lost Songs," and his 2000 CD release of, "Wires From The Bunker," a collection of previously unreleased material from the mid-80s. The latter also features other contributions from Buckingham. Additional collaborations between Stewart and Buckingham can be found on John's albums - Blondes (1982), Revenge of the Budgie (1983), and The Last Campaign (1985).†

John established himself as a vocal fan of Fleetwood Mac in the press. He has described Stevie Nicks as "one of the most underrated songwriters in America," and in 1981 he
John Stewart, from The Homecoming Records John Stewart Newsletter, 1998
John Steart
toured as the opening act for a few dates of her solo tour in support of her debut solo album, Bella Donna. Though John remembered in a 1993 interview that he and Nicks didn't always see eye to eye on things, he remained gracious and thankful for her contributions and words of encouragement on his 1979 album. Nicks included John's song, "Gold," on her 1998 box set release, Enchanted.

Stewart owns his own record label, homecoming records, based in Malibu. He continues to record and tour in the States and the British Isles, often with his talented wife Buffy. His loyal fans remain dedicated, and in the summer of 2000, John and Nick Reynolds, also formerly of the Kingston Trio, participated in a Kingston Trio fantasy camp where fans were given the opportunity to meet John and Nick and play Kingston Trio songs with them.


Lyrics to 'Liddy Buck' (J. Stewart)

You gotta keep running Ďcuz you canít go back
Everybodyís looking for a home
You know you had it all but it had to fall
When you said that youíd go it alone,
Youíd go it alone

Neither love nor money gonna keep you away
You canít stop the rolling of a stone
Take that leave that runniní on the same track
Itís hard you† know
When you go it alone
A whole lotta luck to you, Liddy Buck
A whole lotta luck to you, Liddy Buck
When you go it alone

And itís been too long
Itís gone too far
Go tear down the sky for a star

A whole lotta luck to you, Liddy Buck
A whole lotta luck to you, Liddy Buck
A whole lotta luck to you, Liddy Buck

You gotta keep running Ďcuz you canít go back
Everybodyís looking for a home
You know you had it all but it had to fall
When you said that youíd go it alone,
Youíd go it alone

And itís been too long
Itís gone too far
Go tear down the sky for a star.
A whole lotta luck to you, Liddy Buck
A whole lotta luck to you, Liddy Buck

Go tear down the sky
Tear down the sky
Go tear down the sky for a star
A whole lotta luck to you, Liddy Buck
A whole lotta luck to you, Liddy Buck


Privacy Statement
Copyright © 1995-2002, Martin and Lisa Adelson, All Rights Reserved.