The Music and Love Songs of England Dan and John Ford Coley

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England Dan and John Ford Coley were an American pop and soft rock duo. They reached the peak of their success when they scored six Top 40 hits in 1976 and 1979: “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight,” “Nights Are Forever Without You,” “It’s Sad To Belong,” “Gone Too Far,” “We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again” and “Love Is The Answer.” They disbanded in 1980, and they went on to their separate careers. England Dan – now known as Dan Seals – turned into a successful country singer and musician. Coley branched out his talents not only in singing and collaborating with other groups but also in acting, writing songs for movies and TV, and co­-producing other acts. He also resumed touring actively in the mid­1990s. Seals died in 2009, aged 61; he was the younger brother of Jim Seals, one-­half of another soft-­rock act Seals and Crofts.

Key Takeaways

  • England Dan and John Ford Coley defined 1970s soft rock with multiple top hits.
  • The duo split in 1980 but continued influencing the music scene individually.
  • Post-duo careers saw Dan Seals transitioning to country music and John Ford Coley expanding into acting and producing.
  • “Love Is The Answer” demonstrated their versatile appeal, as it crossed over into adult contemporary fora.

Hits Overview

Album Release Year Billboard 200 Peak Notable Single Hot 100 Singles Chart Position
Nights Are Forever 1976 #17 “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” #2
Dowdy Ferry Road 1977 “It’s Sad To Belong” #21
Some Things Don’t Come Easy 1978 “We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again” #9
Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jive 1979 “Love Is The Answer” #10

From High School Classmates to Hitmakers

England Dan and John Ford Coley were an American pop and soft rock duo consisting of Danny Wayland Seals (England Dan) and John Edward Colley (John Ford Coley) who were high school classmates in Dallas, Texas. Danny Seals was the younger brother of Jim Seals, one of another soft rock duo Seals and Crofts.

In the late 1960s, they embarked together on a musical foray as members of Southwest F. O. B., a Dallas pop group. They played a mix of rock and R&B and as a result, they became really popular in Dallas. They eventually were signed to soul­-dominated Stax/Volt subsidiary Hip Records. One of their earliest hits was “The Smell of Incense.”

Then the two men, who had begun to write songs together, formed their own acoustic act. Originally as Colley and Wayland, they renamed themselves as England Dan and John Ford Coley.

England Dan and John Ford Coley signed to A&M Records in 1970. Under that label, the duo released three albums: England Dan & John Ford Coley (1971), Fables (1972) and I Hear The Music (1976) without much success. As a result, they were dropped by A&M. But it didn’t dampen the resolve of the duo who still soldiered on.

They were signed to Atlantic Record’s Big Tree subsidiary, and released their fourth LP Nights Are Forever in 1976. This time, the break that they were waiting for finally arrived.

Nights Are Forever was a hit, peaking at #17 on the Billboard 200, eventually going gold. The reason of the album’s success was the single “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight,” written by Parker McGee. It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and topped the adult contemporary singles chart. The album’s second single “Nights Are Forever Without You,” also written by McGee, just made it to the Hot 100’s top 10 singles chart, and peaked at #6 on the adult contemporary singles chart.

By then England Dan and John Ford Coley were becoming popular, whether through singles played on the radio or on their tours. Although England Dan and John Ford Coley never had another hit as big as “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight,” they continued to sell a lot of records and score decent hits. Interestingly, all of their bigger hits were written by composers other than themselves.

Such notable hits include “It’s Sad To Belong” (#21 pop, #1 adult contemporary), “Gone Too Far” (#23 pop, #8 adult contemporary), “We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again” (#9 pop, #1 adult contemporary), and their last Top Ten pop hit “Love Is The Answer.” These hits were written or co­written by Randy Goodman, Jeffrey Comanor, Todd Rundgren, Willie Wilcox and Roger Powell, though “Gone Too Far” was written by Coley.

However, with the new genres such as disco and punk rock, the duo’s melodic pop rock was beginning to fall out of favor, and the duo split in 1980.

England Dan reverted to his real name Dan Seals, and re-­invented himself as a successful country musician in the 1980s, scoring several Top 10 country smashes, and these include eleven chart­-toppers, seven of them consecutive ones ­­ “Bop” (also a #42 pop item), “I Will Be There,” “Three Time Loser,” “You Still Love Me,” “Addicted,” “One Friend” and “Big Wheels In The Moonlight.” He died in 2009 of a type of lymphoma.

Coley made another career as an actor, appearing in several films and television productions. He has also served as a record producer and has done some active touring.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was England Dan and John Ford Coley’s most successful single?

England Dan and John Ford Coley’s most successful single was “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight.” The song was a significant hit in 1976, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and securing a spot in the zeitgeist of 1970s soft rock.

What led to the breakup of England Dan and John Ford Coley?

They decided to split in the early 1980s. England Dan, also known as Dan Seals, wanted to pursue a solo career, especially in the country music scene, which led to the duo’s amicable separation.

Who were the primary songwriters for England Dan and John Ford Coley’s hits?

Primarily, England Dan and John Ford Coley’s hits were penned by the duo alongside other songwriters. Notably, “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” was written by Parkes Stewart. Additional song credits go to multiple songwriters such as Randy Goodman, Jeffrey Comanor, and Willie Wilcox for their contribution to the duo’s biggest hits.

What are some of the notable love songs by England Dan and John Ford Coley?

  • “Love is the Answer”
  • “Nights Are Forever Without You”
  • “We’ll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again”

These tracks are representative of their contribution to the romantic ballad genre.

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