Phil Seymour

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Phil Seymour
Phil Seymour in 1982
Background information
Birth name Philip Warren Seymour
Born (1952-05-15)May 15, 1952
Origin Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Died August 17, 1993(1993-08-17) (aged 41)
Genres Rock
Power pop
New wave
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, drummer, guitarist, bassist, producer
Instruments drums, Bass Guitar, Guitar, vocals
Years active 1974–1993
Labels Shelter Records
Boardwalk Records
Associated acts Dwight Twilley
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Phil Seymour (May 15, 1952 - August 17, 1993) was an American power pop drummer, singer, guitarist and songwriter, best known for the singles "I'm On Fire" (with the Dwight Twilley Band) and "Precious to Me". He had a major role in the seminal pop group Dwight Twilley Band. His solo work is also highly revered among fans of the power pop musical genre.[1]

Dwight Twilley Band[edit]

Main article: Dwight Twilley

In 1967, Seymour met fellow Tulsa musician Dwight Twilley at a theater where they had both gone to see a screening of The Beatles' film, A Hard Day's Night. They soon began writing and recording together, going by the name Oister. In 1974, Seymour and Twilley signed with Shelter Records and became famous as The Dwight Twilley Band.

"I'll never forget the cold November night at the Church Studios in Tulsa. Phil and I had just signed our first recording contract. We had been instructed by the record company to get acquainted with working in a 'real' 16-track studio and not to record a 'real' record. In the confusion of a pivotal moment, it was Phil who pulled me into a secluded hallway and said, 'Dwight, let's make a hit record right now.' That night we recorded I'm On Fire."

- Dwight Twilley, in an excerpt from Phil Seymour's letter of remembrance.

"I'm On Fire", with little promotion, reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending August 2, 1975. The Dwight Twilley Band recorded two albums together, with Phil and Dwight singing lead and harmony vocals, Phil playing drums and bass, Dwight playing guitar and vocals and their friend Bill Pitcock IV contributing lead guitar. However, a string of unlucky breaks played a significant role in limiting their success. In 1978, Seymour left the band to pursue a solo career.

Solo Years[edit]

In the downtime between recording deals he worked as a session musician, as well as playing for 20/20 (drums on their self-titled first album), Moon Martin (drums on Shots from a Cold Nightmare album) and old Twilley Band friend Tom Petty (backing vocals). Seymour sang the backing vocals on two of Petty's best-known songs, "Breakdown" and "American Girl". During 1978, Seymour also traveled to England to work on a solo recording with Denny Cordell producing, though only three songs were recorded (two of which were released on the compilation Precious To Me).

Phil Seymour, as seen on the cover of his first solo album

In 1980 Seymour signed to Boardwalk Records, and he released his first solo album, simply titled Phil Seymour, on January 16, 1981. The album was produced by Richie Podolor, who also produced Seymour's second album and later produced Twilley's The Luck. The first single from the album, "Precious To Me", written by Seymour, reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending March 28, 1981. It also went to #3 in Australia, where it was certified gold. "I Really Love You" reached #13 in South Africa. The album also included "Trying to Get to You", a song that has also been covered by Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison, the wonderful powerpop gem "Baby It's You" which was reprised on Poptopia: Powerpop Classics of the 80s compilation released in 1997 by Rhino, among others. A Bobby Fuller Four song, "Let Her Dance", and eight other tracks, mostly written by former Twilley Band members Seymour (2 tracks), Twilley (2 tracks that been destined for the unreleased Blueprint album, as well as "Suzie Glider", the non-LP B-side of "Precious To Me")[2] and Pitcock (2 tracks).

His second solo album, Phil Seymour 2, was released in 1982 but featured less original material, was recorded in a rush, and was not as successful. It included a Tom Petty song, Surrender. [3] Boardwalk Records' founder Neil Bogart died shortly after its release, which collapsed the label (not a new experience for Seymour, as Shelter Records had collapsed during the Dwight Twilley Band days), and Seymour was once again without a record deal.

Illness and Posthumous Releases[edit]

In 1984 Seymour joined the Textones, a roots rock band led by Carla Olson and George Callins. He recorded an album with them, Midnight Mission, and toured with them as a singer and drummer. During the tour, he noticed lumps appearing on his neck, which turned out to be swollen lymph nodes, and he was subsequently diagnosed with lymphoma. Seymour moved back to Tulsa to undergo treatment for the cancer and continued to record and play live locally, albeit at a much diminished pace, until his death. Seymour died on August 17, 1993 at the Tarzana Medical Centre in Los Angeles at the age of 41.[4] A third solo album was never released, but several demos are known to exist. Shortly before his death, Seymour completed an album with former Rubber City Rebels guitarist Buzz Clic, singing lead on all tracks. When efforts to place the album with a proper label were unsuccessful, Clic self-released the album on cassette. It eventually was properly issued by Smog Veil Records in 2005.

In 1996, after its acquisition of Shelter Records, EMI's The Right Stuff reissue label released a 15-song Seymour "greatest hits and rarities" collection, Precious To Me, which served as a companion piece to Dwight Twilley's XXI collection on the same label. The album included songs from Seymour's days with the Dwight Twilley Band and the Textones as well as unreleased solo material recorded for Shelter in 1978 (2 songs) and with Olson and Callins in 1991 and 1992. In addition, The Beatles' " I Need You" The Bee Gees's "First Mistake. Also, Midnight Mission was reissued in 2001, and in 2005, Phil Seymour was reissued on CD with three bonus tracks, one each composed by Seymour, Twilley and Pitcock. Phil Seymour 2 was released by Fuel Records (Universal) October 2011 with 10 previously unreleased bonus tracks.

To be released on November 25, 2014 by Airline Records - "Phil Seymour In Concert!" - a 2 CD set containing two Phil performances, one from the Hong Kong Cafe in 1979 and one from Gazzari's in 1980. 24 rockin' performances including Baby It's You, Precious To Me, Let Her Dance, Baby Come Back, If You Don't Want My Love and Come What May.


The Dwight Twilley Band[edit]


  • "Unreleased Sessions" (to be released October 2016, features 14 tracks, 5 featuring Chris Spedding and 9 featuring Steve Allen and Ron Flynt of 20/20)
  • Phil Seymour In Concert (released 2014) 2 discs: Live At The Hong King Cafe 1979, Live At Gazzarri's 1980
  • Phil Seymour (1980, reissued 2005, reissued & expanded March 2012)
  • Phil Seymour 2 (1982, reissued & expanded 2011)
  • Precious to Me (hits and rarities) (1996)


  • Midnight Mission (1984, reissued 2001)
  • Detroit '85 Live & Unreleased (2008, first release, Collectors' Choice Music)

Phil on drums and harmony vocals plus lead vocals including: Looking For The Magic and Back In Time.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Liner notes, The Great Lost Twilley Album (1993).
  3. ^ Momme, Karen. Phil Seymour, 1980-82. Description approved by Phil Seymour. Retrieved 2007-09-14.
  4. ^

External links[edit]