Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jim Sullivan only released two albums, one in 1969 and a second in 1972, but neither sold well, although his talent was obvious, and it’s easy to imagine that he would have eventually have had a commercial breakthrough had he not mysteriously vanished in New Mexico in 1975, a disappearance that has yet to be solved or explained.
A fixture on the West Coast and Malibu music scene, Sullivan, a former high-school quarterback, rubbed shoulders with the hip and famous in the late '60s and early '70s, hanging out with actors like Harry Dean Stanton
, taking a bit part in the film Easy Rider, writing songs full of restless despair that he sang in a rich, Fred Neil
-like voice, and winning over crowds wherever he played. His first album, U.F.O., recorded with drummer Earl Palmer
and the rest of the famed Wrecking Crew, and boasting tasteful string arrangements by Jimmy Bond
, was released in 1969 and featured songs about aliens, desert highways, and desperate redemption. U.F.O. failed to generate the attention and sales it probably deserved, however. After a second album in 1972, Sullivan began to think his career might stand a better chance in Nashville, and he left California to drive to Tennessee in March of 1975. He checked into a Santa Rosa, New Mexico motel en route, although it was unclear whether he stayed there -- his Volkswagen Beetle was found at a remote ranch 26 miles outside of town with his guitar, clothes, and wallet inside, and he was reportedly last seen walking away from the car. He was never seen again, and no trace of him was ever found. The whole thing eerily echoed some of the themes Sullivan had dealt with on his U.F.O. album six years earlier, further giving a unique album an even odder resonance. Light in the Attic Records
re-released U.F.O. to the digital age in 2010, giving a lost folk-rock gem a second chance to find an audience. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi