John Sebastian

Welcome Back

Song Review by

"Welcome Back" was what many fans of John Sebastian exclaimed when the one-time Lovin' Spoonful lead singer topped the charts during the mid-'70s. TV producer Alan Sachs wanted a Lovin' Spoonful-like song as the theme song for the new ABC-TV sitcom Kotter, starring comedian Gabriel Kaplan and featuring a pre-stardom John Travolta and Lawrence Hilton Jacobs. The show would be produced by James Komack's production company through Warner Bros. Television. Sachs' agent Dave Bendet also represented Sebastian and arranged for a meeting between the two. The Sebastian song "Welcome Back" was so well liked that the producers changed the sitcom's name to Welcome Back Kotter, which became a huge hit. Its catchy theme song became a viewer favorite. Listeners' requests forced radio DJs to play tapes of the theme recorded off of TV. Record stores were flooded with requests for the song. Ironically, Sebastian was about to be dropped from the Warner Bros. Records roster because of low sales. The singer/songwriter was hurried into the recording studio to record the song and other tracks that would become his Welcome Back album. Co-produced by Steve Barri and Sebastian, the million-selling "Welcome Back" went to number one pop and number one adult contemporary for two weeks in the spring of 1976.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1976
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
No Image 1976 Reprise
Sounds of the Seventies: 1976 1989
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:53
The Best of John Sebastian 1989 Rhino 2:52
Singers & Songwriters [Time Life] 1990
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:52
Singers & Songwriters: 40 Hits, All Orignal Recordings [Time-Life] 1990
Various Artists
Time / Life Music
Only Rock 'N Roll 1975-1979: 20 Pop Hits 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels
Tube Tunes, Vol. 2: The '70s & '80s 1995
Original Soundtrack
Rhino 2:54
AM Gold: 1976 1996
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:52
TV Themes of the '70s 1996
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:53
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 2:51
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
Legends of Rock: Acoustic Superstars 1999
Various Artists
Petrock Music 2:20
More Fabulous 70's, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
A M W Music 2:52
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1976 2000
Various Artists
Buddha Records 2:50
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:52
Suddenly '70s 2001
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 2:53
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1975-1979 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 2:50
Faithful Virtue: The Reprise Recordings 2001 Rhino 2:50
Time in a Bottle: The Best of Mellow Rock 2002
Various Artists
Flashback Gold / Rhino 2:52
TV Land Presents Favorite TV Theme Songs 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 2:51
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Realm Records 2:51
Retro '70s 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:50
VH1: I Love the '70s 2004
Various Artists
Rhino 2:51
All-Time Top 100 TV Themes 2005
Various Artists
TVT 0:57
Ultimate 16: Lite FM Best of the '70s 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 2:50
Ultimate 16: Lite FM Rock 70s 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:53
Billboard #1s: The '70s 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 2:52
The Greatest Rockin' 70's Hits of All Time 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 2:52
Life and Times 1964-1999 2007 Raven 2:53
#1 Classic Hits of the 70s [Madacy] 2007
Various Artists
Madacy Entertainment 2:52
Rock & Roll '70s 2009
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:52
Singers & Songwriters [Time-Life Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:52
Stories We Could Tell: The Very Best of John Sebastian 2017 Varèse Sarabande 2:52
70's the Collection
Various Artists
Rhino 2:50
Pop Goes the 70s
Various Artists
StarVista / Time / Life Music 2:52
Top Hits/70's Only Number 1's
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:48