The Seeds were formed in 1965 following the breakup of the short-lived band the Amoeba, which included frontman Sky Saxon and guitarist Jan Savage.

Saxon, who had relocated to Los Angeles from Salt Lake City and had already released material under several names, including Little Richie Marsh and Sky Saxon & the Soul Rockers, placed an ad in the LA Times for a keyboard player. Having already enlisted former bandmate Jan Savage as lead guitarist and Jeremy Levine as rhythm guitarist, Saxon contacted Daryl Hooper to recruit him as a keyboard player. When Hooper asked if they also needed a drummer, he and his Michigan school friend Rick Andridge met up with Saxon at a club and played that same night. They began rehearsing in the garage of Saxon’s home in Malibu, California. Original rhythm guitarist Jeremy Levine left early on due to personal reasons.

The band secured regular gigs at the LA club Bido Lito’s and quickly gained a local reputation for high-energy live performances.

As a live act, the band was one of the first to utilise keyboard bass. Although Saxon was credited as playing bass on the studio albums and would mime playing bass on TV appearances, they usually employed session player Harvey Sharpe for studio work. On stage, keyboardist Daryl Hooper would perform the bass parts via a separate bass keyboard, similar to Ray Manzarek of The Doors.

The Seeds’ first single, “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine,” was a regional hit in Southern California in 1965. The song also received regular airplay on AM rock stations in northern California and beyond, eventually becoming a ’60s cult classic. The band achieved national success with their Top 40 hit “Pushin’ Too Hard” in 1966, performing the song on national television. Three subsequent singles—”Mr. Farmer” (1966), a re-release of “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” (1967), and “A Thousand Shadows” (1967)—achieved more modest success, particularly in Southern California. Known for their simple melodic hooks and Sky Saxon’s unique vocal delivery, the band’s first two albums, The Seeds and A Web of Sound, are now considered classics of 1960s garage music.

A major turning point for the Seeds came in 1967 with their self-produced third album, Future. This album presented a grander psychedelic artistic statement, thrusting the group forward during one of the most creative and experimental periods in American pop culture and music history. The more expansive musical style, with orchestration and a gatefold sleeve featuring ornate flower-themed artwork by painter Sassin, was a departure from the rawer tone of the band’s previous hits. Nevertheless, it received acclaim from fans and critics as a notable work of flower power psychedelia. The album remains a genre curiosity piece and is regarded as a pioneering effort in psychedelic rock. Influential artists such as Iggy Pop, Smashing Pumpkins, Animal Collective, and members of the Beach Boys have cited this and previous albums as genre classics.

The release of Future in mid-1967 marked the commercial peak of the Seeds’ career. This period featured a major national hit, raucous concerts, numerous live TV performances, and prominent guest appearances on the NBC sitcom The Mothers-in-Law and in the hippie/counterculture-themed cult film Psych-Out. The Seeds also recorded an album specifically devoted to the blues, A Full Spoon of Seedy Blues, released in November 1967 under the moniker Sky Saxon Blues Band. Saxon later stated that the album was an attempt to get off their record label. Despite his expectations, it performed reasonably well, though the band rarely performed the songs live, except for a week of gigs at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach.

In May 1968, the band released their final LP for GNP Crescendo Records, Raw & Alive: The Seeds in Concert at Merlin’s Music Box, revisiting their more aggressive garage rock roots. However, both the album and its accompanying single “Satisfy You” failed to chart nationally. The band was renamed Sky Saxon and the Seeds in 1968, with Bob Norsoph (guitar) and Don Boomer (drums) replacing Savage and Andridge, respectively. Saxon continued to use the name “The Seeds” with various backup musicians through at least 1972. The last major-label records of new material by The Seeds – two non-charting singles on MGM Records – were released in 1970.