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Spiral Starecase

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The Spiral Starecase may be a one-hit wonder group, but if you're only going to be allotted one, then their "More Today Than Yesterday" is the type of solitary charter you want as your lasting legacy. A bouncy shuffle that has become a heavy rotation staple of oldies radio, the tune sports a simple but well-crafted lyric and a melody that sticks to the brain and refuses to leave. A further look into the group's scant discography reveals that musically, the group was capable of even more hits, had not poor management and sheer bad luck cut their career short. The group formed in Sacramento, CA as the Fydallions, counting up in their ranks saxman Dick Lopes and bass player Bobby Raymond, Harvey Kaye on organ, Vinnie Parello on drums, and lead vocalist and guitarist Pat Upton, who hailed from Alabama. They auditioned for Columbia Records, who loved the group but hated their name. Lopes cribbed a title from a movie, and with a slight spelling change, the group's name and contract was secured. Assigned to producer Gary Usher, their first two singles were released to regional successes in markets like Phoenix. At this time, Sonny Knight (himself a one-hit wonder with "Confidential" on Dot) was brought in as producer. Upton, encouraged by Usher to write original material for the group, had brought in "More Today Than Yesterday," which became the next single and their breakthrough hit. Considering the long-lasting impact of the song on oldies radio, it seems inconceivable that the tune charted no higher than number 12 nationally. The Starecase released one album and a couple more singles before poor management and squabbles over finances caused the group to splinter by 1969. Harvey Kaye led an ersatz version of the group for a brief period, while Upton fled to session work, eventually joining up with Rick Nelson as a backup vocalist. In the mid-'80s, after Nelson's death, Upton became a staple on the oldies circuit, sounding as wonderful as ever. ~ Cub Koda