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Biography

The Spiral Starecase was an American band, best known as a one-hit wonder for their 1969 single "More Today Than Yesterday".

The band, from Sacramento, California, was a popular 1960s group, recognizable for its horns and lead singer/guitarist Pat Upton's distinctive voice. The group also included Harvey Kaye (organ), Dick Lopes (saxophone), Bobby Raymond (bass guitar) and Vinny Parello (drums).

Starting as the Fydallions, they released that song, one album, and a few more singles including "No One for Me to Turn To" after signing with Columbia.

The band is known for their hits "More Today Than Yesterday" (U.S. #12), released in January 1969, and the follow-up "She's Ready". "More Today Than Yesterday" has been widely covered by, among others, Diana Ross and the band Goldfinger, and was featured in the 1991 film My Girl, on the soundtrack of The Waterboy in 1998, and in an episode of Ally McBeal entitled Silver Bells.

History

The group evolved from a four-piece instrumental group called the Fydallions, which formed in 1964 in Sacramento, California, for an Air Force talent contest. After leaving the Air Force, the band went on the road, playing five hour lounge jobs on the Las Vegas circuit. The Fydallions, now a quintet consisting of Dick Lopes (saxophone), Bobby Raymond (bass guitar), Harvey Kaye (keyboards), Vinnie Parello (drums), and Pat Upton (guitar and lead vocals), were noticed by the A&R representative for Columbia Records, Gary Usher, while they were working in El Monte, California. Columbia signed the band, but insisted that they change their name. "They loved our work" said Upton, "but they hated the name and they didn’t like the way we dressed. This was in the late sixties when all the musicians were wearing long hair. We looked very square!" The band was renamed after the movie The Spiral Staircase, but with a deliberate misspelling.

Their first two singles, produced by Gary Usher, were regional successes in markets like Phoenix, Arizona. At this time, Sonny Knight was brought in to produce their first album. Usher had encouraged Upton to write original material for the group, and Upton had written "More Today Than Yesterday," while the band was working the Flamingo Sky Room in Las Vegas.

In 1969, "More Today Than Yesterday" charted #12 in the Billboard Hot 100, (in Cash Box, it reached #7) but sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. About 18 months after the single's release, after releasing one album and a couple more singles, the group disbanded due to poor management and squabbles over finances.

Upton went back to Los Angeles to work as a session musician, eventually working with Ricky Nelson.

Kaye returned to Las Vegas where he re-formed the band. That line-up featured Mike Caschera (aka. Michael Anthony) (lead vocals), Al Sebay (guitar), Gene Austin (electric bass) and Mark Barrett (drums). The band toured extensively and played every major venue in the United States, Canada, and Mexico through the mid 1980s with a full horn section and two backup girl singers to replicate the trademark sound of their biggest hits.

Present day

Kaye headed a management company in Las Vegas with his wife Candy. He died on August 17, 2008. Candy still owns SMASH Productions and holds the trademark for "Spiral Starecase". Parello is retired in Southern California but Upton still performs various times throughout the year. Raymond died in 1984.

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