Monday, September 19, 2016

The 2015/1967 Countdown - 09/19/2016 Update

Today, we turn back to our 1967's Super Spectacular Singles Superstars and take a listen to Spooky,  the first national hit for Florida-born, Atlanta-based soft southern rock pioneers the Classics IV.

A reworked instrumental originally written by Atlanta saxophonist Mike Sharp to which the band obtained the rights, added vocals, and shifted the arrangement, Spooky actually shouldn't have been the act's first national hit, but their previous breakout single, the Frank Valli-ish Pollyanna, was muscled off of New York radio in 1966 just as it was gaining traction by The Four Seasons' management team, who felt the song offered "unwelcome" stylistic competition.

Following the success of Spooky, the band would split into a separate performing and recording lineups arrangement similar to that of some of the other acts on this mix, though in this case, it was a more consensual decision between band and management.

Original guitarist J. R. Cobb, who disliked the stress of touring, stayed back in Atlanta with producer/manager Bobby Buie.  The duo began writing songs at a prolific rate, and then assembled a crack team of Atlanta session musicians that became, for all practical purposes, the band on record. Meanwhile, original drummer Dennis Yost, who held the rights to the band's name, moved up front as lead singer for the touring unit and become the face of the band.

This arrangement would continue until the mid-70s when the Cobb/Buie led session/songwriting team broke away to become The Atlanta Rhythm Section, basically relegating the Yost-led performing act to the nostalgia circuit for the rest of their careers.

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