Monday, May 21, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Spanky & Our Gang

Artist:Spanky & Our Gang
Song:Like To Get To Know You
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Spanky & Our Gang

Like To Get To Know You was one of three top twenty hits for the late 60s vocal group Spanky & Our Gang. Unfortunately, they disbanded after the tragic death of lead guitarist Malcolm Hale and are somewhat forgotten today. I think the group thought that they were too similar to The Mamas & The Papas and they wanted to sound more sophisticated. Spanky & Our Gang were from Chicago. Lead singer Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane started out as a jazz singer with The Jamie Lyn Trio and then she was a member of the folk group The New Wine Singers. It was here that she met Malcolm Hale and it was also here that she got the nickname Spanky because someone thought she looked like Spanky of the Our Gang comedies. When that group split up, Elaine spent the winter of 1965 in Florida. She met Oz Bach and Nigel Pickering at a party and suggested they come to Chicago to jam. They did exactly that a few months later. Elaine was working as a singing waitress and the club owner asked her to form a group to perform at the club. So she formed a jug band with Bach on bass and Pickering on guitar. Elaine played washboard and as a joke they called themselves Spanky & Our Gang. Malcolm Hale joined and the group started playing local Chicago clubs. Mercury Records signed them and assigned them to producer Jerry Ross. Ross gave them a polished sound very similar to The Mamas & The Papas. Their first single Sunday Will Never Be The Same was turned down by The Mamas & The Papas. Spanky & Our Gang recorded it and it reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1967. And I'm sure a lot of fans thought they were listening to The Mamas & The Papas. The single Lazy Day reached #14 in late 1967. But Elaine was unhappy with the pop sound of the group and wanted to be more adventurous. Oz Bach left and was replaced by Kenny Hodges and his friend Lefty Baker. For their second album, they worked with jazz singer and producer Bob Dorough and his partner Stuart Scharf. Scharf wrote Like To Get To Know You and it reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. The second album was more satisfying for the group. And they were even more sophisticated on their third album. But it didn't sell. And then Malcolm Hale died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty heating system in his house in Oct. 1968. This was a big blow as he wrote a lot of the arrangements. Elaine decided to disband Spanky & Our Gang in 1969. She attempted to revive them as a country group in 1975. This led to Elaine McFarlane touring the nostalgia circuit and she was even part of the 80s revival of The Mamas & The Papas. She still performs occasionally today. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Here's Spanky & Our Gang performing Like To Get To Know You on The Ed Sullivan Show 1968. This video is not on Youtube.
Like to Get to Know You by dcck105

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