Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

SPANKY & OUR GANG

Vocal/instrumental group formed '66 in Chicago. Lineup: vocalist Elaine "Spanky' McFarlane (b 19 June '42, Peoria IL), rhythm guitarist Nigel Pickering (b 15 June '29, Pontiac MI), drummer John Seiter (b 17 Aug. '44, St Louis MO), bassist Kenny Hodges from Jacksonville FL, Lefty Baker (real name Eustace Britchforth, from Roanoke VA) on guitar and banjo. Folk-rock/pop style was similar to that of the Mamas & The Papas, whom they replaced in the charts late '60s, the comparison underlined by Spanky's non-sylph-like similarity to Mama Cass. She and Mama had met early '60s; Spanky joined folk/cabaret act New Wine Singers; formed quartet with Hodges, Pickering and Baker taking the name from the short comedy films made beginning mid-'20s by Hal Roach (later star was Spanky McFarland; shown on TV the kid stars were called Little Rascals), Hale and Seiter joining after they signed with Mercury. Of nine Hot 100 entries '67-9, biggest was the first, "Sunday Will Never Be The Same', top 10 and still with a certain charm. Albums were Spanky And Our Gang '67, Like To Get To Know You (top 20 title single) and Without Rhyme Or Reason '68, a live LP and Greatest Hits collection '70. Hale died of cirrhosis during making of the third album. Spanky and Pickering reformed and made Change '75 for Epic with Marc McClure on guitar, Bill Plummer on bass, Jim Moon on drums, incl. cover of Larry Norman's "I Wish We'd All Been Ready' which was highly praised; toured in Texas until '80, sang on Roger McGuinn's debut solo LP, joined re-formed Mamas/Papas '82.