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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).
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, Sonny and Cher, 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.
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.
Another single that did well in the 1968 period was a song called "Baby What I Mean". It, along with the two hits mentioned above, are on the CD "The Very Best Of The Spiral Starecase".
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.
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), Mark Barrett (drums), The band toured extensively and played every major venue in the United States, Canada, and Mexico in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s with a full horn section to replicate the trademark sound of their biggest hits.
Upton currently lives in Guntersville, Alabama, where he has lived for many years with his family, and still performs various times throughout the year. On December 31, 1985, Upton performed with Ricky Nelson in Guntersville in what was to be Nelson's final performance before his death in a plane crash later that same night.
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." His daughter is Brenda K. Starr, who had several R&B/pop hits in the mid-late 1980s, including the original hit version of "I Still Believe" (later recorded by Mariah Carey).
Raymond died in 1984.
Parello is retired in Southern California.