Spanky & Our Gang Biography

The original line-up of this engaging US harmony group - Elaine ‘Spanky’ McFarlane (19 June 1942; tambourine/washboard), Nigel Pickering (12-string guitar) and Oz Bach (stand-up bass/kazoo) - began performing together in Chicago’s folk clubs. Within months they were joined by Malcolm Hale (guitar/vocals) and John George Seiter (drums) and this restructured line-up shad a US Top 10 hit with its debut release, ‘Sunday Will Never Be The Same’. This evocative song bore traces of the Mamas And The Papas and the more conservative Seekers, a style maintained on its follow-up, ‘Lazy Day’. Bach was then replaced by Geoffrey Myers, who in turn made way for Kenny Hodges. Sixth member Lefty Baker (vocals/guitar) expanded the group’s harmonic range, but while the haunting ‘Like To Get To Know You’ suggested a more mature direction, Spanky And Our Gang seemed more content with a bubbly, good-time, but rather lightweight approach. The premature death of Hale in 1968 undermined the group’s inner confidence, and any lingering momentum faltered when ‘Give A Damn’, a campaign song for the Urban Coalition League, incurred an airplay ban in several states. The remaining quintet broke up in 1969 although McFarlane and Pickering retained the name for the country-influenced Change. In 1981 the former joined a rejuvenated Mamas And The Papas, before touring with an all-new Spanky And Our Gang.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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