by VVN Music
Pat Upton, who sang lead on the Sprial Starecase's single More Today Than Yestarday, died on Wednesday after what was described as a "long illness". He was 75.
Upton grew up in Tennessee where he got his first music experience singing in church. He and his brother formed a gospel quartet while still in high school but it was the discovery of the electric guitar that sent Pat's musical interests in a different direction.
While in the Air Force in 1964, Upton formed the group The Fydallions which stayed together after the members were discharged from the service. They went on the road and played regularly in Las Vegas and other cities.
In 1967, the band was discovered by Columbia Records' Gary Usher who signed the band and forced them to change their name to The Spiral Starecase. Usher also suggested that Upton begin writing original music for the group and one of those songs was More Today Than Yesterday.
After two unsuccessful singles, Columbia issued the Sonny Knight produced Yesterday on January 7, 1969. The song peaked at number 12 on the Hot 100 while it made it to 7 in Cashbox and 6 in Canada.
The song would go on to be recorded by numerous other artists including Andy Williams, Lena Horne, Sonny & Cher, Patti Austin and Diana Ross.
The Spiral Starecase had two more minor hits, No One For Me to Turn To (1969 / #52) and She's Ready (1969 / 72) before the group broke up.
Upton became a session musician and was a member of Ricky Nelson's band for four years. Upton also invested in a club in Guntersville, Alabama, PJ's Alley, where, on December 30, 1985 he returned to his position in Nelson's band for one night. The next day, Nelson tried to convince Upton to fly to Dallas with him for his next show. Pat said he was too busy with the club. Four hours later, Nelson's plane crashed.
The current version of the Spiral Starecase posted on Facebook:
In Loving Memory of our dear Brother Pat Upton. You will be greatly missed, and never forgotten. May God Bless and Comfort your Family and loved ones.