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Passings: Pat Upton, Lead Singer of the Spiral Starecase

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.


Anonymous said…
Dear Lynn,
I'm so sorry to hear about Pat...I was in shock!!!! I couldn't believe it!! Lynn, it was just like YESTERDAY when I first met Pat & Bobby Neal when they were packing after Ricks Show in Barron, the High school in 1983!! Then all those times at Shake. I'll NEVER FORGET our conversation about Rick. THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME!!!! I'LL always THANK Pat for what he did for Rick & his Family on National TV. But You know Lynn, that was my idea! Lynn everything Pat & I talked about in the bus was on that show & also it was my idea to call the show "{WHAT HAPPENED}" Pat was my friend.....He'll always be my friend! I have always looked up to him..For what he did & he believed..& that was the truth! Pat Always Stood by Rick, And I'm sure they're both in Heaven, talking about all the old times right now!! I am so sorry for (You & Your Family)Pat was An understanding..kind..& Great Person! May Rock & Roll Live Forever........... Rhonda Burich P.S. Lynn I'll never forget the tour you & Pat gave of Your Beautiful Home, The Airport & PJ.'s at night. It was WONDERFUL!
Anonymous said…

It seems like YESTERDAY when I first met Pat & Bobby Neal. It was after Ricks Show in Barron, Wis. at The Barron High School Friday Night in 1983. I had never seen Bobby ever again. Their was a Big 3 day Event called Shake Rattle & Roll which started in Eau. Claire, Wis. in 1986 at Fanny Hill. Their were many groups & Ent. that performed. Some were Jan & Dean, Freddy Cannon, Lou Christy, Gary Pucket, Del Shannon, Chubby Checker, the Dixie Cups, The Shirells, The Buckinghams, Paul Revere & The Raiders just to name a few in the past 3 years. Along with a huge car show.

Pat had been apart of Donnie Brooks Rock & Roll Show along with many other Ent. such as Juel Atkens, Len Berry, Cub Koda, Screaming J. Hawkins, Tiny Tim, Mickey Dolzen, Gary Lewis & The Playboys & The Tokens just to name a few. Donnie Brooks had hosted the show & sang his no.1 song "Mission Bell" {I have on 45} Soon after Len Berry {Who was lead singer for the Dovells} sang his no.1 song "1 2 3 " Pat walked out on the stage. He sang his signature song "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday" & followed with "Crying" by Roy Orbison. I could hardly believe what I heard. His voice was so remarkable. I'll never forget the sparkle in his eyed or the radient smile that was upon his face. He had an amazing voice--Outstanding Performance. I feel, Well I know Pat had definitely mastered this song better than Roy ever did! The way Pat sang "Crying" I can still hear him YET TODAY even after ALL these years.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Love the song,"I Love You More Today Than Yesterday!" Such great lyrics. The part about thanking the Lord for their Love always touched my heart. God bless his soul.