Sort of a poor man’s Mamas & The Papas, Elaine ‘Spanky’ McFarlane and her bandmates hit the heights of the US charts in the late 60s with pop/folk/rock radio-ready tunes like Sunday Will Never Be The Same, Like To Get To Know You and Lazy Day.
Being true folkies at heart, the group had a major protest song, Give a Damn, that was banned on many American radio stations – primarily because “damn” was deemed to constitute profanity, and in some cases due to the fact that the song was a comment on racial equality.
The group’s self-titled debut album was released by Mercury Records in August 1967 and contained three singles: Sunday Will Never Be The Same (which reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart), Making Every Minute Count and Lazy Day – both of which made the Top 30.
Like to Get To Know You, was released in April 1968 and spawned the singles Sunday Mornin’ (US#30) and Like To Get To Know You (US #17).
The group suffered a tragedy in October 1968 when – at the age of 27 – lead guitarist Malcolm Hale died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty space heater. The group disbanded shortly afterwards.
Mercury released a third album, Without Rhythm or Reason, in January 1969. It contained two popular songs, the previous summer’s hit Give a Damn and Yesterday’s Rain.
McFarlane became a very in-demand backing singer, working with many stars including Roger McGuinn. She eventually became a member of the touring-only Mamas & The Papas, where she filled the musical void left by Mama Cass Elliott.
Elaine ‘Spanky’ McFarlane
Guitar, banjo, vocals
Guitar, bass, vocals
John ‘The Chief’ Seiter
Guitar, trombone, vocals