Spanky & Our Gang
Venue Address (Get Directions)Ray Lewis Presents
Date and Time
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 at 8:00pm
SAN MARCO - Featuring Spanky McFarlane - The group's first album, simply titled Spanky and Our Gang, was released by Mercury Records on August 1, 1967, and included three popular songs that were released as singles. These were "Sunday Will Never Be The Same" (their biggest hit, which reached number #9 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in the summer of 1967) followed by "Making Every Minute Count" and "Lazy Day" (both of which made the Top 30 that fall). Both "Sunday Will Never Be The Same" and "Lazy Day" sold over one million copies. "Sunday Will Never Be the Same" was written by Terry Cashman and Gene Pistilli. In an interview by Cashman with the Songfacts website, he revealed that the song was originally written as a ballad. However, Cashman said the group "changed it, and they added the vocal, 'Ba-da-da-da-da,' which was a great hook." 
Their second album, Like to Get to Know You, was released in April 1968. Two singles were released: "Sunday Mornin'" in the spring, which reached #30, and "Like To Get To Know You", which reached #17 in the summer of 1968. The single's B-side, "Three Ways From Tomorrow", also received considerable airplay. The album also included their rendition of the classic "Stardust" and a version of "Everybody's Talkin'", best known as a hit single for Harry Nilsson and the theme song for the movie Midnight Cowboy. The album versions of "Like To Get To Know You" and "Stardust" begin with humorous conversation.
"Give a Damn" was released as a single in the summer of 1968. In spite of being banned in several states because of the profanity in its title - and in some cases due to the fact that it was a comment on racial equality that became the theme song for the New York Urban Coalition - the song became a regional hit where released and overall made #43. It was also performed live on an episode of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, resulting in CBS Standards and Practices division receiving numerous complaints about the song's title being used during 'family viewing hours'. One such complaint reportedly came from Richard Nixon (Tom Smothers, 'Geraldo' Interview, 1987). Ironically, "Give A Damn" would become John Lindsay's campaign song during his successful run for Mayor of New York.
In October 1968, the group suffered a tragedy when at age 27 their lead guitarist Malcolm Hale died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty space heater. (Hale's death has also been ascribed to bronchopneumonia.) The group disbanded shortly afterwards. Mercury released a third album, Anything You Choose b/w Without Rhythm or Reason, in January 1969. It contained two popular songs, the previous summer's hit "Give a Damn" and "Yesterday's Rain".
After the band's break-up, McFarlane enjoyed some success as a solo artist. She also toured for years with the Mamas & the Papas, singing primarily the parts previously performed by the late Cass Elliot.