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Pat Upton of Spiral Starecase

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PAT UPTON - The subject of love has captured the imaginations of poets, dreamers and songwriters for centuries. The topic has been turned upside down, twisted inside out and pondered by literally thousands of romantic visionaries - perhaps in hopes that they will be able to crack the code of love. Although many have tried, few have been able to so succinctly capture the mercurial essence of love as Pat Upton did in 1969 when he wrote the song "More Today Than Yesterday". The single, which Upton recorded as lead singer of the pop group Spiral Starecase, has well sold over a million copies to date, and has been melting the hearts of hopeless romantics everywhere since its release - just as a good timeless classic should. In fact, "More Today Than Yesterday" has been recorded by such luminaries as Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams, which makes it a certified pop cornerstone. "'More Today Than Yesterday' was a song that just came together like the pieces of a puzzle," says Upton, "I've sung it hundreds of times, but it still gives me a wonderful sinking feeling in my heart every time."

Upton quit the Starecase in 1972, and for the next 8 years, shied away from the spotlight, doing jingles, session and club work in Los Angeles. That all changed when he met Rick Nelson in 1976. After singing background vocals on Nelson's 1981 "Playing To Win" album, Upton was asked to tour with Rick's Stone Canyon band. What was to have been a 3 month arrangement became a 3 year engagement. "Working with Rick was the most fun I ever had" he says, "I grew up watching him on television...so when I was up on stage performing, it was like I was also sitting in the audience. I'd look at people's faces and know what they were thinking, how they felt about Rick...because he was one of my heroes too." After 750 days on the road, Upton left that life for the serenity of his native Alabama.

In 1985 he opened PJ's Alley, a nightclub in the small town of Guntersville. It was a decision that would secure him yet another place in Rock & Roll history. After performing at Upton's club on New Year's Eve of 1985, Rick Nelson boarded his private airplane bound for a show in Texas. Shortly before reaching the destination, the aircraft crashed, killing Nelson and several other passengers. "A few years after Rick died, I closed the nightclub and started traveling with the '30 Years of Rock 'N' Roll Tour," says Upton. "People began to come up to me at the shows and ask me if they could buy tapes of my music. That's when I began to think about recording tunes everybody would know...like 'More Today' and use some of my new material."

In the fall of 1994, Upton released THEN & NOW, which broke his 20 year self-imposed recording hiatus. The album, which he described as "a balanced blend between old and new tunes," is a 1990's tribute to a time-honored subject - love in all its phases. Of the 10 tracks on the album, Upton wrote or co-wrote half of the songs, and actively participated in the creation of the project by functioning as co-producer. The fans wanted more, prompting the Taragon label to release a CD compilation of his complete Spiral Starecase recordings, along with some of his newer material in 2003. "My main focus right now is to concentrate on my music - to continue to write and record more material," he says. "I'll never give up my music."

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