Friday, October 29, 2010

Mike Sharpe: Spooky

The Halloween season conjures up the initial hit single by Dennis Yost and the Classics IV: “Spooky.” While this 1968 recording was bigger than the later hit by the Atlanta Rhythm Section, it still was not the original version of the song.

Saxophonist Mike Sharpe recorded his instrumental “Spooky” first and it was a regional hit in the south for Liberty Records in 1966. Sharpe, credited under his real name of Mike Shapiro, and Harry Middlebrooks wrote the tune. The song appeared on his LP “The Spooky Sound of Mike Sharpe.”

Thus, here's the Friday Firsts' selection for this Halloween.

The Classics IV Hit Version

Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, the band moved to Atlanta where Bill Lowery of the Lowery Music Group discovered the band and the rest was history. Buddy Buie was the band’s producer, songwriter, and manager.

Besides lead vocalist Dennis Yost, the band also included J.R. Cobb, Robert Nix, and Dean Daughtry who later were members of the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Guitarist J.R. Cobb and producer Buddy Buie added words to Sharpe’s instrumental and the rest they say is history. This recording had the Classics IV original lineup of Yost, Cobb, Wally Eaton, and Joe Wilson.

The Atlanta Rhythm Section's 1979 Remake

ARS grew out of the Classics IV and in 1979 the band resurrected their old Classics IV hit “Spooky.” While their original 1968 hit charted at #3, the remake only just broke the top 20 and peaked at #17. This version appeared on their LP “Underdog.”

Producer and cowriter Buddy Buie was lead vocalist in the Atlanta Rhythm Section. You can definitely see a maturity of the musicians from the 11 years since the original hit was released.

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