Alabama native, Pat Upton, started singing at a young age with his brothers in a gospel group. After high school. Pat enlisted in the Air Force. While serving, he helped formed a rock band called the Fydallions in Sacramento, CA, originally an instrumental group. After his discharge for the Service, other members joined the band. The cut some demo recordings that were unreleased, but later discovered by Gary Usher of Columbia Records. He signed them to a contract in 1967 and the band changed its name to the Spiral Starecase (based on a 1946 movie thriller, but deliberately misspelled to avoid so as not to imitate the movie).
The band released, “Baby What I Mean” and it went nowhere. Columbia suggested that the band write their own songs. Pat had the title, “More Today Than Yesterday,” is his head for a couple of years, but had never written a song for it. While jamming one night, a friend showed him a passing chord that he thought would be perfect for a song. Once he had the chorus of “I love you more today than yesterday,” everything fell into place.
The song was an immediate success and went to #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1969. Even as this song was moving up the charts, the band had already begun to break up. The main problem, like a lot of bands at that time, was a corrupt manager, who was misappropriating funds and failing to pay band members. Band equipment was even being reposed for non-payment because he had used the money for personal things.
However, when “More Today….” hit it big, the band got back together. They cut an album and release more singles. Only two hit the charts, neither breaking Top 40. However, “She’s Ready,” played huge around the Birmingham market.
After these two failures, the band split for good in 1970. Pat stayed in Los Angeles and sang demos and commercials and also sang in a trio called ‘Old Friends’ for a few years. He released on single on Columbia, “Lifetime of Love,” but it went nowhere.
He began a session musician and eventually worked with Rick Nelson and played on Rick’s final album, “Playing To Win.” Rick asked Pat to go on tour with him to promote the album. It was going to be two or three months, but wound up being four years.
Pat would later return to Alabama and made his home in Guntersville, where he lived until he died in 2016.
Pat opened a night spot called PJs in 1985. Rick Nelson had become very good friends with Pat and fly in to Guntersville to perform a concert at PJs to help promote the club. Nelson was due in Dallas the next day for a concert and flew out as soon as he finished his show in Guntersville. Nelson asked Pat to fly with him to Dallas, but Pat was too busy with his club. The plane crashed near the airport in Dallas early on New Year’s Eve, killing all on board, including Rick Nelson. The plane was plagued with mechanical problems and caught fire, causing the crash. No, drugs were not the culprit. Fate had saved Pat that night.
Pat continued to tour the oldies circuit into the 2000s until his death in 2016.
She’s Ready – Spiral Starecase
Lifetime Of Love – Pat Upton