Thursday, July 28, 2016

R.I.P.: Pat Upton Of The Spiral Starecase

Pat Upton
Pat Upton, an Alabama native who toured and composed with the group "Spiral Starecase," died Wednesday.

He was75-years-of-age, according to

Upton, a native of Geraldine, Al also was on stage for the final show of Ricky Nelson, the 50s TV star and 60s pop star who played his final gig at Upton's club in Guntersville before his plane crashed.

While in the Air Force, he joined a band that evolved into Spiral Starecase that had had the hit "More Today Than Yesterday" in 1969. The song peaked at 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year and earned a gold disc.

After the band broke up, Upton went back to being a session musician and later played guitar on Nelson's last album. Nelson asked him to join a tour to promote the record.

Upton, Rick Nelson
"It was going to be two or three months," Upton said in a 2013 interview. "It wound up being nearly four years."

Nelson played his final concert in Guntersville, on Dec. 30, 1985. He performed at PJ's Alley, which Upton owned. On the night of the final show, Nelson asked Upton to fly with him to Dallas. But Upton was too busy with his club. He took Nelson and Helen to the airport, ran an errand, then returned and had one last good-bye.

After the show, Nelson and his band loaded a DC-3 at Guntersville Airport en route to Dallas, where he had a New Year's Eve booking.

Four hours into the flight, the plane crashed, killing Nelson, his fiancee Helen and five members of his band.

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