Long before Cliff Richard told us about a “Devil Woman” or Cher about the “Dark Lady”, we heard about another slightly unnerving female in song. On this day in 1968, “Spooky” hit the charts, the first top 40 hit for the Classics IV.
Originally a club band noted for playing cover songs around Jacksonville, they’d signed onto a branch of Capitol Records by the Summer of Love and relocated to Atlanta. The clean-cut, Brylcreamed group was led by drummer-singer Dennis Yost (although he soon gave up his drumming duties to allow him to be more front-and-center on stage) and guitarist JR Cobb as well as manager Buddy Buie among others. They were one of the first southern rock bands and decidedly more easy-going than their contemporaries like the Allman Brothers.
The song about a spooky little girl was originally an instrumental hit in Georgia for Mike Sharpe in 1966. However, Buie and Cobb wrote lyrics for it and recorded it and found a much greater audience. It was their fourth single but first hit, going to #3 on the Billboard charts. They’d soon follow up with two more significant hits in the late-’60s, “Stormy” and “Traces.” While Yost continued with various incarnations of the band until he suffered a devastating injury in 2006 after falling (he passed away two years later), Cobb, Buie and keyboardist Dean Daughtrey left the Classics IV by 1971. They went on to run a studio near Atlanta, do session work and go on to form the even more successful Atlanta Rhythm Section, which also recorded “Spooky” and had a top 20 hit with it in 1979.