Classics IV – Spooky
Most people will instantly recognise the tune, thanks I suspect to Dusty’s cover, how many of you knew it was a blue-eyed soul classic before being covered, and before that was a jazz instrumental?
The Classics IV were a band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1965. The band and its lead singer Dennis Yost are principally known for the hits “Spooky”, “Stormy”, and “Traces”, released in 1967 to 1969, which have become cover standards.
Born in Detroit, raised in Florida, Dennis Yost who joined on drums and moved into the singer’s spot, came from a Jacksonville area band called the Echoes. After his own group broke up in the mid 1960s, Yost joined a band called Leroy & the Moments, which included Wally Eaton (bass, vocals), James Cobb (guitar), and Joe Wilson (keyboards). His arrival signalled a change in the group’s name as there was no “Leroy” and the Moments was already taken, taking their lead from Yost’s Classic model drum kit, they became the Classics.
When the group was signed to Capitol Records in 1966, they made their debut with a Joe South song called “Pollyanna”, but was so akin to the Four Seasons’ sound that the management of the Four Seasons took offence, and did their best to keep Pollyanna’s air time to a minimum. To rub salt in the wound, the group was threatened with legal action by a Brooklyn based vocal outfit called the Classics, who had already charted a single. The Classics became the Classics IV (as there were four members).
In the spring of 1967, having been released by Capitol, the group relocated to Atlanta and the following summer the group signed with Imperial Records. Once home to New Orleans R&B stars Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew, by 1967 Imperial had been absorbed into Liberty Records. It was only now that the group started to achieve some success.
When Buie and Cobb heard an instrumental entitled “Spooky,” they came up with words for it and a new arrangement by Cobb. The record, released in September of 1967, scored big in Louisville and began getting picked up by stations around the country, culminating as a number three national hit in the winter of 1967/68.
Spooky – Classics IV; taken fron Imperial 66259: Spooky
Poor People – Classics IV; the B side to Spooky: Poor People
The full 45rpm discography:
“Spooky” Imperial (66259) 1968
“Stormy” Imperial (66328) 1968
“Traces” Imperial (66352) 1969
“Everyday With You Girl” Imperial (66378) 1969
“Change Of Heart” Imperial (66393) 1969
“Midnight” Imperial (66424) 1970
“The Funniest Thing” Imperial (66439) 1970
“What Am I Crying For?” MGM South (7002) 1972
It appears a version of the band still exists (albeit the line-up will have changed, following the death of Yost). More (official) news here: www.theclassicsiv.com