subject of love has captured the imaginations of poets, dreamers
and songwriters for centuries. The topic has been turned upside
down, twisted inside out and pondered by literally thousands of
romantic visionaries - perhaps in hopes that they will be able to
crack the code of love.
Although many have tried, few have been able to so succinctly
capture the mercurial essence of love as Pat Upton did in 1969
when he wrote the song "More
Today Than Yesterday".
The single, which Upton recorded as lead singer of the pop group
Spiral Starecase, has well sold over a million copies to date, and
has been melting the hearts of hopeless romantics everywhere since
its release - just as a good timeless classic should. In fact, "More
Today Than Yesterday" has been recorded by such
luminaries as Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams, which makes it a
certified pop cornerstone.
"'More Today Than Yesterday' was a song that just came
together like the pieces of a puzzle," says Upton, "I've
sung it hundreds of times, but it still gives me a wonderful
sinking feeling in my heart every time."
Upton quit the Starecase in 1972, and for the next 8 years, shied
away from the spotlight, doing jingles, session and club work in
Los Angeles. That all changed when he met Rick Nelson in 1976.
After singing background vocals on Nelson's 1981 "Playing To
Win" album, Upton was asked to tour with Rick's Stone Canyon
band. What was to have been a 3 month arrangement became a 3 year
"Working with Rick was the most fun I ever had" he says,
"I grew up watching him on television...so when I was up on
stage performing, it was like I was also sitting in the audience.
I'd look at people's faces and know what they were thinking, how
they felt about Rick...because he was one of my heroes too."
After 750 days on the road, Upton left that life for the serenity
of his native Alabama. In 1985 he opened PJ's Alley, a nightclub
in the small town of Guntersville. It was a decision that would
secure him yet another place in Rock & Roll history.
After performing at Upton's club on New Year's Eve of 1985, Rick
Nelson boarded his private airplane bound for a show in Texas.
Shortly before reaching the destination, the aircraft crashed,
killing Nelson and several other passengers.
"A few years after Rick died, I closed the nightclub and
started traveling with the '30 Years of Rock 'N' Roll Tour,"
says Upton. "People began to come up to me at the shows and
ask me if they could buy tapes of my music. That's when I began to
think about recording tunes everybody would know...like 'More
Today' and use some of my new material."
In the fall of 1994, Upton released THEN & NOW, which broke
his 20 year self-imposed recording hiatus. The album, which he
described as "a balanced blend between old and new
tunes," is a 1990's tribute to a time-honored subject - love
in all its phases.
Of the 10 tracks on the album, Upton wrote or co-wrote half of the
songs, and actively participated in the creation of the project by
functioning as co-producer.
The fans wanted more, prompting the Taragon label to release a CD
compilation of his complete Spiral Starecase recordings, along
with some of his newer material in 2003.
"My main focus right now is to concentrate on my music - to
continue to write and record more material," he says.
"I'll never give up my music."