Spanky and Our Gang, the Sixties sunshine pop group led by Elaine “Spanky” McFarlane, took its name from Hal Roach’s popular Our Gang comedies of the 1930s. The group’s first hit was “Sunday Will Never Be The Same” written by Terry Cashman and Gene Pistilli.
Cashman recalls, “One day Gene came into the office, and he had this chord progression he came up with. Most simple rock and roll chord progressions in the key of G would be G to E minor to A minor to D. And Gene came in with a change which was instead of going from G to E minor, he went to E major, and instead of going to an A minor – the typical rock and roll kind of thing – he went to an A major, so it made it sound different. And when he played it for me, I started singing this melody to it. And you know, it made me think of a girlfriend that I had a few years before. We used to walk in the park on Sundays, and that whole story became the idea for the song because she left him, and the love affair was over, that Sunday, that special day would never be the same. We wrote the song very quickly. That song Gene and I wrote and Tommy West helped us with the demo, and we did a really, really good demo of the song.”
Although the song was turned down by The Mamas and The Papas, as well as The Left Banke, Cashman took it to successful producer Jerry Ross. Ross loved the song and said it would be perfect for a new vocal band he had signed: Spanky and Our Gang. Originally a ballad, Ross placed the sad lyrics against an upbeat production with a hook borrowed from the Christmas hymn “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
“Sunday Will Never Be the Same” peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #7 in the Canadian RPM Magazine charts in July of 1967. The personnel on the record are a who’s who of New York session players including Hugh McCracken and Charles Macey (guitar), Paul Griffin (piano), Artie Butler (harpsichord), Joe Macho (bass), Bobby Gregg and Al Rogers (drums), David Sackson, Irving Spice, Louis Stone, Ray Free, Matthew Raimondi, Lou Haber (violins), Artie Kaplan (flute), and Seymour Barab and Maurice Bialkin (cellos).