Album: Spooky (1968)
Charted: 46 3
Play Video


  • This song was originally an instrumental by the saxophone player Mike Shapiro, who recorded it as Mike Sharpe. J.R. Cobb, who was the band's lead guitarist, heard this song and added lyrics to it with their producer Buddy Buie. Cobb later formed the Atlanta Rhythm Section along with fellow band member Dean Daughtry and members of a band called The Candymen.
  • There's been some controversy over who played the sax solo on this song, as different people have claimed to have played it. According to Classics IV's biographer Joe Glickman, it was Mike Shapiro, who wrote and recorded the original instrumental version of the song, who played the sax. Glickman wrote in the Forgotten Hits newsletter: The reason he didn't play on some of the other records (the ones Ray Jarrel played on) was because Mike was a bit hard to work with in the studio. He had a very good concept of how he wanted the solos, which differed from Buddy Buie's ideas of mainstream pop. There's a bit of a tone-break at the end of the solo that Mike insisted on re-recording, but Buddy wouldn't let him. English White was a sax player that was brought in later during the 'Traces' road tour to fill in for the sax. Mike did not tour at all and the band had been playing for a while with Auburn Burrell filling in the sax solos on lead guitar. That was hurting their reception since the sax had a lot to do with their sound."
  • In 1979, the Atlanta Rhythm Section released a new version that hit #48 in the UK and #17 in the US. Their version doesn't differ greatly from the original, which makes sense as three of this group's members (Robert Nix, James Cobb and Dean Daughtry) played with Classics IV before joining this group. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Santa Barbara, CA
  • This was one of the first songs to get a lot of airplay on the Album Oriented Rock (AOR) format. FM was relatively new, and AOR was a great format for people who wanted to hear songs on rock albums that weren't necessarily hits.
  • Other artists to record this song include Dusty Springfield, The Velvet Monkeys and Daniel Ash. Imogen Heap also recorded it for the soundtrack of the movie Just Like Heaven.

Comments: 15

  • Mrs. Linda (dennis) Yost from Cincinnati,ohioAfter Dennis’ accident Tom Garrett was hired to work with Dennis to be a replacement or co lead vocal for some live performances due to health issues .They hired Garard Montague (Bart) until he had back issues and could not travel. Paul Wesleyan was hired and has been touring with Tom the last 3 years on successful The Happy Together Tour. And the entire band is now happily doing live shows after the pandemic!
  • Funkifized from Lowell, MaThe interesting thing about this band is that all the hits had prominent saxophone solos on them, but there seems to have not been a sax player in the band. I disagree that there was little difference between the Atlanta Rhythm Section's version of "Spooky" and the Classics IV version. The rhythm pattern was the same, but it was much more rockin' guitars. I liked the updated version better for a short time and eventually found the Classics IV take to be much more listenable.
  • Joanne from CtI could transport myself in 1968 to an 8th grade grammar school dance like it was yesterday. This song is “ groovy”
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyBuddy Buie died July 18th, 2015 after suffering a heart attack in Eufaula, Alabama.
    May he R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 17th 1967 "Spooky" by the Classics IV entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on February 4th, 1968 it peaked at #3 (for 3 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    The quartet had a total of three Top 10 hits; and all three had 'one word' titles, the other two were "Stormy" (#5 in 1968) and "Traces" (#2 for 1 week in 1969)...
    Sadly, lead singer Dennis Yost passed away on December 7th, 2008 at the age of 65...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Howard from Levittown, Pa"Just like a ghost you keep on haunting my dreams/so I'll propose on Halloween." One of the cleverest lines ever.

    Cobb's guitar style didn't change between Classics IV and ARS; the texture seemed different in the mix though.

    I wonder sometimes if Classics IV opened up a niche for sax in pop/rock("Year of the Cat," "The One You Love" "Fool If You Think It's Over" etc.).
  • Edward from Henderson, NvAnother song about a girl with unpredictable mood swings: Billy Joel"s "She's Always a Woman."
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyIn concept, this song about a boyfriend/girlfriend who has creepy mood swings and personality changes is first cousin to Katy Perry's recent tune "Hot N Cold."
  • Dave from Easton, PaWasn't the vocalist on theses Classics IV songs Dennis Yost? I have the single "Traces" and it's listed as "The Classics IV Featuring Dennis Yost." His smooth vocals go well with the Classics IV sound. I loved ARS, too.
  • Vic from Knoxville, TnI love those descending triplets in the 2nd guitar solo
  • Bri from Orange, CaA cover was don by dusty springfeld
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaI've wondered what or who this song was about. It sounds like it could be about Morticia Addams from The Addams Family.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesCute'n'clever, one of my all times.
  • Rick from San Juan, United StatesIn one of the early episodes of HBO's "Six Feet Under", Spooky was played in one eerie scene where Nate (Peter Crause) is having a conversation with his dead father. The scene became even funnier when he told his dad that he didn't know he was into the Classics IV.
  • Jonnie from St. Louis, MoThe first recording of "Spooky" was an instrumental version by saxophonist Mike Sharp. It was a 1966 - 1967 release...forgotten by most,
    but always one of my personal favorites.
    There is also a recent Smooth Jazz version of "Spooky" by David Sanborn which is excellent...and faithful to the original version.
    (Mike Sharp (Shapiro) was part of the team that wrote "Spooky". J.R. Cobb, Buddy Buie & Harry Middlebrooks, Jr. were all listed as writers. They eventually became The Atlanta Rhythm Section.
    And the rest is history.)

    Jonnie King/WSSM, St. Louis
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Judas Priest

Judas PriestSongwriter Interviews

Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton talk twin guitar harmonies and explain how they create songs in Judas Priest.

Donald Fagen

Donald FagenSongwriter Interviews

Fagen talks about how the Steely Dan songwriting strategy has changed over the years, and explains why you don't hear many covers of their songs.

Matt Sorum

Matt SorumSongwriter Interviews

When he joined Guns N' Roses in 1990, Matt helped them craft an orchestral sound; his mezzo fortes and pianissimos are all over "November Rain."

Matthew Wilder - "Break My Stride"

Matthew Wilder - "Break My Stride"They're Playing My Song

Wilder's hit "Break My Stride" had an unlikely inspiration: a famous record mogul who rejected it.

Female Singers Of The 90s

Female Singers Of The 90sMusic Quiz

The ladies who ruled the '90s in this quiz.

Jon Anderson of Yes

Jon Anderson of YesSongwriter Interviews

From the lake in "Roundabout" to Sister Bluebird in "Starship Trooper," Jon Anderson talks about how nature and spirituality play into his lyrics for Yes.