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June Millington, born April 14, 1948 and her sister Jean Millington, born May 25, 1950, both in Manila, Philippines started making music in their childhood years, playing a rather traditional island instrument: the ukulele. The two are most renowned for founding Fany, one of the very first all-female Rockbands to be signed by a major record label, but this part of Rock history was still several steps away. Upon moving to Sacramento, California in 1961 they got touch with the contemporary folk sounds. Music is what kept their spirit high, being surrounded by strangers in a strange country. Thus they began performing as an acoustic duo in High School.

JJ acoustics, sideJean & June performing with their acoustic bass and guitar

Having put aside acoustic instruments, their first band prior to Fanny was called The Svelts, featuring drummer Brie Berry, who temporary left but would later join Fanny. In 1968 by guitarist Addie Clement (former member of the California Girls) and drummer Alice de Buhr, who had moved from Mason City, Iowa to California at the age of seventeen in search of the proverbial fame and fortune. The four girls toured around the west in a pimped bus, mainly playing cover versions. Later on in 1968 Addie and Alice pursued their own vision and formed the all-girl band Wild Honey. Without anyone have seen OR heard them, Wild Honey got signed to WB subsidiary Reprise Records. In search for a keyboarder, Wild Honey had to face quite a struggle, as in the late 60s most girls would prefer the piano or church-organ over a Rockband – finally at the backstage area of the Whisky-a-Go-Go, June came in touch with Kim Fowley. He had an artist agent called Musicians’ Referral Service. A sort of agency that helps people finding each other. He helped Nickey Barclay find the musicians of Wild Honey, as he would later do for his most famous find The Runaways.

June-Millington-67-50The Svelts

Over several lineup shifts and changes, Wild Honey had June on guitar and Nickey rejoined after touring with the Joe Cocker Band, pretty much on advice of Mr. Cocker himself. The release of the first album was imminent and arouse the question of a new name – by the four musicians themselves, by their producer Richard Perry, by their label and by their management, the Blue peacock Company. Everyone agreed upon it ought to be a woman’s name, something short, memorable and at once feminine and bold. After considering a series of suggestions the band settled on the name Fanny, and the rest was history.

FannyFanny Reprise Promo

Admired and promoted by fellow musicians and so-to-speak scene makers like George Harrison, David Bowie, Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Rod Stewart, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, Rodney Bingenheimer and Kim Fowley – even before their self titled debut was published – the media wasn’t too much interested in Fanny, accusing them for trying too hard. By now they had become one of the favourite bands to play at Whisky-a-Go-Go – they were booked there so often that it was effectively a residency for them. Despite all criticism, Fanny would stand their ground and pave way for many all-girl groups to come in the cause of history. Finally with their second output, 1971’s ‘Charity Ball’ was well-received by both critics and the public, it’s title track hit the singles charts in the US, peaking at number 40 on the Billboard singles charts in November, and Fanny toured extensively to support the breakthrough.

June at Whiskey a Go GoFANNY playing at Whiskey-a-Go-Go

jeanfanny1972 and 1973 saw the publication of Fanny albums three – ‘Fanny Hill’ – and four – ‘Mother’s Pride’, produced by Todd Rundgren – working their way to become a respected live act and kicking doors open for female musicians, Fanny was no longer laughed at. They even passed the rock-cred “test of fire” by having one of their singles, Young and Dumb, banned by BBC Radio 1 (and by being banned from playing live at the Albert Hall – for being “too provocative”!). Living up to the expectations of being both women and rock musicians took its toll and Fanny and caused a temporary brake-up, resulting in both Alice and June. Alice was replaced by Brie Berry, former drummer of The Svelts while June’s shoes were filled by none other than Patti Quatro, best known as a member of The Pleasure Seekers with her sisters Suzi, Nancy and Arlene. This new line-up recorded the final Fanny album with the meaningful title ‘Rock And Roll Survivors’, published via Casablanca Records. The single ‘Butter Boy’ entered the Billboard singles charts in February, 1975 at number 29 – but by than Fanny had disbanded. A final effort in the spring of that very year found sisters June and Jean together again, accompanied by June’s friend Patti Macheta on percussion and vocals and Wendy Haas, wife of Martin Mull and an old friend of the original Fanny band members, on keyboards and vocals.

At the end of their career, Fanny discontinued the use of the band name and referred to themselves as the L.A. All-Stars. Refusing to act as Fanny again, the band even turned down a possible deal with Arista Records in early 1976.

Inspired by:

Fanny Rock

June Millington

Metal Maidens