Fanny on the cover of their 1972 album Fanny Hill (clockwise from left: Jean Millington, June Millington, Alice de Buhr, Nickey Barclay)
|Genres||Rock, hard rock|
|Labels||Reprise Records, Casablanca Records, Blue Elan Records (2017)|
Alice de Buhr
Fanny was an American all-female band, active in the early 1970s. They were one of the first notable rock groups to be made up entirely of women, the third to sign with a major label (after Goldie & the Gingerbreads and the Pleasure Seekers), and the first to release an album on a major label (in 1970). They achieved two top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and released five albums.
Sisters June Millington (born April 14, 1948, Manila, Philippines) and Jean Millington (born May 25, 1949, Manila, Philippines) moved with their family from the Philippines to Sacramento, California in 1961. In high school they formed an all-girl band called the Svelts with June on guitar, Jean on bass, Addie Lee on guitar, and Brie Brandt on drums. Brandt was later replaced by Alice de Buhr (born September 4, 1949, Mason City, Iowa). When the Svelts disbanded, de Buhr and Lee formed another all-female group called Wild Honey. The Millington sisters later joined this band, which played Motown covers and eventually moved to Los Angeles.
Frustrated by a lack of success or respect in the male-dominated rock scene, Wild Honey decided to disband after one final open-mic appearance at the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles in 1969. They were spotted at this gig by the secretary of producer Richard Perry, who had been searching for an all-female rock band to mentor. Perry convinced Warner Bros. Records to sign the band, still known as Wild Honey, to Reprise Records. Prior to recording their first album, the band recruited keyboardist Nickey Barclay (born April 21, 1951, Washington, DC). The band was then renamed Fanny, not with a sexual connotation but to denote a female spirit. The initial lineup consisted of June Millington on guitar, Jean Millington on bass, Alice de Buhr on drums, Nickey Barclay on keyboards, and former Svelts member Brie Brandt on lead vocals and percussion. Richard Perry dismissed Brandt in an effort to downsize the band. The Millingtons and Barclay all assumed lead vocal duties on alternating songs, while de Buhr sang lead occasionally on later albums.
Perry produced the band's first three albums: Fanny (1970), Charity Ball (1971), and Fanny Hill (1972). Shortly after the release of the first album, Barclay temporarily quit the band to join Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen touring ensemble; Cocker advised her to return to Fanny. The title track "Charity Ball" from the second album reached #40 on the Billboard Hot 100. The members of Fanny also worked as session musicians, most notably on Barbra Streisand's 1971 album Barbra Joan Streisand. Their fourth album, Mother's Pride (1973), was produced by Todd Rundgren. With young engineer Leslie Ann Jones as their road manager and live sound mixer, Fanny toured worldwide, opening for Slade, Jethro Tull and Humble Pie, gaining widespread popularity in the United Kingdom. A 1971 article in Sounds remarked of the group, "seems that they are the support group to everyone these days".
After Mother's Pride, June Millington and Alice de Buhr left the band. Patti Quatro (sister of Suzi Quatro) joined on guitar, and Brie Brandt once again returned on drums. This lineup signed with Casablanca Records and released the final Fanny album, Rock and Roll Survivors, in 1974. Brandt left the band shortly after the album's completion when she married composer James Newton Howard, and was briefly replaced by Cam Davis. However, the band soon disintegrated even as "Butter Boy" became their biggest single, reaching #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1975.
One of the most important female bands in American rock has been buried without a trace. And that is Fanny. They were one of the finest... rock bands of their time, in about 1973. They were extraordinary... they're as important as anybody else who's ever been, ever; it just wasn't their time. Revivify Fanny. And I will feel that my work is done.— David Bowie
After the breakup, in 1975 the Millington sisters put together a new line-up of Fanny for a short tour, though no older Fanny material was played. This group ultimately morphed into a new all-women band called the L.A. All-Stars, which generated some interest from record labels, but with the stipulation that the band tour as Fanny and play only old Fanny songs, which June Millington opposed.
June Millington, described by Guitar Player as the hottest female guitar player in the music industry, released three solo albums in the 1980s and has had a career as a producer for artists including Holly Near, Cris Williamson and Bitch and Animal. June now operates the Institute for Musical Arts, a non-profit organization supporting girls and women in music.
Jean Millington was married to Bowie's guitarist Earl Slick for a time and is presently an herbalist. The Millingtons continued to record together after Fanny as well, most recently on the 2011 album Play Like a Girl on June's label Fabulous Records. Nickey Barclay released a solo album titled Diamond in a Junkyard in 1976 then withdrew from the music industry. Alice de Buhr later worked in marketing for several major record labels and presently runs the Fanny website.
Patti Quatro continued to work as a session musician for her sister Suzi Quatro as well as Electric Light Orchestra on A New World Record in 1976, Keith Moon, and France Gall, and recently has been involved in the reissue of material by the Quatro sisters' early band the Pleasure Seekers. Brie Brandt, later known as Brie Howard-Darling and currently as Brie Howard, had an active post-Fanny career, touring and recording with Electric Light Orchestra on A New World Record in 1976, Carole King, Jimmy Buffett, Elton John, Robbie Nevil, and Jack Wagner. She fronted the bands American Girls, which released one album in 1986; and Boxing Gandhis, which has released four albums since the mid-1990s. She's also had an active acting career starting with the 1982 film Android and is the mother of Playboy Playmate Brandi Brandt.
In 2002, Rhino Records released the deluxe, limited edition 4-CD box set First Time in a Long Time, which collects Fanny's first four studio albums plus live recordings, outtakes, and promotional items. A classic lineup reunion concert featuring the Millington sisters and Alice de Buhr (Nickey Barclay declined to appear for health reasons) was held at Berklee College of Music on April 20, 2007, where the band members received the Rockrgrl Women of Valor award for their achievements. All four original Fanny albums are available on Real Gone records, with updated liner notes, pictures, and new mixes.
In 2016, Brie Howard joined a live performance by the Millington sisters. This inspired the formation of a new band called Fanny Walked the Earth. An all-new album also titled Fanny Walked the Earth was released in March 2018. The album marks the first time June, Jean, and Brie all recorded at the same time in nearly 50 years.
- Jean Millington: bass guitar, vocals
- June Millington: guitar, vocals
- Nickey Barclay: keyboards, vocals
- Alice de Buhr: drums, vocals
- Patti Quatro: guitar, vocals
- Brie Howard: drums, vocals
- Cam Davis: drums
- Wendy Haas: keyboards, vocals
- Padi Moschetta: percussion, vocals
- Fanny (1970; Reprise Records, re-released on CD, 2013, Real Gone Music)
- Charity Ball (1971; Reprise Records, re-released on CD, 2014, Real Gone Music)
- Fanny Hill (1972; Reprise Records, re-released on CD, 2015, Real Gone Music)
- Fanny Live (1972; Slick Music)
- Mother's Pride (1973; Reprise Records, re-released on CD, 2016 Real Gone Music)
- Rock and Roll Survivors (1974; Casablanca Records; re-released by Cherry Red Records, 2009)
- First Time in a Long Time (box set, 2002; Rhino Records)
- Fanny Walked the Earth (2018)
-  Archived May 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
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- Anderman, Joan (20 April 2007). "Rocking the Boat". The Boston Globe.
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- Gaar, Gillian G. (2002). She's a rebel: the history of women in rock & roll (2 ed.). Seal Press. p. 142. ISBN 1-58005-078-6.
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- Roberta Russell, "June Millington's Attitude of Fearlessness", Expository Magazine (3 August 2004) www.expositorymagazine.net/2004/june-millington.php
- Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Women Composers and Music Technology in the United States: Crossing the Line(Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006):213.
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- "Jean Millington of Fanny". Bramfoto.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
- "ROCKRGRL To Present Women Of Valor Award To Fanny, The First All Female Band To Release Major Label Album". Music Industry News Network. January 31, 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- "Real Gone Reissues Fanny's Mother's Pride". That Devil Music. June 17, 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- Giles, Jeff (2018). "Rock Pioneers Fanny Return with a New Album and a New Name". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- Powers, Ann (February 14, 2018). "Songs We Love: Fanny Walked The Earth, 'Lured Away'". NPR Music. NPR. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- Official website
- Kickstarter Project: Play Like A Girl
- Fan forum and portal: Fanny Seven Roads (F7R)
- Metalmaidens' general history on the band
- Boston Herald article touching on 2007 reunion[permanent dead link]
- Berklee press release announcing the Rockrgrl award
- NY Daily News article on new album Play Like a Girl