Fanny became the first all-female rock band to release an album on a major label when mega-producer Richard Perry signed the act to Reprise in 1969. Often missed is the other culture-changing element of Fanny—that, with Philippines-born sisters June (guitar) and Jean (bass) Millington, it also brought Asian rockers to the mainstream American music scene.
Although, at the time, the band had to endure unfair comparisons to topless casino novelty acts and unfounded criticism of their musicianship, the Millingtons, keyboardist Nickey Barclay, and drummer Alice de Buhr were incredibly passionate, focused, and hard-working. They rehearsed like demons, and, as live television and concert footage prove, they were a tight and powerful band that could negotiate various musical styles. Many popular artists of the 1970s came to appreciate that Fanny was exceptionally professional and had its own audience—especially in the U.K. and Europe—and the band was invited to tour with the Kinks, Humble Pie, Jethro Tull, Slade, and others. They performed on American Bandstand, The Sonny and Cher Show, and myriad national and international variety-TV shows, and even did session work for Barbra Streisand (Barbra Joan Streisand, 1971). Among their celebrity supporters were Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr, Deep Purple, Rod Stewart, and David Bowie, who famously name-checked Fanny as “one of the finest f**king rock bands of their time.”
In 1971, Fanny reached the commercial pinnacle of a top-40 song on the Billboard charts with the title song of their album Charity Ball. As a result, expectations were likely high for the follow-up release, and Perry brought the band to London to record at Apple Studios with renowned Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick. The mojo must have been tremendous—a Beatle would drop by here and there to check out the sessions, so there’s that—but the project was squeezed into a two-week window between concert performances. Happily, the band was tighter than Super Glue from its incessant touring.