Dennis Yost, the lead singer for the group Classic IV (known best for its indelible hit “Spooky”), passed away in Hamilton early Sunday morning. Though not a Cincinnati native, he had lived here for several years and was embraced by the local music community.
Prior to a planned Classics IV 40th anniversary tour in 2005, Yost fell down some stairs and suffered serious brain injuries. He was unable to perform again. Several local bands (including cover band BlueStone Ivory) joined together to hold a benefit show to help Yost and his wife with medical expenses at the Rhino’s Live club in Sharonville a couple of years ago.
Yost ultimately died from respiratory failure. He was 65.
In the late ’60s, Yost and the Classics IV, then living in Atlanta, scored a No. 3 hit with “Spooky,” a song that went on to be covered by everyone from the Atlanta Rhythm Section and, most famously, Dusty Springfield to Imogen Heap and Love and Rockets’ Daniel Ash. The band had two more Top 5 hits, including “Traces” and “Stormy,” the latter having since been covered by The Supremes and Santana and heavily sampled on John Legend’s song “Save Room.”
Make a toast and listen to the original version of “Spooky,” one of the finest American hit singles of the late ’60s, heard in the video below (with a cool photo montage featuring Yost and Co.).