The all-female band Fanny made history. A new document sheds light on this.


JUNE MILLINGTON EXIT Fanny at the end of 1973 partly due to a near “nervous breakdown”, she said in a video interview. “I’m glad I left because I knew my life was at stake on a major level.” She sat in front of a crackling fire at her home on the campus of the Institute for the Musical Arts, a nonprofit recording and retirement center she co-founded with longtime partner Ann Hackler in Goshen , Mass. On the fireplace were various Buddhist artifacts – Millington is a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism – and a framed photo of Jimi Hendrix.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back,” Millington said, was the record company’s insistence that Fanny, whose members preferred ’70s California chic, dress in glamorous, more revealing outfits on stage. (“My top was $45 American pieces, looped together, that just pinched my nipples,” de Buhr said.) Millington saw this as a sign that Reprise had lost faith in the band. “I took that as an insult,” she said.

A new version of Fanny – featuring Adamian, Barclay, Darling and Quatro – signed with Casablanca Records and released one final album, “Rock and Roll Survivors”, in 1974. This record included the single “Butter Boy” who Adamian says was inspired by — but not about, as has been widely reported — her then-boyfriend Bowie and his sex-bending ways.

“‘He was hard as a rock, but I was ready to roll, what a shock to find out I was in control,'” Adamian said, reciting the song’s opening lines. “I mean, those kind of lyrics were very ironic and meant to be provocative.” “Butter Boy” became Fanny’s biggest hit, reaching No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1975. But by then the band had split up for both artistic and personal reasons.

Fanny has technically never reunited. But in 2016, Millington, Adamian and Darling performed together at a gig in Northampton, Mass., a collaboration that led to the self-titled album “Fanny Walked the Earth.” This LP features guest appearances from de Buhr and Quatro, as well as Valentine from the Go-Gos and members of the other all-female bands, the Runaways and the Bangles.

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