Upson Downs

2010 - Band

The journey of one of this year’s inductees began in two Northern Iowa hometowns. Rusty Davis, from Newell, and Terry Klein, from Fort Dodge had each decided on a musical path and  in the 1960’s were performing with separate groups. With a call from,” DJ and the Runaways” the two paths would converge to fill temporary positions in that popular ensemble.

Time with The Runaways and a few other road groups, developed their unique harmonies and cemented a friendship that would lead them to the next intersection of their combined careers. In the early 1970’s, Terry and Rusty, now based in Northwest Iowa , combined their talents with a trio, then known as “George.” This pairing would eventually evolve into The Upson Downs.

The troupe logged thousands of miles from coast to coast, honing their entertainment skills over years of performances. A mainstay of premium clubs and showrooms, The Upson Downs were considered one of the top show groups throughout the 1970’s and  early 1980’s playing in LA, Lake Tahoe, Dallas, Miami, Cleveland, Chicago and New York City.

From recognition on the front page of the “Wall Street Journal” to a full page welcome from the Las Vegas Visitor, the band rode the crest of entertainment success. The Union Plaza in Las Vegas offered The Upson Downs top billing in the Omaha Lounge, where the group commanded the highest fee of any act. When opportunities provided a break in their touring, the group made time to record two albums and one single at IGL Studios in Milford.

Although Rusty and Terry continued to guide the front line, several outstanding performers would anchor the team throughout the years. At best estimate, more than 100 players added their extraordinary talents to the “Sights and Sounds of The Upson Downs” over the 21 years of almost nonstop touring. Names like Johnny Horn, Chuck Spavin, Tim Horseman, Bob York, Tim Obert, Mike McCormick, Al Klein, Gary Swanson, George Arnold, Kevin King and others provided the solid musical  foundation on which this amazing group was built.

The Upson Downs impressed audiences with their signature comedic timing, powerful vocals and instrumental quality along with an unequaled audience appeal which would continue until 1986.

In 2003, The Upson Downs were approached by producer Kelly Casey Spavin, hoping to reunite the group for a special Midwestern tour. In anticipation of that event, former band mate Chuck Spavin co-created 2 exclusive tribute CDs; “Back To Boji” and “Boji Blue Eyes”, which were recorded with Terry and Rusty at E.S.I. studios in St. Paul.

Several songs from those recordings garnered local radio play and the unmistakable sounds of The Upson Downs” could once again be heard in the Okoboji Air. Several sold out performances spanned three summers, five cities (including the Clay County Fair), and reacquainted thousands of longtime fans with their favorite group.

The Upson Downs are excited, and honored to accept this recognition of their place in the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Class of 2010.

The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum exists to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in Iowa by honoring achievements, educating youth and inspiring artists. Established in 1997, we are a501(c)(3) non-profit statewide organization with many areas of service.

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