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An Open Letter to Chartmasters: Making the Case for Fanny

A band you simply have to hear.

Jasmine-Kay Johnson

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To whom it may it concern at Chartmasters, 

I recently read an article on your site about 38 must-buy albums from the 70s. I realize that the rankings were based on Spotify streams, but I would like to make an addendum.  

You see, I was introduced to a band a few months ago through the Switched on Pop podcast. As the title, “The Greatest Pop Stories Never Told” (with Jessica Hopper), suggests, the episode detailed the virtually unheard stories of one musician’s reckoning with his teenage faults and the rise and fall of an all-female rock band pre-The Runaways.

That band was Fanny

Fanny was formed in the early 70s by June and Jean Millington, two sisters who immigrated to California from the Philippines as teenagers. The sisters grew up playing music together and eventually started a band in high school called the Svelts. They later joined a band called Wild Honey with Addie Lee and Alice de Buhr. They were signed to Reprise Records in 1969 as Wild Honey, but renamed themselves Fanny. 

Upon hearing the story of their time together, I fell into a rabbit hole of Googling and musical exploration. I was, and continue to be, completely mesmerized by them (and upset that I didn’t get the chance to see them live when they first arrived on the scene).

Their 1970 self-titled debut has a timelessness about it that surprised me when I heard it for the first time. It teeters on the line between fun and serious.

You can rock out to “I Just Realised” and “It Takes a Lot of Good Lovin’,” stretch out and bob your head to “Come and Hold Me” or ponder the experience that “Conversation with a Cop” walks you through as a listener. 

What I’m trying to say is that Fanny deserves to be on this list. Or, if not this one then another. How could you beat an underappreciated band loved by David Bowie himself? 

So Chartmasters, I know that my request doesn’t exactly fit into the terms presented in the original article, but maybe bend the rules a little.

Despite my writing this letter to you more than 30 years after their formation, I believe that Fanny should be heard far and wide. Keeping in mind their success and praise from big names, they were a bit of an “exception to the rule” in an age where women and immigrants weren’t exactly celebrated. They can be an exception to the rule now as well 🙂

Keeping in mind their success and praise from big names, they were a bit of an “exception to the rule” in an age where women and immigrants weren’t exactly celebrated. They can be an exception to the rule now as well 🙂

Yours truly, 

Jasmine-Kay Johnson, the self-proclaimed future president of the Fanny fanclub 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Jasmine-Kay is a senior at the University of Missouri studying journalism with an emphasis in magazine publishing and management. She is an editor for the Genius Knowledge Project and posts her own music-related writing on her website (jasmine-kayjohnson.com). Her hope is to obtain a master's in music business from NYU after undergrad.

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