A Castle On Top of A Hill: The True Story of Fanny

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In 1999, a fan wrote a letter to Rolling Stone. He was advocating for one of his favorite bands.

He wrote: “One of the most important female bands in American rock has been buried without a trace. And that is Fanny. They were one of the finest fucking rock bands of their time, in about 1973. They were extraordinary: They wrote everything, they played like motherfuckers, they were just colossal and wonderful, and nobody’s ever mentioned them. They’re as important as anybody else who’s ever been, ever; it just wasn’t their time. Revivify Fanny. And I will feel that my work is done.”

That fan was David Bowie. And he’s talking about a band formed by June and Jean Millington.

In the mid-1960s June and Jean were teenage Filipina sisters who felt out-of-place in their Sacramento high school. Then they discovered rock and roll. They started performing at local teen centers and school dances - and eventually formed a band that would tour all around California.

A few years later, they landed in L.A. and took the Sunset Strip by storm. From open mics to an unprecedented deal with Reprise to a lifestyle rubbing elbows with Mick Jagger, Bowie, and Bonnie Raitt. Everyone said Fanny was supposed to be the next big thing. But by 1975 they'd disbanded and faded into obscurity.

Music journalist Dylan Tupper Rupert interviews the Millington sisters for Lost Notes. They explain the price women pay for being truly ahead of their time.

June and Jean today, Credit: Marita Madeloni


June and Jean then, Credit: R Neal Izumi in Honolulu


Fanny Live, Credit: Bob Riegler


The Svelts in 1968: Jean, Brie, and June, Credit: Steve Griffith


Practicing at Fanny Hill, Credit: Linda Wolf. 


Fanny at Fanny Hill in Hollywood, Courtesy of June Millington


Fanny Hill album cover, recorded at Apple Studios in 1972
Playlist
[PLAYLIST GOES HERE]
Credits

This piece was written by Dylan Tupper Rupert, and produced by Paulina Velasco.

Special thanks to Lee Madeloni and Daniel Tinen for their help recording interviews with the Millington sisters, and thank you to June and Jean for sharing so much of their time and memories.

Producer: Myke Dodge Weiskopf
Associate Producer: Paulina Velasco
Executive Producer: Jessica Hopper
Creator and Executive Producer: Nick White

Host:
Jessica Hopper

Producers:
Paulina Velasco, Myke Dodge Weiskopf, Nick White