Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Freddie Garrity (1940 - 2006) (Freddie and the Dreamers)

Freddie Garrity was born in 1940 in England. As a teenager he learned to play the guitar and was soon involved in the skiffle craze of the late 50s. Freddie joined several bands including The Red Sox and The Kingfishers before deciding to form his own group. The Buddy Holly look-a-like, with glasses and a cackling, infectious laugh, was the ideal front man with his acrobatics and comic dance routines. The Dreamers all came from Manchester and the lineup was Roy Crewsdon (guitar), Derek Quinn (lead guitar and harmonica), Peter Birrell (bass), and Bernie Dwyer (drums). In 1961 the group auditioned for BBC radio and featured on a couple of radio programs. They played the English dance circuit before taking a residency at The Top Ten Club in Hamburg, Germany. Freddie and the Dreamers turned professional in 1962 and signed with EMI/Columbia Records. Their first single came out, in 1963 and was a cover of James Ray's “If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody” .The single rocketed to #2 on the U.K. singles chart.

Follow ups were written by Mitch Murray which also charted, these were catchy, bright pop tunes and I'm Telling You Now (co-written by Freddie Garrity) and You Were Made For Me were all hits. "You Were Made for Me", was turned down by The Searchers.

1964 was also another good year for the Mancurian band who were now thought of as being among the top British bands of their day. Three more UK hits were Over You, I Love You Baby, and I Understand.

The Dreamers were perfectly competent musicians but did not play on all the records. Instead professional session musicians like Big Jim Sullivan (guitar) featured. The group continued to tour and appeared with Roy Orbison on a National Tour. They finished 1964 with an appearance in The Beatles 1964 Christmas show at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. Freddie and the Dreamers broke through into the U.S. market in 1965 and I'm Telling You Now, went to #1 in the US Charts. They toured the country and appeared on all the pop music TV shows including Shindig! and Hullaballoo.

Part of their appeal was the group would appear on stage and perform pre-rehearsed, synchronized dance routines and the Freddie became a short lived dance craze in the US. Do the Freddie was the single released to promote the new dance craze.

Freddie and the Dreamers did a world tour including stops in Australia and New Zealand, and a second trip to the U.S. Unfortunately Freddie and the Dreamers did not write much of their own material, and relied instead on their producers to choose material for the records. As popular music tastes changed Freddie and the Dreamers failed to keep and soon their records sales dropped. Despite the lack of chart success the band continued doing well on the club and cabaret circuit. They continued recording and touring until 1968 when they broke up. At their peak Freddie and the Dreamers appeared in several films including What A Crazy World (1963), Just for You (1964), Seaside Swingers (1965), and Cuckoo Patrol (1967).

After the band broke up Freddie Garrity and Pete Birrell went on to host a children's TV series, called The Little Big Time.

Freddie Garrity formed an all-new Freddie and the Dreamers in 1976, and continued playing the oldies circuit in the U.S., U.K., and Australia into the 1990s. Freddie Garrity retired due to pulmonary hypertension, and died in 2006. Bernie Dwyer died in 2002 of lung cancer; Pete Birrell became a taxi driver. Roy Crewsdon now runs a bar in Tenerife, while Derek Quinn lives in Cheshire and is in distribution.

Worth a listen:
If you are going to make a fool of somebody (1963)
I'm Telling You Now (1963)
You Were Made For Me (1963)
Over You (1964)
I Love You Baby (1964)
I Understand (1964)
I Love You Baby (1964)
Just For You (1964)
A Little You (1965)
Thou Shalt Not Steal (1965)
Do the Freddy

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