It’s the A to Z Challenge out there, but that doesn’t change things as far as Two for Tuesday here. And, since today’s letter is “F”, I thought I’d take a British Invasion band whose name starts with that letter, namely Freddie & the Dreamers. (This is not today’s A to Z post; that’ll be out in an hour.)
Freddie Garrity was a little guy (5’3″) who looked a lot like Buddy Holly and put on an energetic performance any time you saw him, jumping all over the place and generally acting like a crazy man. He and the Dreamers (Roy Crewdson, guitar; Derek Quinn, guitar and Harmonica; Peter Birrell, bass; Bernie Dwyer, drums) were from Manchester, although they were generally counted among the Merseybeat bands (e.g. The Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers). As their popularity decreased in the UK, it gained steam in the US, but it was pretty much over by the late 1960’s. They were not especially well thought of. Paul McCartney said that the Beatles’ decision to write their own material was driven by hearing Freddie perform the Beatles’ arrangement of “If Ya Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody” and not getting credit for it. Lester Bangs wrote this in The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll:
“Freddie and the Dreamers [had] no masterpiece but a plentitude [sic] of talentless idiocy and enough persistence to get four albums and one film soundtrack released … the Dreamers looked as thuggish as Freddie looked dippy … Freddie and the Dreamers represented a triumph of rock as cretinous swill, and as such should be not only respected, but given their place in history.”
Their first hit in the US was “I’m Telling You Now.” It reached #1 on the Hot 100 in Spring 1965.
Their next hit in the US was “Do The Freddie.” The band had hoped it would spark a dance craze; the album of the same name had the dance steps included, drawn by Arthur Murray. The song reached #18 on the Hot 100 in late 1965. Fair warning: During the instrumental break in the middle of the song, Freddie lets out a scream a couple of times.
The band continued to tour with a shifting lineup until 2001, when Freddie was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and was forced to retire. He died five years later.
Freddie & the Dreamers, your Two for Tuesday, April 7, 2015.