Freddie and the Dreamers rose to prominence in England and then rode the wave of the British Invasion on the American pop charts in the mid-60's. The group was known for its on-stage antics, led by Freddie Garrity.
Freddie Garrity was born in Manchester, England in 1940. As a teenager he loved the skiffle music that was popular in England in the 1950's, and which was popularized by Lonnie Donegan and His Skiffle Group. Garrity worked as a milkman while in his teens but his real love was performing. In 1959, along with his brother Derek, he performed with a makeshift skiffle group in Manchester called the Red Sox, and later, the Kingfishers.
Freddie liked to move around while the group was performing. His antics were front and center. Other members of the group, undoubtedly influenced by watching performances of the popular British group the Shadows, came up with some moves of their own behind Freddie. It became part comedy act, part music group. By 1961 it had been renamed Freddie and the Dreamers. The group included Derek Quinn on lead guitar, Roy Crewsdon on rhythm guitar, Pete Birrell on bass, and Bernie Dwyer on drums.
The group was making a name for itself and appeared on a British chidren's television show, which led to a recording contract with BMI/Columbia. They began to record songs, some written by Mitch Murray (who wrote songs for Gerry and the Pacemakers), and some by Freddie Garrity. In 1963 and 1964, Freddie and the Dreamers put several hits in the British top five. Their first was If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody, followed by I'm Telling You Now. They had become full-fledged rock stars -- in England.
Other hits followed -- Murray's You Were Made For Me and a cover of an early 50's Four Tunes hit I Understand (Just How You Feel). So did appearances in movies -- What A Crazy World and Every Day's A Holiday.
By 1964 the group had become established, and the Beatles and others were having a huge impact across the Atlantic in the United States. Freddie and the Dreamers toured the USA, and the Tower and Mercury labels issued some of the group's records in America. In early 1965, I'm Telling You Now became the group's first hit in America, and topped the American charts. Others were issued -- I Understand (Just How You Feel) and You Were Made For Me. Touring and television appearances showed the group and its clownish antics to an American audience. They popularized a dance -- The Freddie -- for a brief time, and had a hit only in the United States with Do The Freddie, in 1965.
The hits stopped coming. The group returned to England and continued to perform for the balance of the decade. The music scene was changing once again, and Freddie and the Dreamers broke up in the early 70's.
Freddie Garrity and Pete Birrell joined the cast of a children's television series in England titled Little Big Time. As time passed Garrity formed new rosters of Freddie and the Dreamers and put on shows around the British Isles. Drummer Bernie Dwyer died in 2002 at age 62.
In his later years Freddie Garrity suffered from systemic sclerosis and emphysema. He was hospitalized with circulatory problems and passed away at a hospital in Bangor, North Wales on May 19, 2006 at age 65. Freddie and the Dreamers are remembered by music fans from the 60's as a group that had a few catchy songs and quite a stage presence.
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