For the past month or so I have been harboring a little pain in my heart. That pain is called guilt. Guilt? Why would I be feeling guilty you might ask. Well, ever since I found out about the death of Freddie Garrity, front man for the 1960s British Invasion band The Dreamers, I’ve been feeling like I did him some wrong during his life because, in my career as an entertainment writer, I’ve always been fairly hard and cynical when it came to Freddie and the Dreamers. Now I’m not saying that now when Freddie Garrity is dead I’m changing my mind. Hell no! I still think they are pretty much the most mediocre British band to come out of the 1960s. However, I do feel that through my cynicism I may not have been fair to Freddie and I may have not understood what he was doing very well. I am still not a huge fan, but I’ve begun to rethink Freddie Garrity’s unique place on the music scene of the 1960s and I now realize that the real problem I had with The Dreamers was not their music, but the way they were marketed. The reality is that Freddie Garrity was a unique individual in our pop culture journey, and the Dreamers were unlike any other British band. So, to try to make it up to the late Freddie Garrity, I am going to do what Freddie did every day. I am going to put my dignity on the line as
CONFESSIONS OF A POP CULTURE ADDICT
TEACHES YOU TO “DO THE FREDDIE”:
A TRIBUTE TO FREDDIE GARRITY
However, before we get to the dance lesson, let’s take a look at its creator Freddie Garrity for a moment. Milkman by day and band leader by night, Freddie Garrity started his musical career as more of an entertainer and comedian than musician. In 1961, just like guys like Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Freddie Garrity was completely caught up in the “skiffle” sound that was coming out of his native England. However, unlike John and Paul, Freddie devised an idea to combine zany British comedy with the sound of the 1960s. Soon Freddie assembled The Dreamers and the group began to play in Manchester resorts as more of a comedy act than a pop band. However, the tides would change for the band when they performed a series of shows on the BBC. In 1963 Freddie and The Dreamers had their first top ten hit in the UK called, “You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody”. Following up with a series of television performances, The Dreamers’ appeal lay in the fact that they were distinctly different from other British bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Animals. The Dreamers were far more light-hearted and not nearly as pretentious. Their comedic zeal attracted audiences and The Dreamers had a number of top ten hits. However, by 1964, the interest began to wane in the UK. Yet, with The Beatles conquering America the time was right for Freddie and The Dreamers to follow suit and find themselves a bit of popularity there. Mind you, North America was clamoring for anything British. You could have given an ape from the London zoo a Beatles wig and a guitar and the American record buying public would have bought it as long as it was British. So Freddie and The Dreamers rode on The Beatles coattails to America, where “The Freddie” was born.
While on stage Freddie Garrity often did funny little dances as he sang. It was on an American music show that the host asked Freddie what the zany dance he did was called and Freddie, caught off guard, simply answered, “The Freddie”. Little did he know a dance sensation was about to be born. Kids all over the US began to imitate Garrity and “The Freddie” became a bona fide dance craze. The Dreamers quickly cut a track called, “Do the Freddie” that became an instant US hit. Oddly enough, British music fans found the whole thing completely stupid and neither the song “Do the Freddie” nor the dance itself, ever caught on in Britain.
Now friends, I gotta warn you, I can’t dance. I am a terrible dancer. However “The Freddie” I can do. Just as the song says, “It’s an easy dance/give yourself a chance/and Do the Freddie.” So here we go. Try to follow along.
1. First step is to get a copy of Freddie and The Dreamers’ 1965 album “Ready Freddie Go” Check out your local used record shops and flea markets for this gem.
It’s not exactly the White Album. Hell, it’s not even “Soupy Sales sez Do the Mouse”. You may notice that the album cover could be the worst band photo ever taken, as seen here –
Yeah… these guys weren’t exactly the Doors. Anyways, if you can’t find a copy of the album I guess you can download “Do the Freddie”.
2. Okay. Now get in a standing position and wait for the song to start. Has it started? Alright, now swing your left arm and your left leg up to the music like this:
3. Right. Now do the same thing but swing your right arm and your right leg up the same way.
4. Okay, now you can do a bit of a variation with this by thrusting both of your arms to the left while you throw your left leg in the air just like this.
5. Great. Now repeat that same move to the right this time:
6. Alright. Now that you got the hang of it it’s time to really cut loose and see if you can keep up with Freddie by dancing along to this clip of Freddie and the Dreamers performing “Do the Freddie” on the Ed Sullivan Show. Just how frantic and crazy can this man get? What is odd about this performance is that Garrity butchers the lyrics, getting most of the lyrics wrong! See for yourself!
Anyhow…were you able to keep up? Good! Now that you can “Do the Freddie” you can go to the local club and begin to impress your friends.
Seriously though, to Freddie Garrity – I don’t say this very often, but I may have been wrong with the way I slotted you. No, I’m not a Dreamers fan, but Freddie, you were really doing something unique during the British Invasion. We all need to laugh once in a while. Thank you for the music and the laughter and your goofy dance craze. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.