As the British kept invading America, more and more groups and individuals were heard on this side of the pond. We know that the Beatles started the whole thing and then came Peter and Gordon and Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy J Kramer. We will soon see the coming of the Rolling Stones. But, all of those groups are pretty serious. It took a new group from Manchester to lighten the mood a little bit.
Freddie of Freddie and the Dreamers was born Frederick Garrity in 1939 in Crumpsall, Manchester. Some biographies show his birth date as 1940 to make him appear younger, but I don’t know what difference a year would make. Every picture I have seen of Freddie shows him smiling. I can only assume he was a very happy fellow. He loved skiffle music and joined several groups as a youth, including the Red Sox, the John Norman Four and the Kingfishers. It was the Kingfishers that morphed into the Dreamers.
Freddie became famous because of all the antics he would do on stage. He would jump around and his thin figure, almost skeletal, and horn-rimmed glasses made him look really funny on stage. He soon made a name for himself.
“I’m Telling You Now” was written by Freddie and Mitch Murray. Murray was a British songwriter who wrote songs for many of the stars to come out of Britain in the Sixties. He wrote for the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Dave Clark Five and many more. He joined up with Freddie in 1963 and the two of them wrote “I’m Telling You Now.” The song was released in England and in the United States in 1963, but the record was not successful. Then the Beatles came along in 1964 and the country was looking to England for new acts, so they decided to re-release the record and the second time was the charm as it went all the way to the top.
The video is especially fun to watch as Freddie and the group dance “the Freddie” which was promoted the next year as a new dance craze. It didn’t really take off like some of the other dances, but it’s still fun to watch. Freddie and the Dreamers did release several more records after “I’m Telling You Now,” but none had the success of that first hit. The band stayed together until the late Sixties when they broke up. Some version of the group toured for many years with Freddie Garrity at the head.
In 2001, Freddie was diagnosed with emphysema and was forced to retire. In 2006, he died as a result of the disease. He was 64 years old.
“I’m Telling You Now” entered the pop charts in America on March 27, 1965 and spent two weeks at number one. I have to admit it is one of my favorite songs from the British invasion years.