In the early 1960s, the pop music flood that was the British Invasion included several bands that tried to present something a little different from what was being offered by the likes of the Beatles and Rolling Stones. One of the groups that seemed to be having a lot of fun was Freddy and the Dreamers, a quintet that performed in a goofy comedic style and also featured a strange dance named after its leader.
Freddie Garrity was active in the British skiffle movement in the 1950s, but by the time the Beatles became a sensation in the early 1960s he was leading a pop group known as Freddie and the Dreamers. The combo, which included Peter Birrell, Roy Crewdson, Derek Quinn, and Bernie Dwyer, had enjoyed a couple of hit records in the UK, and soon took itself across the Atlantic to try to duplicate the success of earlier British imports.
Although “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody” and “You Were Made for Me” were also Top Ten hits in the UK, the group’s only big US hit was “I’m Telling You Now.” But it was a huge success, reaching #1 on the charts, and for a while the band seemed to be everywhere. Appearing on tour and on TV, Freddie and his guys performed with a silly stage persona that included some comedy and also what they called the ‘Freddie’ — an awkward dance of sorts that featured Garrity bouncing and kicking as he sang, while his bandmates danced along with surprising precision.
Since new dances were always popping up in that era, it didn’t take long for the Freddie to picked up by guys like Chubby Checker, but it was a short-lived fad. Freddie and the Dreamers soon began to fade in popularity too, at least in the US, but continued to entertain fans for a while back in the UK before finally dissolving in the late 1960s. In later years, Garrity led newly-constructed groups off and on, finding occasional success before ill health slowed him down and eventually caused his retirement. He was 69 when he died in 2006.