Freddie & the Dreamers were the clowns of the British Invasion, playing their pop music for laughs while the other groups of the time were dead serious. Lead singer Freddie Garrity began playing in skiffle groups in the late '50s, switching to rock & roll in the early '60s. After the Beatles broke the American market wide open, Freddie & the Dreamers followed in the flood of acts that tried to duplicate the overwhelming success of the Fab Four. The group's hits were more numerous in the U.K. than in America, where they had only one Top Ten hit, the number one "I'm Telling You Now." As 1965 turned into 1966, the group stopped charting in the U.S. and the hits began to dwindle in the U.K.; by 1968 the original group disbanded. Garrity later assembled new versions of the Dreamers, and the group toured for two decades; however, Garrity's health began to decline and he became acutely ill on a plane from New York to Britain in 2001, reportedly due to emphysema. Subsequently often confined to a wheelchair, he died in Bangor, Wales, on May 19, 2006 at the age of 69.
The band consisted of Freddie Garrity (14 November 1936 – 19 May 2006), vocals; Roy Crewdson (born 29 May 1941), guitar; Derek Quinn (born 24 May 1942, Manchester), guitar and harmonica; Peter Birrell (born 9 May 1941, Manchester), bass; and Bernie Dwyer (11 September 1940 – 4 December 2002), drums.
Although the band were grouped as a part of the Merseybeat sound phenomenon that The Beatles exploded around the world in the wake of Beatlemania, they came from Manchester. Prior to becoming a singer, Garrity had worked as a milkman in Manchester.
They had four Top 10 UK hits: a cover of James Ray's hit "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody", which reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in mid-1963, "I'm Telling You Now" (number 2 in August), "You Were Made For Me" (number 3 in November) and "I Understand", which hit the number 5 spot in November 1964.
Session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan played on a couple of the records,"I Understand", "A Little You", "Thou Shalt Not Steal", "Just For You" ".
On stage the group performed pre-rehearsed, synchronised wacky dance routines. They appeared in four British films: What a Crazy World with Joe Brown, Just for You, The Cuckoo Patrol and Every Day's A Holiday (US title Seaside Swingers) with Mike Sarne, Ron Moody and John Leyton.
Between 1970 and 1973 Garrity and Birrell appeared in the UK ITV children's show Little Big Time, a zany music/talent/adventure show with audience participation.
The group made a guest appearance in the BBC sitcom Dear John.
Freddie and the Dreamers were a British musical band who had a number of hit records between May 1963 and November 1965. Their act was based around the comic antics of the 5-foot-3-inch-tall (1.60m) Freddie Garrity, who was famous for bouncing around the stage with arms and legs flying.
Freddie and the Dreamers, with a few different line-ups of newer Dreamers, remained a touring band into the 1990s. They appeared with other artists from the same era such as Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Troggs and Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits.
Garrity retired due to pulmonary hypertension, and died on 19 May 2006 . Drummer Dwyer died on 4 December 2002 of lung cancer; Birrell became a taxicab driver. Crewdson now runs a bar in Tenerife, while Quinn lives in Cheshire and is in distribution.