February 28, 2008- Michael George ‘Mike’ Smith (the Dave Clark Five) was born on December 6, 1943 in in Edmonton, North London. His parents found he had a natural ability as a pianist that surfaced as early as age five. Smith started lessons in classical piano, and at age 13 passed the entrance exams at Trinity Music College in London.
He met Dave Clark first when they were both members on the same football team for the St. George Boys Club. At age 17, Dave asked him to join his band; his debut recording with the band was “I Knew It All the Time”/”That’s What I Said” in 1963. The band had 19 UK Top 40 hits, including ‘Bits and Pieces‘ and the No.1 single ‘Glad All Over’. They had US hits with ‘Because’, ‘I Like it Like That’ and ‘Glad All Over’, and set a record among British acts after appearing on the Ed Sullivan show 13 times.
December 9, 2006 – Frederick John Freddie Marsden was born on October 21, 1940 in Liverpool England’s Dingle area. His brother, Gerry, followed two years later. Their father, Fred, was a railway clerk who entertained the neighbours by playing the ukulele. With the vogue for skiffle music in the mid-Fifties, he took the skin off one of his instruments, put it over a tin of Quality Street and said to Freddie, “There’s your first snare drum, son.”
In 1957 the brothers appeared in the show Dublin to Dingle at the Pavilion Theatre in Lodge Lane. Studies meant little to either of them – Freddie left school with one O-level and worked for a candlemaker earning £4 a week, and Gerry’s job was as a delivery boy for the railways. Their parents did not mind and encouraged their musical ambitions. On leaving Francis Xavier grammar school, Freddie bought a full kit from his earnings as a candle maker.
May 19, 2006 – Frederick “Freddie” Garrity (Freddie and the Dreamers) was born on November 14, 1936 in Crumpsall, Manchester, England. The son of a miner, Garrity was educated locally. A talented schoolboy footballer, he was also steeped in his city’s popular entertainment tradition. After leaving school in 1956, he signed on for an engineering apprenticeship that would have lasted seven years had his musical talent not begun to emerge. He started to practice his guitar skills on the shopfloor of the Turbine factory, and show them off at staff dances. A fanatical Manchester United fan, he began to get pub gigs. Then, during the first year of his apprenticeship, he won a local talent contest with an Al Jolson impression.
He then worked as a milkman while playing in local skiffle groups: the Red Sox, the John Norman Four and, finally, the Kingfishers, who became Freddie and the Dreamers in 1959. The band itself consisted of Garrity on vocals, Roy Crewsdon, guitar, Derek Quinn, guitar, Pete Birrell, bass and Bernie Dwyer, on drums. In the early years of the band, Garrity’s official birth-date was given as 14 November 1940 to make him appear younger and, therefore, more appealing to the youth market who bought the majority of records sold in the UK.
August 31, 2004 – Carl Wayne (the Move/The Hollies) was born Colin David Tooley on August 18th 1943 in Winson Green, Birmingham, England. Carl grew up in the Hodge Hill district of Birmingham. Inspired by the American rock’n’roll of Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent, he formed The G-Men in the late 1950s, and joined local band The Vikings, where his powerful baritone and pink stage suit helped make them one of the leading rock groups in the Midlands of their time.
In 1963 they followed in the footsteps of the Beatles and other Liverpool bands, by performing in the clubs of Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Nuremberg etc. On returning to Birmingham, in the wake of the Beatles’ success, record companies were keen to sign similar guitar bands. The Vikings went with Pye Records, but all three singles failed to chart.
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