Monday, 22 August 2011

Mono Mondays: Frank Ifield

This week's star of Mono Monday's topped the British charts on no less than four occasions in the early 60s, was a regular crowd puller on TV and radio, shared an album credit with The Beatles in the U.S. and he could yodel pretty good too - Frank Ifield!

Despite his tag as an Australian - English country music singer Frank was actually born in Coventry, England in 1937, though he moved with his parents to a rural part of Australia called Dural in 1946. It was in Dural, Frank learned how to sing country music and yodel. He began to forge a career as a number  one recording artist in New Zealand and Australia and ultimately returned to the UK in 1959 where he still had to make any impact at all.

Under the direction of EMI's Norrie Paramor , Frank released his first UK Single in 1960 entitled Lucky Devil, though it wouldn't be until 1962 that he would score his first number one with I Remember You. Frank's following single Lovesick Blues also reached the UK Number One slot in 1962 an uptempo number which featured a classy piece of yodelling.

Two more number ones followed in 1963 with The Wayward Wind and Confessin', quite an achievement  for a chart that was rapidly making way for new beat acts such as The Beatles, Gerry and The Pacemakers and The Searchers.

Frank scored further hits, perhaps most notably a new arrangement of Bing Crosby's popular hit  Please, a cut Norrie Paramor noted on the sleeve notes of Frank's 1964 Greatest Hits album to send a copy to Mr Crosby himself... I wonder what Bing thought of it?

Frank also shared musician credits on an American album released by VeeJay Records in 1964 entitled Jolly What!: Englands Greatest recording Stars: The Beatles and Frank Ifield on Stage.

Described as a "cash in" album on The Beatles early US success - Veejay held the rights to some of The Fab Four's early recordings before they cracked the States.

Taking four of these (including From Me To You which didn't appear on any other US Beatle LP until the release of The Beatles 1962-1966 in 1973)  they paired them with 8 tracks by Frank.

Despite the impression the albums title gave; neither The Beatles or Frank Ifield tracks are live recordings.

The album didn't do very well and even when later re-released featuring artwork of The Beatles on the cover failed to attract many sales. The album is a much sought after collectors item particularly for its curio value, so if you do happen across one of these albums, look well after it!

Frank's career has continued though his chart entries dwindled, however a remix of an old B-Side of She Taught Me How To Yodel did enter the charts in 1991.

He is still a fondly remembered act of the early sixties however and I was told by a friend of someone who worked with him in the 60s what a lovely chap he was with a big beaming smile and time for everyone who met him!

You can check out Frank Ifield's official website here!

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