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Frank IFIELD OAM (1978)

Frank Ifield

1937 – Born on the 30th of November in Coventry, England, to Australian parents.

1947 – Age 10- was influenced by his grandfather who had toured with the minstrel show as the Song & Dance host 'Mr Interlocutor'

1948 – Age 11, family travel back to Australia to the then semi rural area of Dural. Parents gave him a ukulele and he quickly learned to make the chords fit any song he sang.

1949 – Given his first guitar.

1950 – Age 13, the Ifield’s move to the Sydney suburb of Beecroft. Conned his way to appearing on radio 2GB's Australia's Amateur Hour, which eventually led to a recording contract with EMI Regal Zonophone.

1952 – Age 15, appears on Tim McNamara’s Music Show after hearing that one artists has not turned up for his spot at  Hornsby, talks Tim into letting him perform. He was a regular on Nestles –(renamed) Bonnington’s Bunkhouse Radio shows. Joined Ted Quigg Show and worked the busy Sydney Clubs and hotel circuits.

1953 – Age 16,  EMI recorded Ifield on his first Regal Zonophone  outing with “Did You See My Daddy Over There” and “There’s a Love Knot in My Lariat”

1956 – Became the first country singer to appear on the second day of TV broadcasting.  Soon he had his own TV Show – “Campfire Favourites”.

1957 - National Service put an abrupt halt his career. After being demobbed had his own TV series called “Campfire Favourites” on TCN Channel 9.

By the end of the 50’s, he recorded more than 40 sides – firstly on Regal Zonophone 78s, then on Columbia 45s and even had one of the first LP records to be recorded in Australia, “Yours Sincerely”. The first tracks were recorded with just Frank’s guitar for accompaniment, but he later went on to record with country bands and some of the best jazz and session musicians in the country. Toured the country with Big Chief Little Wolf.
1959 – Age 21, his ambition to travel to England comes true.  He heads out and leaves for the UK.

His repertoire then consisted of entirely country music and he was heavily influenced by people like, Slim Dusty, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and Tim McNamara.  He was lucky enough to meet “Norrie Paramor” of Columbia Records they eventually became close friends.  Country Music at that time hadn’t made such an impression in Britain.  Norrie was sceptical about Frank’s desire to record it.

1959    - First recording session at Abbey Road Studios for Columbia EMI UK, including “Lucky Devil” and “Nobody Else But You”.

1960 - Played the title role of Dick Whittington in 1st Pantomime staged at the Globe Theatre, Stockton Yorkshire supporting 'The Shadows' who played the 'Brokers Men'.

1960 -  Released the following singles -“Happy Go Lucky Me” “Unchained Melody”, “Gotta Get A Date”, “No Love Tonight”, “That’s The Way It Goes”, Hoebe Snow”, “Life’s A Holiday” “Tobacco Road”. “Your Time Will Come” “That’s The Way It Is”. Wrote “I Listen To My Heart” in 10 minutes whilst at the beach.

1961 – Released “Alone Too Long” “Bigger Than You And Me”. Whilst these releases were reasonable successful Frank was still looking for a bit hit.

1962 – Recorded “I Remember You”, backed by “I Listen to my Heart”. Released on June 29th 1962, the first indicator of what was to come was when David Jacobs’ prestigious TV show “Juke Box Jury”, voted the record a “unanimous hit”. In early July, it reached the number one spot in the UK and had gone Silver within 2 weeks of release. It remained at number one for 7 weeks – in one day, 17th July, it sold 102,500 copies - in one half hour period alone selling 32,750. The single proceeded to stay in the chart for 28 weeks, sold millions of copies. “Lovesick Blues” backed by “She Taught Me To Yodel” were released after Frank appeared on the Royal Variety Performance. The Queen Mother said she had heard that Frank could and would he yodel “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” that night? Frank did not have the words or music to “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” with him but he did agree to yodel “She Taught Me To Yodel”.

“The Wayward Wind”, “Nobody’s Darling But Mine” and “I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You)”.  You Don’t Have To Be A Baby To Cry” also became hits for Frank.

1963 – In May Frank was awarded the Weekend Magazine Showbusiness award for “Top Male Vocal” and in June the new single was released. Within a few days Frank was rewarded with his fourth number one. “I’m Confessin’” stayed at number one for two weeks. 2nd Pantomime proclaimed a blockbuster for Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre. The show 'Mother Goose', co-starred Oscar winning actress Beryl Reid. Did video clip on Manly Beach of Wayward Wind for 'Top Of The Pops' BBC-TV.

Frank’s second LP and his first UK album in the very country-influenced “I’ll Remember You” (Columbia SCX 3460), which became a major seller. It was followed the same year by the equally country-flavoured “Born Free” (Columbia SCX 3485).

1964 – Another whirlwind year, Frank had made it to the top of the business and demonstrated that he could stay there. He had also had two more LPs released, “Blue Skies” (Columbia SCX 3505) and “Frank Ifield’s Greatest Hits” (33SX 1633).

1965 –Frank starred in the film “Up Jumped A Swagman” and enjoyed a very successful soundtrack album (Columbia SCX 3559) for which he re-recorded “I Remember You Issued to promote the film, “I Guess” was coupled with “Then Came She” from the pantomime “Babes In The Wood” in which Frank played Robin Hood, once again working in pantomime with The Shadows.

November 8th, Royal Performance in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen of England at the Palladium Theatre.

Same year Frank and Gillian Bowden marry.

1966 – Voted one of the ten Best British Male Vocalist International Country Music. Arrived in Nashville and signed to Hickory records in the USA. Appeared on 'The Grand Ole Opry' in Nashville Tennessee with Roy Acuff. Made a member of the Red Carpet Club by the Nashville Area Chamber Of Commerce and received Honorary Citizenship Of The State Of Tennessee from the then Governor of Tennessee, Frank Clements.

1967 – Release of the strongly country LP “The Singer And The Song”.

1971 – Featured prominently in “New Musical Express” Top 50 world famous artists over the past 15 years.

1973 – Came first in the Lubjana Song Festival representing Great Britain.

1974 – Special Guest Artiste at the Lubjana Song Festival.

1978 – Inducted in Hands of Fame in Tamworth.

1978 – Apart From the UK and Australia he was also a star in The Netherlands where he received two Gold Discs for record sales.

Late 70’s - Set up his own label, “Frank Ifield Records” (FIR).

1980 – Britain established Frank as Britain’s No 1 country music star. The Guinness Book Of Records proclaimed that Frank had by this time, notched up a staggering 158 weeks in the UK Pop Charts and also held #24 in the 'Top 100 Chart Hits Of All Time'

1981 – Voted Best British Male Vocalist International Country Music Awards, Wembley. Made Honorary Citizen (of) the State of Kansas.

1982 – While touring Australia his father lost his battle with cancer. His marriage breaks down. The stress resulted in pneumonia and in Sydney to recuperate suffers with a collapsed lung. The operation to repair his lung, whilst successful, leaves Frank unable to sing.

1982-1983 – Male Entertainer of the Year awarded at Midem International Music Festival by the International Country Music Association of America.

1983 – Start of a new career - hosted TV and radio shows; Instigated the Galston Country Music Festival; Became the patron for The Music & Arts Talent Search (MATS); Started the annual presentation of 'The International Spur Award' given to Australian CM artists who Frank felt had overseas appeal and; lined up UK and European tours for the most promising.

2003 - Elevated to the “Country Music Roll Of Renown” in Tamworth.

2004 received the TIARA (Tamworth Independent Artist Recognition Awards) for Services To The Industry.

2007 – Inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

2009 - Awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the arts as an entertainer.

2010 – Mo Awards inducted into the Hall of Fame.

A wax sculpture of Frank is on display in the Big Golden Guitar Wax Museum in Tamworth.