Francis Edward Ifield OAM (born 30 November 1937, Coundon) is an English-Australian country music singer and guitarist who often incorporated yodelling. After living in Australia, Ifield returned to the United Kingdom in November 1959 where he had four number-one hits on the UK Singles Chart with his cover versions of "I Remember You" (May 1962), "Lovesick Blues" (December), "The Wayward Wind" (March 1963) and "Confessin' That I Love You" (September). In 2003, Ifield was inducted into the Australian Roll of Renown. Ifield was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame at the ARIA Music Awards of 2007. In 1986 he contracted pneumonia, which resulted in removal of part of a lung and damage to his vocal cords. He relocated to Sydney in 1988 and was unable to sing or yodel for years as he recovered. In June 2009 he was presented with the Medal of the Order of Australia, "For service to the arts as an entertainer". He was first married to Gillian Bowden (1965–88) and the couple had two children. His second marriage was to Carole Wood (1992–present). In 2005 he co-wrote his autobiography, I Remember Me: the First 25 Years, with Pauline Halford.
|Birth name||Francis Edward Ifield|
|Born||30 November 1937|
Coundon, Coventry, England
|Associated acts||Dick Carr Buckaroos|
Frank Ifield was born in 1937 in Coundon, Warwickshire, England, to Australian parents Richard Joseph Ifield (1909–1982) and Hannah Muriel Ifield (c. 1916–2012), as one of seven sons. His parents had travelled to England in 1936, where his father was an inventor and engineer who created the Ifield fuel pump, for Lucas Industries, which was used in jet aircraft.
The Ifield family returned to Australia in January 1948 aboard the Orion. They lived near Dural, 50 km (31 mi) north-west of Sydney. It was a rural district and he listened to hillbilly music (later called country music) while milking the family's cow. He was given a guitar in 1949 by his grandmother and was self-taught; he also taught himself to yodel, by imitating country stars, including Hank Snow.
The family moved to Beecroft, a Sydney suburb. At the age of 13 he performed his version of Bill Showmet's "Did You See My Daddy Over There?" and appeared on local radio station 2GB's talent quest, Amateur Hour. This track was issued as his first single, in 1953, by Regal Zonophone Records. By November of that year he appeared regularly on Brisbane radio station, 4BK's Youth Parade, playing guitar and singing, where, "All the artists in this programme are under 21 year of age."
His third single was a cover version of "Abdul Abulbul Amir" (September 1954), which was backed by his own composition, "A Mother's Faith". In 1956 he hosted, Campfire Favourites, on local TV station, TCN-9, which "was the first weekly 'Western' programme by a local artist on Australian television." From that year to late 1957 he recorded six singles with a backing group, Dick Carr Buckaroos.
In 1957 he recorded a track, "Whiplash", which was used as the theme song for the British/Australian TV series of the same title from September 1960 to mid-1961. He toured the North Island of New Zealand in early 1959, where his single, "Guardian Angel", reached No. 1 on local radio charts. Ifield had two top 30 hits in that year on the Kent Music Report, with "True" (September, No. 26) and "Teenage Baby" (November, No. 23). He returned to the United Kingdom in November 1959.
Ifield's first UK single, "Lucky Devil" (January 1960), reached No. 22 in the UK Singles Chart. His next six singles had less commercial success, but he had his first UK number-one hit with a cover version of Victor Schertzinger and Johnny Mercer 1941 composition, "I Remember You" (May 1962), which topped the charts for seven weeks. Known for Ifield's falsetto and a slight yodel, it was the second-highest-selling single of that year in the UK, and became the seventh million-selling single. It is Ifield's highest charting single on the United States Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 5. It also reached No. 1 on the Australian Kent Music Report.
His next single was a double A-side, "Lovesick Blues" and "She Taught Me How to Yodel" (October 1962). "Lovesick Blues" was originally sung by Hank Williams and was treated in an upbeat "Let's Twist Again" style. The other track is a virtuoso piece of yodelling with the final verse – entirely yodelling – at double-speed. It also peaked at No. 1 in the UK, No. 2 in Australia, and reached No. 44 in the US Billboard Hot 100. He had been told by his management not to yodel because it would brand him. Nevertheless, he sang "She Taught Me to Yodel" as an encore for a Royal Variety Performance (November 1962), at the specific request of the Queen Mother for a yodelling song. His next single, "Wayward Wind", made him the first UK-based artist to reach No. 1 three times in succession on the UK charts. The only previous artist to have done so was Elvis Presley. In Australia it peaked at No. 16.
His UK charting singles from 1963 were "Nobody's Darlin' but Mine" (April 1963, No. 4), "Confessin' (That I Love You)" (June, No. 1), "Mule Train" (October, No. 22) and "Don't Blame Me" (December, No. 8). In 1963 he sang at the Grand Ole Opry, introduced by one of his heroes, Hank Snow. Many of his records were produced by Norrie Paramor. Ifield also was featured on Jolly What!, a 1964 compilation comprising eight of his tracks and four by the Beatles, which has been considered an attempt to cash in on Beatlemania. (Vee-Jay Records had gotten US distribution rights to The Beatles along with Ifield) Despite changing trends Ifield continued to have further top 40 hits in that decade including, "Angry at the Big Oak Tree" (April 1964) "I Should Care" (July), "Paradise" (August 1965), "No One Will Ever Know" (June 1966), and "Call Her Your Sweetheart" (September). Ifield twice entered the UK heats for the Eurovision Song Contest. He came in second in the 1962 heat with "Alone Too Long" (losing to Ronnie Carroll). In the 1976 heat he tried with, "Ain't Gonna Take no for an Answer", finishing last of 12.
In 1991, Ifield returned to the UK chart when a dance remix of "She Taught Me How to Yodel", renamed, "The Yodelling Song", was billed as Frank Ifield featuring the Backroom Boys, reached No. 40 in the UK Singles Chart. In more than 30 years, it became his 16th appearance on that list. The song was mentioned by Victor Meldrew in the One Foot in the Grave episode, "Love and Death".
At the ARIA Music Awards of 2007 Ifield was inducted into their Hall of Fame alongside, Hoodoo Gurus, Marcia Hines, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, Brian Cadd, Radio Birdman and Nick Cave. He was presented with a Medal of the Order of Australia in June 2009 with a citation, "For service to the arts as an entertainer." On 10 June 2012 Ifield joined Paul Hazell on his World of Country show on the community radio station Uckfield FM. He discussed his life in music and forthcoming induction to the Coventry Music Wall of Fame. He made another appearance on Uckfield FM, talking with Tony Williams, on 16 May 2017.
Ifield married Gillian Bowden, a dancer at the London Palladium, on 6 July 1965 at Marylbone Register, London. Ifield starred as Dave Kelly, and Bowden appeared as a dancer, in the comedy musical film, Up Jumped a Swagman (December 1965). The couple had two children.
In 1986, Ifield contracted pneumonia and required surgery to remove part of a lung. As a result, his vocal cords were damaged, which meant he could not sing or yodel for years until they recovered. He and Bowden divorced in 1988 and he returned to Sydney to live. In 1992, he married his second wife, Carole Wood, an airline hostess.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|I'll Remember You||3||—|
|Frank Ifield's Greatest Hits||
|Portrait in Song||
|Up Jumped a Swagman||
|Frank Ifield's Tale of Two Cities||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.|
|Year||Peak chart positions|
(Wally Gold/Aaron Schroeder)
|"Gotta Get a Date"
|"I Remember You"
(Johnny Mercer/Victor Schertzinger)
(Cliff Friend/Irving Mills)
|"The Wayward Wind"
(Stanley Lebowsky/Herb Newman)
|"Nobody's Darlin' but Mine"
|"Confessin' (That I Love You)"
(Doc Daugherty/Al J. Neiburg/Ellis Reynolds)
(Fred Glickman/Hy Heath/Johnny Lange)
|"Don't Blame Me"
(Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh)
|"Angry at the Big Oak Tree"
(Paul Hampton/Bob Hilliard)
|"I Should Care"
(Sammy Cahn/Axel Stordahl/Paul Weston)
|"Summer Is Over"
(Tom Springfield/Clive Westlake)
(Ralph Rainger/Leo Robin)
|"Don't Make Me Laugh"
(Bill Giant/Patricia Valando)
|"Lonesome Number One"
(Nacio Herb Brown/Gordon Clifford)
|"No One Will Ever Know"
(Mel Foree/Fred Rose)
|"Call Her Your Sweetheart"
|"Out of Nowhere"
(Johnny Green/Edward Heyman)
|"Up, Up and Away"
|"Good Morning, Dear"
|"Oh, Such a Stranger"
|"It's My Time"A
(John D. Loudermilk)
|"Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast"
(Peter Callander/Geoff Stephens)
|"She Taught Me How to Yodel"B
(Tom Emerson/Paul Roberts/Van Esther Sciver)
- A"It's My Time" peaked at No. 12 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.
- BCredited to Frank Ifield featuring the Backroom Boys
- "Roll of Renown". TCMF. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
- Donnelly, Marea (30 April 2016). "Australian singer and yodeller, Frank Ifield, once had a support act called The Beatles". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Jet-Propulsion Expert Here". Late Final Extra. The Sun (11, 862). 2 February 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 22 July 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Frank Ifield Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- Sheridan, Greg (24 August 1982). "Richard Joseph (Dick) Ifield". The Bulletin. pp. 30, 32. ISSN 0007-4039. Retrieved 22 July 2018 – via Frank Ifield Official Website.
- "Frank Ifield". Australian Country Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Frank Ifield". Rock Productions. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- Stirling, Joyce (29 November 1953). ""Give the Kids a Break"". The Sunday Mail. Brisbane, Qld. p. 24. Retrieved 22 July 2018 – via National Library of Australia. Note: includes a photo of Ifield with a group of fellow performers.
- Hampel, John (16 September 1954). "Through the Arts". Barrier Daily Truth. XLVI (14, 520). p. 7. Retrieved 22 July 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "'A Mother's Faith' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 22 July 2018. Note: For additional work user may have to select 'Search again' and then 'Enter a title:' &/or 'Performer:'
- Fletcher, Bernard (17 June 1959). "Listen Here: Where It all Began". Teenagers' Weekly. The Australian Women's Weekly (2). p. 7. Retrieved 22 July 2018 – via National Library of Australia. Note: includes a photo of Ifield.
- Davis, Sharon (2012), Every Chart-Topper Tells a Story: the Sixties, London Mainstream Digital, pp. 1956–57, 1961–62, ISBN 978-1-78057-416-5
- Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book 1940–1969. Turramurra, NSW: Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd. ISBN 0-6464-4439-5. Note: Chart positions back calculated by Kent in 2005.
- Ryan (bulion), Gary (10 February 2011). "Albums Pre-1989 – Part 4". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 266. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 66. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
- "Chart Archive – 1960s Singles". everyhit.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
- "Million-Selling Singles". everyhit.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
- Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 121.
- Whitburn, Joel. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990. ISBN 0-89820-089-X.
- "1962, London Palladium". Royal Variety Performance. Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
- "A Bloody Bad Album". snopes.com. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- "Collector's Corner – "Jolly What! The Beatles & Frank Ifield on Stage:" a Vee Jay 'flop' becomes a highly coveted collector's item:". The Beatles Rarity. Archived from the original on 23 June 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- Stanley, Bob. "Sounds of the Sixties – Frank Ifield". BBC. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
- "ARIA Awards – History: Winners by Year 2007: 21st Annual ARIA Awards". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 18 November 2007. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
- "ARIA Presents the 2007 ARIA Hall of Fame" (PDF). Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 6 May 2007. Archived from the original (pdf) on 29 May 2008.
- "Search Australian Honours Name: Ifield, Francis Edward". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
- "Country singer, songwriter and yodeller Frank Ifield was in the Uckfield FM studio".
- "Backbeat: More stars honoured on Coventry Music Wall of Fame".
- "Jul. 07, 1965 – Singer Frank Ifield Weds: Popular singer Frank Ifield". alamy.com. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
- Musgrove, Nan (13 October 1965). "Frank is home with his bride". The Australian Women's Weekly. 33 (20). p. 7. Retrieved 23 July 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- Vagg, Stephen (14 July 2019). "Australian Singers Turned Actors". Filmink.
- MacKenzie, Vicki (20 January 1982). "Frank Ifield: Coming home to tour the country he loves". The Australian Women's Weekly. 49 (31). p. 6. Retrieved 23 July 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Blast from the past; Frank Ifield Whatever happened to the man with the yodel Frank Ifield, asked Mercury reader Mr I. Jones of Broadway, Walsall?". Sunday Mercury. 14 February 1999. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
- Allmusic.com – Charts & Awards (albums)
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. Note: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
- Allmusic.com – Charts & Awards (singles)