Tributes paid to Coventry singing legend Frank Ifield who has died, aged 86 - The Coventry Observer

Tributes paid to Coventry singing legend Frank Ifield who has died, aged 86

Coventry Editorial 20th May, 2024   0

THE CURATOR of the Coventry Music Museum has paid tribute to his good friend and the city’s singing legend Frank Ifield who has died at the age of 86.

Pete Chambers BEM told the Observer: “I had the pleasure of meeting him several times – each time he was always a gentleman, kind and despite his iconic status he remained approachable and down to earth.”

Frank was born in Coventry in November 1937 and moved to Australia at the age of three.

Years later, during the height of his fame, he made frequent appearances at The Coventry Theatre.

Pete added: “I recall on the day Frank was due to be inducted into The Coventry Music Wall – we took him on a tour of his old Coventry.

“First we went to the site of the old Coventry Theatre outside The Transport Museum, he reflected on the building’s closure.”

Frank recalled doing the 1967 show there on what was also his birthday.

He said he was expecting his child to be born during the show.

Frank added to Pete: “Ted Rogers who was hosting the show came on towards the end of my act and announced to the audience ‘it’s a boy!’.

“So that was a fabulous memory.”

Also at the theatre site, Frank discovered Frank Whittle was also born in Coventry and the reason Franks Ifield’s dad had moved here was to invent a fuel feed for the jet engine,

He always thought it was amazing he had a hand in Coventry Theatre and there was a plaque, next to Frank Whittle’s statue and plaque.

Frank reflected on the jet invention being something his father had a hand in, adding: “we did pretty well in Coventry’.

Then it was on to Evenlode Crecent in Coundon where Frank was born.

Frank Ifield’s chart success

‘I Remember You’ was the song that changed everything for Frank.

It was an immediate success, selling some 102,500 copies in one day alone.

It hit the number one spot in the UK in 1962 and got to number five in America. It became the first record to sell a million copies in UK.

In August of 1962, Frank was back playing the Coventry Theatre.

Pete said: “Three months later ‘Lovesick Blues’ was released, again it hit number one in Britain and there was no looking back for ‘our Frank’.

“What happened next was to make history.

“When his next release ‘The Wayward Wind’ also made it to the top Frank became the first artist in UK history to achieve a hat-trick of number ones in one year.

“It was a marvellous achievement.”

Sadly his next single ‘Nobody’s Darling But Mine’ was to peak at number four.

But then ‘Confessing That I Love You’ took him back to the top one last time.

Pete said: “Such was his stardom, in 1962 he had the Beatles as a support act – the audience were not interested in these lads from Liverpool, they came to see Frank.

“Frank was an honorary patron at the music museum and a great supporter.

“He came many times.

“I always hoped I would see him one last time, that sadly never happened but the memories of his visits and that famous yodel will live forever.

“RIP Frank.”


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