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Song of the day – 109: The Freshies/Frank Sidebottom

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Sad news this morning.

Chris Sievey, the musical and comedic genius from Hale, Greater Manchester – a man best known for his big-headed, squeakily-voiced, paper-mâché creation Frank Sidebottom – passed away, aged 54. I was a fan of both Frank and his tiny, aggressively challenging sidekick Little Frank: their footballing exploits based around the club of Timperley kept both myself and my house-mate Jamie amused throughout the 80s. I was also a big fan of Chris Sievey’s pre-Frank musical group, The Freshies (best-known for their near-miss ‘I’m In Love With The Girl On The Virgin Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk’) – inventive, endearingly homemade, vaguely psychedelic (in the early Syd Barrett tradition) and totally full of catchy, beautiful 60s pop harmonies (powerpop, they called it back then).

I posted a link to some of their videos a while back, here.

I don’t really know that much about Mr Sievey, beyond loving his music – but there are some touching tributes already up on the Internet, particularly the one at John Robb’s blog.

The Guardian tribute points out that Caroline Ahern’s Mrs Merton character began as a sidekick on the Frank Sidebottom radio show.

Here’s The Freshies WITH Frank Sidebottom.

(The image that accompanies this entry has been taken from Crash Online, where you can also find a fine interview about Chris’ early creation of a Spectrum ZX81 game for the B-side of a solo single.)

P.S. I’ve also recorded my own tiny musical tribute to Chris/Frank on my other blog here.

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