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Nov 04

FRANK IFIELD – “I Remember You”

Popular8 comments • 2,819 views

#139, 28th July 1962

I can’t help feeling sorry for Frank Ifield. Here’s why:

The X Axis on this graph is the early 60s. The Y Axis is Frank’s chart position. See the all-conquering pop hero of 1962, a million-seller with his second single, reduced to grubbing around at No.25 for the duration of his career. What happened? Merseybeat happened, and Frank clung on for a month or two before fashion took its toll on him. The graph is a neat illustration of the step-change in pop music that was on its way.

Meanwhile Frank Ifield enjoyed his place in the sun. His thing was that he was a yodeller. He was also Australian, which mattered less. On his cheerful records – like “I Remember You” – he ululates with glee when the mood demands, a happy harmonica backing him up.

I really like “I Remember You” – it’s the kind of record Cliff should have made. A more edgeless disc would be hard to find but its simple campfire good humour is infectious, the tune is fine, and to his credit Ifield yodels with skill and restraint – the bit where he breaks smoothly from the song’s one big yodel into a descending verse is marvellous. If ever a record merited patronising talk of a “more innocent time”, though, this is the one.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Tom on 22 Jul 2006 #

    I wonder where the graph on this has gone…

  2. 2
    Alan on 22 Jul 2006 #

    there you are

  3. 3
    bramble on 7 Sep 2006 #

    Lets not forget too that Frank Ifield managed 3 number ones in a row-I remember you, Lovesick Blues and Wayward Wind. Quite an achievement at that era

  4. 4
    Billy Smart on 27 Sep 2007 #

    This is a very fond song and performance, and fondness – the sense of lovers being at ease with each other – is a lot less common in pop than attraction or devotion, which makes I Remember You a song that I come back to a lot. Part of the trick of it is in how you’d expect a title like that to be about lost love, rather than found love.

    Also, the yodeling isn’t too overbearing at this point, and reminds me of Andy Williams.

  5. 5
    Marcello Carlin on 27 Sep 2007 #

    Ifield, like the Bee Gees, wasn’t technically an Australian; he was born in Coventry and then his parents emigrated, and later still he came back home to make his yodelling fortune. No surprise about the lyrical ingenuity or emotional depth since the words were written by one of the greatest of all lyricists, Johnny Mercer. Prior to Our Frank it was usually done as a slow, smouldering ballad (see for instance Sarah Vaughan’s reading with its one stretched syllable of “thuuufffrrrrrillllillilllillofffffiiiiawawawaaalllll”) but Frank’s natural jauntiness and the quite lovely 1962 sunny optimism of the arrangement (see also “Wonderful Land” and for that matter “Love Me Do” vis-a-vis harmonica influences) give the song that extra unexpected spice.

  6. 6
    Lena on 31 May 2008 #

    I just heard this and was reminded, vocally and lyrically, of Bryan Ferry. “The thrill of it all!”

  7. 7
    richard thompson on 9 Jun 2008 #

    This song was written by Johnny Mercer for Judy Garland, who sang it herself it was also number one on the day I was born.

  8. 8
    lonepilgrim on 22 Jan 2015 #

    Frank Ifield’s swooping vocal line is like autotune ahead of its time and puts me in mind of Cher on ‘Believe’ – but I can definitely hear qualities that link to Bryan Ferry, as mentioned by Lena above. Yodelling had featured as a vocal flourish in Country Music since at least the days of Jimmie Rogers but Frank takes it to almost abstract levels.
    His later fall from top pop stardom probably explains why I got to see him in a pantomime in the mid 1960s – even as a kid I found his yodelling memorably alien.

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