The Freshies

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The Freshies
Origin Manchester, England
Genres Punk rock, power pop, new wave[1]
Years active 1978–1982
Labels Razz, MCA, Stiff
Past members Chris Sievey
Martin Jackson
Billy Duffy
Barry Spencer
Eddie Carter
Bob Dixon
Rick Sarko
Mike Doherty
Lyn Oakey
Steve Hopkins
Paul Whittall
Paul Burgess
Rick Maunder
Barbara O'Donovan

The Freshies were a punk band from Manchester, England formed in the 1970s and dissolved in the early 1980s, fronted by singer and comedian Chris Sievey (later known by his character Frank Sidebottom).


Chris Sievey had recorded since the early 1970s, and released two cassettes under his own name before starting The Bees Knees in 1972 with bass guitarist Paul Burke which they renamed The Freshies in 1974. According to Sievey, when the band were looking for a guitarist, a fourteen-year-old Johnny Marr appeared at his house wanting to join the band but was told that he was too young.[2] The Freshies EP, was released in 1978 on Sievey's own Razz record label, and was followed later that year by the hopefully titled Straight In at No. 2 EP.[3] Others who played with Sievey included, in the early lineup, Martin Jackson (later with Magazine and Swing Out Sister) and Billy Duffy (later with The Cult). In 1978 the band included Barry Spencer (guitar), Eddie Carter (guitar), and Bob Dixon (drums).[3] By 1979 the band was Sievey, Spencer, Rick Sarko (bass, ex-The Nosebleeds) and Mike Doherty (drums, ex-The Smirks).[3] Others who played in the band include Lyn Oakey (guitar), Steve Hopkins (keyboards), Paul Whittall(keyboards), Paul Burgess (drums), and Rick Maunder (bass).[4] Their biggest selling single and best known song is 1980's "I'm In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Check-out Desk" renamed as "I'm In Love With The Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Check-out Desk" on request from Radio 1 (a version with "Virgin" bleeped out to allow it to be played on the radio without being considered advertising was also released), which reached number 54 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1981 after being picked up by MCA, eventually selling over 40,000 copies.[5][6] At the time, the girl who was the subject of the song was frequently asked by fans to autograph copies of the single. The single's success prompted Richard Branson to undertake a search for the former checkout girl in question in 2006, wishing to invite her to the opening of the new Virgin Megastore in Manchester, in recognition of the role she played in the history of the original store.[6]

Sievey pre-dated the self-financing ethic of punk when he created his own record label Razz in 1974. Razz went on to release over sixty titles, including much of The Freshies material. They also produced the first multi-media single by including The Biz, a Sinclair Spectrum game, on the tape version of one of their singles, something which Sievey later did himself as a solo artist with his 45 RPM single "Camouflage"[3] (which included the Spectrum game Flying Train).[7]

The Freshies split up in February 1982.[4] Sievey continued with the Freshies name for a while, working as a duo with Barbara O'Donovan, and released the "Fasten Your Seatbelts" single (as the Freshies) in September 1982 and "Camouflage" (under his own name) in 1983. Sievey later found fame as Frank Sidebottom.

Sievey died on 21 June 2010 in Hale, Greater Manchester, at the age of 54. He had been suffering from cancer.[8]



  • All Sleep's Secrets (1978), Razz - originally issued in 1976 credited to Chris Sievey
  • Manchester Plays (1979), Razz - cassette
  • Sing the Girls From Banana Island... (1979), Razz - cassette
  • Rough and Ready (1980), Razz - cassette
  • London Plays (1981), Razz
  • Johnny Radar Story (1985), ETS
  • Early Razz (1985), ETS
  • Studio Out-Takes (1985), ETS
  • The Very Very Best of the Freshies: Some Long & Short Titles (2005), Cherry Red
  • Remembering The Freshies (2010), Cherry Red

Singles, EPs

  • The Freshies EP (1978), Razz
  • Straight in at N°2 EP (1978), Razz
  • The Men from Banana Island Whose Stupid Ideas Never Caught On In the Western World as We Know It EP (1979), Razz
  • "My Tape's Gone" (1980), Razz
  • "We're Like You" (1980), Razz
  • "Yellow Spot" (1980), Razz
  • "No Money" (1980), Razz
  • Red Indian Music EP (1980), Razz - credited to The Freshies with Chris Sievey
  • "I'm In Love With The Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk" (1980), Razz - UK Indie No. 46,[9] reissued (1981), MCA
  • Virgin Megastore EP (1981), Razz - 12-inch includes "Frank Talks to Chris"
  • "Wrap Up The Rockets" (1981), MCA
  • "I Can't Get 'Bouncing Babies' by The Teardrop Explodes" (1981), MCA
  • "If You Really Love Me, Buy Me a Shirt" (1981), CV
  • "Dancin' Doctors" (1981), Razz/Pinnacle
  • "Fasten Your Seat Belts" (1982), Stiff


  • Razzvizz 2 (1981), Razz


  1. Allmusic page
  2. Robb, John (2009) The North Will Rise Again: Manchester Music City (1977-1996), Aurum, ISBN 978-1-84513-534-8, p. 69
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 72
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gimarc, George (2005) Punk Diary, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-848-6, p. 212, 243, 579
  5. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 215. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Keegan, Mike (2006) "Branson Hunts Mystery Girl", Manchester Evening News, 18 November 2006
  7. Bunder, Leslie B. (April 1985). "Sieving Through The Biz". Crash. Newsfield Publications Ltd (15). ISSN 0954-8661.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. - accessed June 2010
  9. Lazell, Barry (1998) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p. 95

External links