`I’ve come of age’, says Frankie
On With the Show’s Flashback
to Variety Today 1993
By SHIRLEY BROUN
THERE was not a sound as Frankie Davidson commanded the audience’s attention in his captivating rendition of the Barcelona Olympics theme song `Friends for Life’.
This family favourite entertainer who has done everything from novelty songs to comedy, country and serious ballads, says he has `come of age’. He is singing better than ever, with an emphasis on good, strong ballads which match his powerful, rich voice, combining the vocals with the quick-witted comical patter which has endeared him to audiences worldwide throughout his 30-year career.
Decade of hard decisions
But it is a wiser, more `on track’ Frankie Davidson that we see today. He has endured two marriage break-ups and cites the past decade as the `most difficult’ emotionally and professionally. “I’ve had to make some bloody hard decisions,” he said.
But with the dedicated support of his wife, Helen, Frankie said he has learned that you have to get on with life, move onto new projects and not let things get on top of you.
Helen married Frankie aboard the Fairstar 10 years ago and has been the strength behind the man who won national acclaim with hits such as `Yabba Dabba Doo’ and `Have You Ever Been to Kings Cross’.
Then there was `Ball Bearing Bird’ and `Gimme Dat Ding’, he was `Mr Right’ in the Caltex television commercials and fulfilled many acting roles in TV dramas such as Richmond Hill, Cop Shop, Division 4, and played a priest in the movie `The Last Frontier’.
Done it all
Frankie has really `done it all’ in the demanding world of show business. He started as a band singer in the 60s, won a talent quest on radio station 3XY in Melbourne, being named `Most Likely to Succeed overseas’, compered a Cliff Richard tour, then headed to England in July 1963 for six years after recording two national hits in Australia.
These days, Frankie spends his time writing new material – songs, comedy and plays.
Frank turns to Country music
The mid 80s saw Frankie take a new tact, releasing his first country abum with `Australian Born, Australian Bred’ which included `Hope Your Chooks Turn Into Emus and Peck Your Dunny Down’ – a hit on both the pop and country charts around the country.
Two years ago he released `Real Fair Dinkum Aussie’. “I have since tried to establish my own sound, and in so doing released a single `Not Bloody Golf Again”, said Frankie.
The show business stalwart, who in the past decade has worked diligently on improving his vocal talents which span from baritone to tenor, believes his efforts were rewarded with the 1992 MO Award nomination for Male Vocalist of the Year. “I changed from Versatile Variety Performer in 1976 to Male Vocalist in 1992 – which shows people are paying more attention to that side of my work.”
Frankie says it is important to move with industry changes and, he added, to help younger entertainers along the way. He has helped many young performers including pianist, Kingsley Looker, who went from surfing to recording with Polygram. “I Helped him with material selection and a few helpful hints, gleaned from my years in the industry,” said Frankie. “I believe I can be of value to people in this area and still have much more to offer as a performer as well.”
Mixing comedy with vocals
Comedy will always be a part of Frankie’s performance. “The comedian inside me likes to pop up between vocals. It’s hard to ignore that side of my act,” he said.
Frankie also has an ambition to play the leading role in the life story of Darcy Dugan.
During his October 1992 performances aboard the cruiseship Fairstar, Frankie also did a tribute to Frank Sinatra seen by more than 1000 passenger who gave the seasoned performer several standing ovations.
There was a tear in his eye as he left the stage, touched by the audience response and the `friends for life’ he had made, after singing his finale of the same name.
His albums were sold out the next day and as a thank you to passengers Frankie performed an extra concert as the Fairstar sailed home to Sydney.Tweet