Freeez were a dance music group from London, known initially as one of the UK's main jazz-funk bands of the early 1980s. Initiated by John Rocca, Freeez consisted of various musicians, originally with Rocca and others such as Andy Stennet (keyboards), Peter Maas (bass guitar) and Paul Morgan or Everton Mcalla (drums). They had an international hit with "I.O.U.", and a UK Top 10 with "Southern Freeez".
Freeez's first single, "Keep in Touch" (1980), included guitarist Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick, the initiator of the musical band Incognito. Freeez is perhaps remembered best for its UK Top 10 song "Southern Freeez", from the album of the same name,which included guest vocals by Ingrid Mansfield Allman. In the UK, the band was contracted with the recording company Beggars Banquet Records.
The song "I.O.U.", written, produced and mixed by Arthur Baker (known then for his work with Afrika Bambaataa), was also used for the 1980s breakdance movie, Beat Street. It scored two weeks at number one in the Billboard Dance chart, scoring among songs by such people as Madonna, Michael Jackson and David Bowie, and was number 2 in the UK Singles Chart during the summer of 1983. It was followed by other releases from the album such as "Pop Goes My Love" / "Scratch Goes My Dub", which scored the U.S. Top 5. During 1987 a remix of "I.O.U." scored number 18 on the U.S. dance chart, plus number 23 in the UK Singles Chart.
Freeez reformed during 1984 without Rocca, or any of the other original members, other than Peter Maas. With a new style and almost a new group altogether, Maas worked with Louis Smith who assumed the duties of keyboard player, co-writer and programmer with Billy Crichton as songwriter and guitarist. The new Freeez then recorded an album, Idle Vice (1985) at Studio number 2 at Abbey Road Studios in the same room where the Beatles made their recordings. "That Beats My Patience" was the first single from the album. Smith later to became a session keyboard player and toured with the rock music band The Escape Club who had U.S. number one song "Wild, Wild West" and several other U.S. Top 10 successes. He also recorded as one half of Bass Kruncher with main guitarist John Holliday from The Escape Club.
Rocca and Stennet also recorded under other pseudo names such Pictures and Pink Rhythm during 1985.
Later in 1993/94 Peter Maas and Paul Morgan took the Freeez format again and reformed as the Dazzling Urbanites adding Poly Koutrouzas (Vocals) and Max Rutherford (Guitars) to the lineup. Despite extensive preparation and rehearsals in North London (Dukes Avenue, Muswell Hill) the original success was never achieved.
Late 2011 saw the first ever CD release of their 1980 debut album Southern Freeez. The CD came as a double 'Expanded' two disc set featuring 12 versions,remixes & rare demos as well as newly written inlay booklet featuring notes from John Rocca & Peter Mass. Their second album Gonna Get You has also been reissued in the same way.
|Year||Song Title / Label||U.S.Club Play Singles||UK Singles Chart||U.S.R&B singles|
|June 1980||"Keep In Touch" (Pye)||-||49||-|
|July 1980||"Stay" / "Hot Footin' It" (Pink Rhythm)||-||-||-|
|February 1981||"Southern Freeez" (Beggars Banquet)||-||8||-|
|April 1981||"Flying High" (Beggars Banquet)||-||35||-|
|November 1981||"Anti-Freeez (Set Me Free)" / "Mountain Man" (Beggars Banquet)||-||-||-|
|June 1982||"One To One" (Beggars Banquet)||-||-||-|
|June 1983||"I.O.U." (Beggars Banquet)||1||2||13|
|October 1983||"Pop Goes My Love"/"Scratch Goes My Dub" (Beggars Banquet)||5||26||47|
|November 1983||"Love's Gonna Get You" (Beggars Banquet)||-||-||-|
|1984||"That Beats My Patience" (Beggars Banquet)||-||-||-|
|"Train of Thoughts" (Beggars Banquet)||-||-||-|
|January 1987||"I.O.U." (remix) (Citybeat)||37||23||-|
|May 1987||"Southern Freeez" (remix) (Total Control)||-||63||-|
|Album Title / Label||Release date||Chart positions|
|U.S.Billboard200||U.S.R&B albums||UK Albums Chart|
|Southern Freeez (Beggars Banquet)||February 1981||-||-||17|
|Gonna Get You (Beggars Banquet)||October 1983||-||-||46|
|I.O.U. (Streetwise, Beggars Banquet)||1983||-||-||-|
|Idle Vice (Beggars Banquet)||1984||-||-||-|