Frank Reidy

Nov 26, 1919


From The Clarinet [Online], June 2018:

Frank Reidy was also one of the premier reed doublers in Great Britain from the 1950s through the 1980s. He was born on November 26, 1919. In his early years, he backed Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan on their Goon Show broadcasts. These programs were a great favorite of the Beatles, so they inadvertently heard Reidy as they were growing up!

Besides playing with all of the leading bands during that time, his greatest exposure as a player was as the tenor saxophone “voice” for the character “Zoot” on The Muppet Show. He is featured on all 120 episodes. Reidy also was the musician contractor (“fixer” in Great Britain) for EMI Recording Studios, although this was after the Beatles’ years at that facility. He died in Camden, London in February 1996.

Frank Reidy played the clarinet on The Beatles’ song “When I’m Sixty-Four“, along with Robert Burns and Henry MacKenzie.

Burns, Mackenzie and Reidy all played together with each other on numerous occasions, both before and after the historic Beatles session. Burns and Reidy probably worked together a bit more, as Mackenzie played exclusively with Ted Heath for so many years. All three were featured in music magazine ads with the instruments they endorsed, and there are other articles in which they give advice on playing, equipment, etc. They were certainly the cream of the crop of British jazz clarinets during the 1960s and onward.

Having done the biographical research on these three amazing players, I also consulted with the great British saxophonist and composer Paul Harvey for some background information. He knew all three and graciously shared his memories with me in an email, remembering that Bob Burns was “definitely the most colorful character of the three.” Harvey praised his playing, not only as tenor sax soloist on Ravel’s Bolero with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra but also as tenor sax in a concert with the Benny Goodman Band. Henry Mackenzie was, according to Harvey, “a brilliant jazz player and a most modest and self-effacing man.” Harvey told of how he made the sometimes-tedious job of soundtrack recording fun. Frank Reidy was “the top doubler.” Harvey continued: “He used to drive round in a Rolls Royce, the boot [trunk] stuffed with flutes, oboes, saxophones, etc. Not only did he become the fixer for EMI Studios, but also for Elstree Studios and for The Muppet Show.”

From The Clarinet [Online], June 2018

Last updated on January 2, 2023

Albums, EPs & singles which Frank Reidy contributed to

Yellow Submarine Songtrack

By The Beatles • Official album

Contribution: Clarinet • 1 songs

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