The Free Design

The Free Design
The Free Design
Origin Delevan, New York, United States
Genres Sunshine pop, Baroque pop
Years active 1967–1972, 2000–2001
Labels Project 3
Past members
Chris Dedrick (deceased)
Sandy Dedrick
Bruce Dedrick
Ellen Dedrick
Stefanie Dedrick(deceased)

The Free Design was a Delevan, New York-based vocal group playing jazzy pop music. Their music can be described as sunshine pop and baroque pop, which were pop music subgenres at the time, which later influenced the bands Stereolab, Cornelius, Pizzicato Five, Beck and The High Llamas.


Early work

The members were all members of the Dedrick family: Chris Dedrick (12 September 1947–6 August 2010), sister Sandy and brother Bruce were the original lineup. Chris Dedrick wrote most of the songs. Younger sister Ellen joined the group later, and youngest sister Stefanie(1952–1999) joined near the end of their initial career. Their father, Art, was a trombonist and music arranger. Their uncle Rusty Dedrick was a jazz trumpeter with Claude Thornhill and Red Norvo. They formed the band while living in New York City. Chris has said the group was influenced by vocal groups like The Hi-Los (who performed in Greenwich Village frequently at the time) along with Peter, Paul and Mary and the counterpoint experiments of Benjamin Britten. Their trademark sound involved complex harmonies, jazz-like chord progressions, and off-beat time signatures, all products of Chris's classical training.

The band released seven albums from 1967 to 1972, the first six on Enoch Light's Project 3 label and the last one, There is a Song, on the Ambrotype label. For the most part, they were accompanied on the albums by studio musicians.


After the band's breakup in 1972, Chris Dedrick recorded a solo album, Be Free, which went unreleased until 2000. He moved to Toronto, Canada, where he became a music producer, arranger, and a classical and soundtrack composer. He has worked with directors Guy Maddin and Don McKellar, winning a Genie Award for Maddin's The Saddest Music in the World, and he made music for the Ray Bradbury Theater TV-series. In 1997 Dedrick won a Gemini Award for his work on the television series Road to Avonlea.Chris was nominated a total of 16 times for Gemini awards, winning a total of four, the others for "Million Dollar Babies, "Shipwreck on the Skeleton Coast" and "The Great Canadian Polar Bear Adventure." He won a Socan award for "Tripping the Wire" and a Hot Docs award, also for "Shipwreck on the Skeleton Coast."

Starting in 1976, Chris, Sandy and Ellen became the core members of The Star-Scape Singers, a classical vocal ensemble led by Dr. Kenneth G. Mills. Chris Dedrick also served as the group's main composer. The group performed and toured extensively throughout the 1980s and 1990s.[1][2]

Revival of interest

During their career, The Free Design never gained the commercial success they, and their small fan-base, felt they deserved, a plight they noted in their 1969 song "2002 - A Hit Song", in which they describe how to create a hit, then continue, "there's just one fact that we can't quite shirk/ we did all this last time, and it did not work." They remained in obscurity after disbanding in 1972. Starting in the mid-90s, however, interest in them began to grow as part of a general resurgence of interest in easy listening and sunshine pop from the 60s and 70s. In 1994, Japanese musician Cornelius reissued the Free Design catalog on his "Trattoria" label. In 1997, the band Tomorrow's World covered their song "Kites Are Fun", and in 1998, the Spanish "Siesta" label put out four compilation albums of their music. Stereolab, whose lounge-inspired music clearly showed a Free Design influence, named a 1999 single "The Free Design" (though the song itself had no direct connection to the band). The Free Design song "Bubbles" was covered by Dressy Bessy on the 2000 Powerpuff Girls soundtrack.

Perhaps inspired by this newfound interest, in 2000 the band re-grouped, after a nearly 30-year retirement, to record the song "Endless Harmony" on the Beach Boys tribute album Caroline Now. This experience convinced them to record a new full-length album, 2001's Cosmic Peekaboo, which featured the original lineup (Chris, Sandy and Bruce) in addition to Rebecca Pellett, who had previously been Chris Dedrick's musical assistant for several years.

In 2001 the label Cherry Red released a Best of Free Design compilation. The Free Design song "I Found Love" was included on the 2002 Gilmore Girls soundtrack. From 2002 to 2005, the original albums were reissued in the United States by the Light in the Attic label. In 2005, the label put out The Now Sound Redesigned, an album of Free Design remixes from established acts like Stereolab, Super Furry Animals and Peanut Butter Wolf.

The song "Love You" is featured during the credits of the film Stranger Than Fiction (2006), at the very end of season four on the Showtime hit, Weeds, and as the theme song to the internet podcast "Jordan Jesse Go" co-hosted by The Sound Of Young America host Jesse Thorn and Fuel TV correspondent Jordan Morris.

"Love You" was also featured in TV commercials for Peters Drumstick ice creams in Australia (2007), "Smil" chocolate in Norway (2008)[link to commercial], Toyota (2009), "Cosmote" in Greece (2009), DC's second "Progression" short[3] (2010) and in Toyota adverts internationally (2009/2010).

The song "I Found Love" can be found on Our Little Corner of the World: Music from Gilmore Girls. The song plays as the start of "Sadie, Sadie" (Season 2, Episode 1).

Chris Dedrick died on August 6, 2010, from cancer, aged 62.[4][5] According to a message posted on his official site by his wife Moira, Dedrick passed away “after a week of increasing radiance, yet with rapid physical decline.”[6]



External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Free Design — waren eine US amerikanische Popgruppe aus Delevan, New York, die in den 1960er und 1970er Jahren durch jazzigen Sunshine Pop (auch Barock Pop) und Easy Listening mit starken Vocal Anteil bekannt wurden. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Bandgeschichte 1.1… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • The Free Design — est un groupe de jazz pop américain des années 1970, composé par des membres d une même famille originaire de Delevan (Comté de Cattaraugus dans l État de New York), les Dedrick. Portail de la musique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The Free Design (album) — The Free Design EP par Stereolab Sortie septembre 1999 Genre Post rock Label Duophonic The Free Design est un maxi du groupe anglais Stereolab, sorti en septembre …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The Free Design (album) — For the 1960s early 1970s band see The Free Design. Infobox Album Name = The Free Design Type = ep Artist = Stereolab Released = September 6, 1999 (UK) Recorded = Genre = Post rock Length = Label = Duophonic (UK) Producer = Reviews = * Allmusic… …   Wikipedia

  • The Intelligent Design Of... — Infobox Album | Name = The Intelligent Design Of... Type = Album Artist = Joan of Arc | Released = July 25 2006 Recorded = Genre = Experimental/Indie Rock Length = ??:?? Label = Record Label Records Producer = ??? Reviews = Last album = Presents… …   Wikipedia

  • The Open Design Community — The Open Design Community, or TODC, is a community of web designers, formed in December 2006. Community members release free web templates for public use, over the internet. The Open Design Community of designers, developers and programmers have… …   Wikipedia

  • Martyr of the Free Word — «Martyr of the Free Word» Sencillo de Epica del álbum Design Your Universe Formato Cd Disco de vinilo Género(s) Gothic metal Metal Sinfónico Duración 5:03 …   Wikipedia Español

  • The Hi-Lo's — were an a cappella quartet formed in 1953. They named themselves the Hi Lo s to emphasize their collective vocal range. The group consisted of: * Gene Puerling, bass baritone, arranger and leader * Bob Strasen, baritone * Bob Morse, baritone and… …   Wikipedia

  • The Association — The Association  американская музыкальная группа из Калифорнии, участники которой ансамблем создавали замысловатые вокальные гармонии в стиле The Beach Boys. Наряду с The Mamas and the Papas, The Free Design и 5th Dimension их иногда относят …   Википедия

  • The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) — Song infobox Name = The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin Groovy) Artist = Simon and Garfunkel Album = Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Genre = Folk Length = 1:43 Label = Columbia Records Producer = Bob Johnston The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”