Dennis Frederiksen

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Dennis Frederiksen
Dennis Frederiksen.jpg
Background information
Birth nameDennis Hardy Frederiksen
Also known asFergie Frederiksen, David London
Born(1951-05-15)May 15, 1951
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
DiedJanuary 18, 2014(2014-01-18) (aged 62)
Mound, Minnesota, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active
  • 1975–87
  • 1995–2014
Labels Frontiers
Associated acts

Dennis Hardy Frederiksen (May 15, 1951 – January 18, 2014) was an American rock singer best known as the former lead singer of Trillion, Angel, LeRoux and Toto, as well as providing backing vocals for Survivor. He was occasionally credited as Fergie Frederiksen or just Fergie. He contributed to hit singles in three consecutive years, all with different bands: Survivor's "American Heartbeat" in 1982, LeRoux's "Carrie's Gone" in 1983 and Toto's "Stranger in Town" in 1984.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Angel is an American rock band from Washington, D.C., United States, formed in the mid-1970s by Punky Meadows and Mickie Jones. They were signed to Casablanca Records, and had the image of dressing in white.

LeRoux is a band founded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA that saw its heyday from 1978 to 1984. Their best-known songs were "Take a Ride On a Riverboat" with its 4-part a capella intro, the regional smash "New Orleans Ladies", "Nobody Said It Was Easy ", "Addicted", and "Carrie's Gone". The band continues to perform live throughout the U.S., mostly at fairs and festivals in the Louisiana area.


Early life and career

Frederiksen started his musical career at the age of 13, and he played clubs and pubs at the age of 15 with a group called the Common People in Grand Rapids, MI. [1] In 1975, while he was still attending college at Central Michigan, Frederiksen was asked by his friend Tommy Shaw to replace him as the lead vocalist for the band MSFunk, as Shaw was leaving to join Styx. [2] Frederiksen was with MSFunk for a year before disbanding in 1976. While living in Chicago, he helped form a local progressive rock band called Trillion with keyboardist Patrick Leonard. [2] Trillion's debut album was released in 1978 and was produced by Gary Lyons (producer of Foreigner's debut album); all but one of its nine tracks were co-written by Frederiksen. The band went on to tour with Styx and Heart, where Frederiksen began performing his trademark back-flips during live shows to fire up crowds, a gimmick he would continue with later bands. Frederiksen would leave the group after one album, and was replaced by Thom Griffin.

Grand Rapids, Michigan City in Michigan, United States

Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in Michigan, and the largest city in West Michigan. It is on the Grand River about 30 miles (48 km) east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 1,005,648, and the combined statistical area of Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland had a population of 1,321,557. Grand Rapids is the county seat of Kent County.

Michigan State of the United States of America

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

Central Michigan University public research university in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, United States

Central Michigan University (CMU) is a public research university located in Mount Pleasant in the U.S. state of Michigan. Established in 1892, Central Michigan University is one of the largest universities in the state of Michigan and one of the nation's 100 largest public universities. It has more than 20,000 students on its Mount Pleasant campus and 7,000 students enrolled online at more than 60 locations worldwide.

After leaving Trillion, Frederiksen started focusing mainly on session work; primarily movie soundtracks. In 1979, he signed with Casablanca Records, where he performed under the alias of David London. (Frederiksen wanted to separate his rock image from the disco image Casablanca was known for.) He sang two tracks ("Samantha" and "Sound Of The City") on the soundtrack to Can't Stop The Music (which reached number 47 on the Billboard 200), [3] as well as a more AOR-style solo album in 1981, with his friend Mark Christian as the lead guitarist. This would turn out to be one of the last albums released by Casablanca Records, as the fall of disco in the early 1980s forced the label to fold, eventually becoming part of Polygram Records. He would drop the stage name soon after, officially going by his childhood nickname "Fergie".

Casablanca Records American recording label

Casablanca Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group and operated under Republic Records. Under its founder Neil Bogart, Casablanca was most successful during the disco era of the mid to late 1970s. The label currently focuses on Dance and Electronic music under the direction of Rob Stevenson and Brett Alperowitz.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

Album-oriented rock (AOR) is an American FM radio format focusing on album tracks by rock artists. AOR evolved from progressive rock radio in the mid-1970s, using research and formal programming to create an album rock format with greater commercial appeal.

While at Casablanca, he met Greg Giuffria, of the recently defunct glam-rock band Angel (one of the few rock acts signed by the record label). The two started working in his studio in late 1981 in hopes of a possible new Angel LP under a new line-up. It was in these Angel recordings where Frederiksen met bassist Ricky Phillips. The two became long-time friends and have collaborated on many projects. This line-up never completed an official album, as Giuffria started focusing heavily on the formation of his group Giuffria in 1982, but did record three songs during band sessions: "Whips", "Troubleshooter", and "Should Have Known Better". These tracks were later released on the Angel Rarities collection, and were eventually covered by White Sister.

Ricky Phillips American bass guitarist

Ricky Lynn Phillips is an American bass guitarist and a member of the rock band Styx since 2003. He has also played in Nasty Habit, as a member of The Babys and Bad English, and with Coverdale-Page and Ted Nugent.

Giuffria was an American rock band that was formed in 1983 by Gregg Giuffria after his departure from the band Angel, a glam/hard rock band from Washington, D.C..

White Sister (band)

White Sister was an American hard rock and AOR band formed in 1980. Their song "Save Me Tonight" appeared on the soundtrack album for the 1985 Columbia Pictures film, Fright Night. Their song "April" can be heard in the 1986 Metro-Goldwyn Mayer film, Killer Party. The band also performs in the movie. The band recorded the song "Touch the Sky" which can be heard in the 1986 film Thrashin' starring Josh Brolin. Their song "Dancin' on Midnight" appeared on the soundtrack album for the 1989 Magnum Pictures film Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Their song "Fashion by Passion" appeared on the soundtrack album for Touchstone Pictures film Stella (1990) starring Bette Midler.

After Kansas singer Steve Walsh originally left the band, auditions were held in early 1982. Frederiksen was one of several candidates who tried out, but John Elefante eventually took over the lead vocal spot. [4] However, Kansas manager Budd Carr spotted Fergie during auditions and began working with him soon after, which ultimately would prove instrumental for Frederiksen's career. It was around this time that long-time friends Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan from Survivor invited Frederiksen to their studio during the recording of their third album, while lead singer Dave Bickler was experiencing vocal cord strain. Ultimately, Bickler was able to finish the album, and Frederiksen assisted with background vocals. The band's third album Eye of the Tiger was released in May 1982, with Frederiksen credited simply as "Fergie". [5] It jumped to number 2 on the Billboard charts, and eventually went 2x Platinum on the strength of its #1 title track. Frederiksen provided harmonies on five tracks, including the album's second single, "American Heartbeat", which charted in the top 20. [6]

Kansas (band) American progressive rock band

Kansas is an American rock band that became popular in the 1970s initially on album-oriented rock charts and later with hit singles such as "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind". The band has produced nine gold albums, three multi-platinum albums, one other platinum studio album (Monolith), one platinum live double album, and a million-selling single, "Dust in the Wind". Kansas appeared on the Billboard charts for over 200 weeks throughout the 1970s and 1980s and played to sold-out arenas and stadiums throughout North America, Europe and Japan. "Carry On Wayward Son" was the second-most-played track on US classic rock radio in 1995 and No. 1 in 1997.

Steve Walsh (musician) American musician

Steve Walsh is an American musician, singer and songwriter best known for his work as a member of the progressive rock band Kansas. He retired from the band in 2014 He sings lead on four of Kansas' best-known hits: "Carry On Wayward Son," "Dust in the Wind", "Point of Know Return", and "All I Wanted", the last two of which he co-wrote.

John Elefante American rock singer

John Elefante is an American singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, and producer. He is known for his tenure as frontman of the rock group Kansas and is currently touring with several groups that have featured members from classic rock bands.

In late summer of 1982, Frederiksen and Asia session-guitarist Jim Odom were both recruited by manager Budd Carr, [5] to replace lead singer/guitarist Jeff Pollard of LeRoux, who had recently left the band to start his own Christian ministry. Fergie became LeRoux's new front-man soon after. So Fired Up, the band's fifth album, [7] was released in February 1983. It included the hit song "Carrie's Gone", which Frederiksen wrote shortly after breaking up with then girlfriend Carrie Hamilton (Carol Burnett's daughter). The band was dropped from RCA Records, but are still together and touring, and were recently inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Frederiksen reunited with Ricky Phillips to start a brand new band called Abandon Shame, featuring Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain, and his wife Tane. The quartet worked on 5 songs in 1984, with Fergie only singing on one of the tracks. The Kevin Elson-produced "You Can't Do That", "Burnin' in the Third Degree", and "Photoplay" appeared in the soundtrack to The Terminator , [8] and were credited to Tahnee Cain and Trianglz. While "Kicks" and "Over Night Sensation" would eventually appear in the 1985 film Armed Response , [9] with Tane and Fergie singing the leads respectively.

Asia (band) rock band from England

Asia are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1981. The most commercially successful line-up was its original, which was a supergroup of four members of different progressive rock bands of the 1970s: lead vocalist and bassist John Wetton of King Crimson and U.K., guitarist Steve Howe of Yes, keyboardist Geoff Downes of Yes and the Buggles, and drummer Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Their debut album, Asia, released in 1982, remains their best selling album and went to number one in several countries.

Carrie Louise Hamilton was an American actress, singer, and playwright. She was the daughter of comedian Carol Burnett and producer Joe Hamilton.

Carol Burnett American actress, comedienne, singer, dancer, writer

Carol Creighton Burnett is an American actress, comedian, singer and writer, whose career spans seven decades of television. She is best known for her groundbreaking television variety show, The Carol Burnett Show, originally aired on CBS. It was the first of its kind to be hosted by a woman. She has achieved success on stage, television and film in varying genres including dramatic and comedic roles. She has also appeared on various talk shows and as a panelist on game shows.

Phillips, who was friends with Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro, gave him a Frederiksen demo. [10] Toto, who had fired lead singer Bobby Kimball in the midst of recording their fifth album Isolation , invited Frederiksen to come audition for his spot. After edging out Eric Martin, [11] he got the job, and the band finished recording Isolation, which was released in October 1984. It included the hit song "Stranger in Town" and went Gold. The music video for "Stranger in Town", which featured Fergie as the murder victim, [12] was nominated at the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Direction. After touring with Toto through 1985, Frederiksen was fired from the band during the initial recording sessions for Fahrenheit , mainly due to his difficulties with performing in the studio. [11] He has repeatedly cited his brief tenure with Toto as the highlight of his career. [10] [13]

Later life and career

Following his expulsion from Toto, Frederiksen took to touring as "Toto", using a setlist which included many Toto songs that predated his time with the band. This angered the real Toto, who had already taken out a restraining order against Frederiksen's predecessor, Bobby Kimball, to stop him from doing the same thing. [11] (Toto and Frederiksen were reconciled in 2007, at which point he joined them on stage for a few guest spots on their tour.) [10] After 12 years in the music industry, Frederiksen unofficially retired and started focusing on the restaurant business with his father.

He returned to music in the mid-1990s to reunite and collaborate with Ricky Phillips. Their Frederiksen/Phillips album was released in 1995, and featured Giuffria's David Glen Eisley on background vocals. Phillips also assisted Frederiksen with his solo album Equilibrium in 1999, which also featured artists like Neal Schon, Steve Porcaro, Jason Scheff, Ron Wikso, Rocket Ritchotte, Dave Amato, Bruce Gowdy and many others. [14] He later explained, "I tried to do without [music] but I was miserable." [15] The album was critically acclaimed in Europe and Japan. [16] In 2002, he joined the band Mecca, where he reunited with Jim Peterik. Fergie has also done several collaborations with Tommy Denander since his return to music, and has also toured with the World Classic Rockers and the Voices of Classic Rock. [15]

In June 2010, Frederiksen announced he had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. [17] Medical treatments for the disease made it difficult for him to do recording sessions, and initially he planned on retiring again. [16] However, his friend Alex Ligertwood pushed him to continue. After starting treatment, he released two more solo albums: Happiness is the Road and Any Given Moment. [16]

He died from liver cancer on January 18, 2014 at his home in Mound, Minnesota. He was survived by his three sons. [18]


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  5. 1 2 Louisiana Music Hall of Fame  "INDUCTEES-VIDEOS LeRoux #48 LIVE performance and interview Fergie-Jim-Leon-Rod", Retrieved on May 3, 2010.
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  10. 1 2 3 (September 2007). Fergie Frederiksen interview, Lords of Metal.
  11. 1 2 3 Seely, Todd (7 February 2005). The Fuze Interview with Steve Lukather, Retrieved on July 10, 2015.
  12. The Toto Encyclopedia: Music Videos, Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  13. Romano, Allessio (2009). Fergie Frederiksen Interview, The Official Toto Italian Website.
  14. Equilibrium overview, Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  15. 1 2 Ritchie, Jason (2002). 10 Questions With...: Fergie Frederiksen, Get Ready to Rock!: The Website for Classic, Metal, & Progressive Rock.
  16. 1 2 3 (August 30, 2011). Former Toto Singer Fergie Frederiksen to Release Happiness is The Road Album in October, Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles.
  17. Former Toto/Survivor Singer Diagnosed With Inoperable Cancer, Retrieved on June 22, 2010
  18. Bream, Jon. "Ex-Toto singer Fergie Frederiksen, of Mound, dies at 62. His niece, sister and great-nephew were able to make it to the funeral from Wellston, MI. Fredrikson will be missed by the fans and bandmates, but no one will miss him more than his family all around the states. His great-great-niece will always miss him, he is the reason she has aspired to be a musical artist also. | Artcetera". Retrieved 2014-02-06.