Born in the Bronx, New York City on November 19, 1943, Lipsius began playing the clarinet at age 9, alto and tenor saxophones in Junior High School, and the piano at Music and Art High School in Manhattan. He continued his studies at Berklee School of Music (1961–62).
Fred Lipsius was the original saxophonist, arranger and conductor with Blood, Sweat & Tears from 1967 to 1971. He also doubled on keyboards. While with the band, he won nine Gold Records plus a Grammy Award for his arrangement of "Spinning Wheel". Fred also arranged and co-arranged, respectively, the hit singles "Hi-De-Ho" and "You've Made Me So Very Happy". In both the Down Beat and Playboy jazz polls he placed in the top ten of the alto sax category. Fred has composed, arranged and produced radio and TV commercials, including 2 CBS TV logos- themes introducing the season's upcoming shows. In the spring of 1982, he toured in Japan and Europe with Simon and Garfunkel.