Bobby Freeman

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For the football player, see Bobby Freeman (American football). For the Louisiana politician, see Robert "Bobby" Freeman.
Bobby Freeman
Born (1940-06-13) June 13, 1940 (age 75)
Origin San Francisco, California, United States
Genres Soul music
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Vocals, piano, keyboards
Years active 1958–present
Labels Dootone Records, Josie Records, Autumn Records, Touch Music
Associated acts The Romancers, The West Coast Vocaleers

Bobby Freeman (born June 13, 1940)[1] is an African-American soul and R&B singer, songwriter and record producer from San Francisco, California. He is best known for his two Top Ten hits, the first in 1958 on Josie Records called "Do You Want to Dance" and the second in 1964 for Autumn Records, "C'mon and Swim".[2]

"Do You Want to Dance" was covered later (as "Do You Wanna Dance") by Del Shannon, the Beach Boys, Johnny Rivers, Bette Midler, John Lennon, Cliff Richard, the Mamas & The Papas and the Ramones. "C'mon and Swim" was written and produced by 20-year-old Sylvester Stewart, later known as Sly Stone.

Freeman began his recording career at age 14 with the Romancers, who recorded briefly for Dootone Records. At age 17, he scored a hit with "Do You Want to Dance" and appeared on the pop charts with various follow-ups through 1961. In 1964, he was back in the Top Ten with the dance-craze hit "C'mon and Swim", which reached Number 5. The craze had cooled by the time he released his follow-up "S-W-I-M" which failed to sell as well (#56), but he continued to tour widely over the next few years.

In 1964, Bobby Freeman played nightly at the Condor Club in San Francisco where Carol Doda performed her topless go-go dancing shows. Mainly supporting himself as a singer in clubs by the late 1960s, he released another single in 1974 on Touch Music, but it met with little commercial success. He has performed at the Bay Area Music ("Bammy") Awards in recent years.


Notable singles[edit]

  • 1958 "Do You Want to Dance" (#5 Pop, #2 R&B)
  • 1958 "Betty Lou Got a New Pair of Shoes" (#37 Pop, #20 R&B)
  • 1958 "Need Your Love" (#54 Pop, #29 R&B)
  • 1959 "Mary Ann Thomas" (#90 Pop)
  • 1959 "Ebb Tide" (#93 Pop)
  • 1960 "(I Do the) Shimmy Shimmy" (#37 Pop)
  • 1961 "The Mess Around" (#89 Pop)
  • 1964 "C'mon and Swim" (#5 Pop)
  • 1964 "S-W-I-M" (#56 Pop)
  • 1974 "Everything's Love" (Uncharted)



  • The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Pareles, Jon & Romanowski, Patricia, eds., Summit Books 1983


  1. ^ "Today in history". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 13, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ Wynn, Ron. Biography for Bobby Freeman at AllMusic Retrieved 13 June 2010