Stream It This Weekend: ‘Good Ol’ Freda’

Ami Armstrong

By Ami Armstrong

on 11.20.14 in News

Every week, Wondering Sound contributor Ami Armstrong recommends a music film available to stream.

“I was just a secretary then and, funny enough, I’m still a secretary now. Who would want to hear a secretary’s story?” — Freda Kelly

We would, Freda!

Freda Kelly is one of few people with early and constant access to the Beatles who didn’t write some sort of tell-all for profit. It was only after her grandson was born that she felt ready to share her unique role in the Fab Four’s history.

Good Ol’ Freda, directed by Ryan White, starts with the Beatles’ voices sending out holiday wishes to their fans. George Harrison gives a shoutout to Freda Kelly, their beloved secretary, who was in charge of all things Beatlemania for the 10 years the band was together.

At the age of 17, Kelly worked in a typing pool among rows of secretaries in Liverpool, England. A coworker asked her to lunch at the Cavern Club — a warehouse basement that would become known as a proving ground for British Pop. The Beatles were playing that day with Pete Best still on drums. Kelly was immediately hooked, and returned to the club every day for lunch.

Even now, describes herself first as a fan. Once the band signed with manager Brian Epstein, she was brought in to the very small team dedicated to making sure the world knew about the Beatles.

What’s particularly sweet about this documentary is how none of the Beatles were prepared for the scope of their fame — even as “Love Me Do” was climbing the charts. Once they were an international success, none of them expected it to last as long as it did. As is well documented, the members of the band grew apart, and Epstein’s unexpected death in 1967 proved to be the final ungluing. The band had become miserable for everyone involved, including Kelly. The official fan club ended when the band broke up, and she moved on to another job as a secretary.

Kelly went on to live what she would describe as an ordinary life, but this film gives us a look into an extraordinary chapter of it.

Watch Good Ol’ Freda on Netflix and watch the trailer below.