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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Freddy Cannon born 4 December 1940

Frederick Anthony Picariello (b. 4 December 1940* in Lynn, Massachusetts) is an American rock and roll singer.

In looking back over the history of rock & roll, the sad fact remains that very few of its original practitioners stayed true to its original big beat vision. Some made a handful of brilliant sides before broader horizons — television or the movies — beckoned. Others were rockers in name only, pop
singers who couldn't wait to shimmy into a tuxedo, trading in stomp'n'shout hysteria for the more "respectable" future of dispensing supper club schmaltz. But Freddy Cannon was a true believer, a rocker to the bone. Freddy Cannon made rock & roll records; great noisy rock & roll records and all of them were infused with a gigantic drum beat that was an automatic invitation to shake it on down anyplace there was a spot to dance. Freddy Cannon remained true to the beat and made some really great fun rock & roll records in the bargain. Because of the time frame he enjoyed his biggest successes in — the late '50s to the mid-'60s — Cannon is wrongly lumped in with the "Bobbies and Frankies" that proliferated during that era. But a quick listen to any of his finest records quickly dispels any preconceived notions of him being a pretty-boy teen idol no-talent.

Frederico Anthony Picariello was born in Revere, MA on December 4, 1940.  His dad was a truck driver by day, a bandleading trumpeter by night.  Frederico taught himself to play guitar at age 16 and formed The Hurricanes, a small combo that played high school dances.  By 1956 he was a session musician, playing guitar behind The G-Clefs on their hit, "Ka-Ding-Dong." 

One afternoon Frederico’s mother handed him a poem she had written called “Rock ‘n’ Roll Baby.”  He set it to music 

and cut a demo that was heard by producer Bob Crewe and songwriter Frank Slay.  Crewe and Slay revised the lyrics, retitled the tune “Tallahassee Lassie” and had Frederico record an all-new version.   When played for American Bandstand‘s Dick Clark, the TV host suggested they add handclaps, a few shouts of “woo” and extend the bridge which begins with “she dances to the bop.”  Rather than fully re-record the track, the additions were simply dubbed in and the bridge doubled by copying what existed and editing it in.

With the help of WMEX’s Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsberg, “Tallahassee Lassie” broke in Boston and soared to #6 nationally in June 1959.  Its mix of a powerhouse vocal, pounding piano, raunchy guitar, infectious handclaps and
exhilarating “woo”s set the tone for the nearly two dozen hits to follow.  All were credited to Freddy Cannon, a stage name invented by the owner of Philadelphia’s Swan label, which released Freddy’s records through 1963.  Dick Clark, who owned a piece of Swan, helped out by featuring Cannon on American Bandstand 110 times -- more than any other performer.  Every track recorded was a rocker, from “Transistor Sister,” “Jump Over” and Chattanooga Shoeshine Boy” to “Buzz-Buzz-A-Diddle-It,” “If You Were A Rock ‘n’ Roll Record” and the million-selling “Palisades Park” (composed by future Gong Show host Chuck Barris as “Amusement Park”).  Their collective sound even inspired Freddy’s nickname: “Boom Boom.”

Of special note: the solid gold revival of a black vaudeville song from 1922, “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans.”  (For some reason, Freddy’s first name was misspelled “Freddie” on most copies of that single.)  Then in 1964, Cannon moved over to the Warner Brothers label.  The hits rolled on with “Abigail Beecher,” “The Dedication Song” and the classic party starter “Action” (the theme from Clark’s TV series Where The Action Is). 

In recent years, Freddy Cannon has concentrated on being a tireless live performer at Disneyland, Madison Square Garden and elsewhere.     (info edited from AMG & hit parade hall of

Here's a video of Freddy singing "The Dedication Song"

"The Dedication Song" just missed the national Top 40 following it's debut in February 1966. Over it's six week chart run it peaked at #41 -- inxplicably -- because it is such a GREAT record. It was also Freddy's last to reach Billboard's Hot 100 national singles chart until 1981, when he came back with "Let's Put The Fun Back in Rock 'n' Roll." 

* I note there are some that give Freddy's birth date as 1939, but I have opted for 1940 as it is given by more sources.

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

Here's some comments from my original Multiply post back in 2008.

Richard Astley-Clemas said... A case could be made that says Freddie Cannon is the True King of Rock'n'Roll
4 December 2008 08:36

Peter Smith said...Thanks Robert, This back ground information makes the music more enjoyable
4 December 2008 10:20