Freddy Cannon Biography

Freddy Picariello, 4 December 1940, Lynn, Massachusetts, USA. A frantic and enthusiastic vocalist, known as the ‘last rock ‘n’ roll star’, Cannon was the link between wild rock ‘n’ roll and the softer Philadelphia-based sounds that succeeded it. The son of a dance-band leader, he fronted Freddy Karmon And The Hurricanes and played guitar on sessions for the G-Clefs. He was spotted by Boston disc jockey Jack McDermott, who gave a song that Freddy and his mother had written, entitled ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Baby’, to top writing and production team Bob Crewe and Frank Slay; they improved the song, retitled it ‘Tallahassee Lassie’, and renamed him Freddy Cannon. The record was released in 1959 on Swan, a label part-owned by Dick Clark, who often featured Cannon on his US Bandstand television programme and road shows. The single was the first of 21 US hits that ‘Boom Boom’ (as the ex-truck driver was known) enjoyed over the next seven years. He had five US and four UK Top 20 singles, the biggest being his revival of ‘Way Down Yonder In New Orleans’ in 1959, and ‘Palisades Park’, written by television personality Chuck Barris, in 1962. His only successful album was The Explosive! Freddy Cannon in 1960, which made history as the first rock album to top the UK charts. During his long career, Cannon also recorded with Warner Brothers Records, Buddah Records, Claridge (where he revived his two biggest hits), We Make Rock ‘N’ Roll Records, Royal American, MCA, Metromedia and Sire Records. He returned briefly to the charts in 1981 in the company of Dion’s old group, the Belmonts, with a title that epitomized his work: ‘Let’s Put The Fun Back Into Rock ‘N’ Roll’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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