Sunday, October 19, 2014

Get Well Wishes To Freddy Cannon

We gave Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon the spotlight treatment with a three day mini-series last week here in Forgotten Hits.  (Scroll back to October 8th, 9th and 10th if you missed any part of it)  

Freddy's been through a couple of extreme emotional highs and lows of late ...  

A couple of months ago we were able to reunite Freddy with the original demo record he cut back in 1958 called "She's My Rock And Roll Baby", a song that turned into Freddy's first big hit "Tallahassee Lassie", thanks to an acetate that found its way into dee jay (and avid record collector) Eric Lee's hands.  I can only tell you that Freddy was nothing short of ecstatic to have a copy of this mega-rare pressing in his hands again.  

But then, a few weeks later, Freddy found himself in the hospital having quadruple by-pass heart surgery.  (Talk about your emotional rollercoasters!!!) 

In any event, Freddy's back home now, resting comfortably and, as The Bee Gees might say, mending his (literally) broken heart! 

We asked our Forgotten Hits Readers if they'd like to send along some "Get Well Wishes" to Freddy ... and here is how they responded ...  

*****GET WELL, FREDDY!!!***** 

Hi Freddy!  
Hope you're doing much better ... I know you're still "on the mend" ... so take it easy ... and do what you're supposed to ... and you'll be back up there performing in no time!!!  (I have a close friend who just went through this exact same procedure ... three and a half months later he was back up on his feet and working two jobs, one of which is laying concrete!!!)  
So hang in there, buddy!  SO glad to hear the acetate made it back into your hands.  Hope you saw our little three-day series we ran recounting all of the events.  
Your Friend Forever In Music, 
Kent Kotal 
Forgotten Hits  

The article looks great, and my local dance club is hopefully going to link to the story!  
I am so sorry to hear about Freddy's obvious emergency, but I'm glad he's had the surgery!  Hopefully, he'll make a speedy recovery and get back to rockin' and rollin'!    Regards,  
Eric Lee     

I am still crazy about Freddy Cannon's music after all these years.  He wasn't JUST a teen idol, he was a first class talent and star of the first magnitude.  My very favorites were the old standards he sped up and updated, such as 'Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy,' California, Here I Come,' and 'Muskrat Ramble.'  Any time I see that grin, it makes me smile, too.   Tell him this fan is pulling for him.   

Get well "boom boom" we need you here and not in rock and roll heaven!    
Mike De Martino     

Kent -  
Great story about the lost demo of Freddy Cannon!  I had the pleasure of working with him in the 1970's when he was on Frank Slay's Claridge Records (best know for "Don't Call Us We'll Call You" by Sugarloaf) and was promoting his own record to radio and with the distributors (we were the Claridge distributor for Cleveland).  Freddy is in my top three list of all time best guys to work with, along with Tommy James and Felix Cavaliere.  Freddy also recorded a single for Amherst Records of Buffalo in the 1980's and our company (Action Music) was both the distributor of the label and were owned by the same person who owned Amherst.  Freddy's Swan records ALWAYS got played at WKBW in Buffalo, as KB was the ultimate test market for Bernie Binnick and Swan on many records (Wild Weekend by the Rockin' Rebels is a good example).  Freddye's birthday is coming up in December, and I always remember to send him a birthday email.  I wish him a speedy recovery!!! 

My thoughts and prayers are with Freddy and I'm anxious to see him up and about soon.  Please pass this along!   
Jim Southern    

Hi Kent - 
GREAT STORY on the FIRST 45 from Freddy!  I have all the singles that guy did and many of the non-hit singles should have been hits.  That is I thought I had all the singles till reading your story – would love to hear that first version.  Keep up the killer groovy web site man – hell, you keep us all rocking man !! 
Your buddy - 
Jeff James    

Glad you mentioned "Transistor Sister' by Freddy Cannon. I was just telling my niece how I was 'hot stuff' walking around with my transistor radio listening to all the hits!! I told her that was the I-Pod of the day!  
Long live Rock and Roll and All the Memories. 

Very sad to hear about Freddy’s surgery but equally very happy to hear it was found in time and that it has been successful.  
For the magazine you might like to ask Freddy to tell you the story of the picture of him with Jeanette and a rather grumpy looking Elvis. He told me the story last year and I had to laugh ... after all, that was Elvis we are talking about! 
I have written to Jeanette wishing him well but please pass on my best wishes when you next write to him.  
Take care, 
Rockin’ Lord Geoff (in England)  

Hey Freddy, 
Although we’ve never met, I’ve always enjoyed your contribution to music.  A good friend of mine, Bruce Belland of the Four Preps, had the same operation as you a few years ago and now he’s as awnry as ever.  My best to you and glad to hear your on the road to full recovery. 
Late of the Lettermen and now the Reunion, 
Gary Pike    

I am so happy that Freddy Cannon's surgery went well!  Like Paul Revere, Freddy is one of the most energetic entertainers both on record and live that I know of.  I have often commented that Freddy put as much energy or more into his music than even the DC5.  We likely had more of his records in our house when we were just 6 or 7 than any other artist!  That's saying a lot for the four Besch Brothers!  
Seeing him do a stoll-like dance line during his "Dedication Song" Bandstand performance was probably the first time I had seen this dance at all.  That song and "Action" are on my MP3 player constantly as well as "Jump Over" "Muskrat Ramble" and the bigger hits.  His use of honky tonk piano and New Orleans harmonica and sax fills made it an early RNB experience for us brothers as well.    
He's always been upbeat and I cannot think but that the Raiders and many others owe him a debt of gratitude for the use of "whooo" in their songs!  He always had current topics in his records and appealed to the teen and pre-teen years usually.  He often schmoozed of Boston and dances of the day and schools and cities in his lyrics, which made it fun for all of us as well.  He did standards unlike any way you would ever imagine hearing them and would turn around and have songs with titles including hippies, radio, autographs, the moon, summertime and made it all fun. 
Here's a photo of Freddy talking with WLS fave Art Roberts on Art's Kumzitz show.  If memory serves me, his interview with Lloyd Thaxton from the latter's show is still on video "in the can" waiting to "jump out of it." 
Keep rockin', Freddy ... and "if I were a rock 'n roll record", I'd want it to sound like one of Freddy's!  Get well soon.  
Clark Besch

Hi Kent, 
I love Freddy Cannon ... and what a great story! 
Hola Freddy!!! 
Get well fast! You've always been 'Wicked Pissa' in the hearts of Boston Fans listening to you over 1510 WMEX!
'Did you Fenway it this morning?' ha ha Perhaps one too many cheeseburgers at Adventure Car Hop clogged your arteries ha ha!!!   
Your music is full of the carefree innocence of our youth and vibrates still in our hearts! 
I can still hear the sounds of that XKE that Abigail Beecher drove!!!!   
Thanks a million! 

It's really amazing what they can do in surgery these days ... even open-heart / by-pass surgery has become normal, run-of-the-mill procedures ... we truly have come a long, long way in our lifetimes.
The key to a lot of it is catching it in time ... and then acting on it in a proactive way.
Here's one of my all-time favorite Woody Allen bits from 50+ years ago when he was still a stand-up comic appearing in places like Mr. Kelly's here in Chicago.
Hope this makes you smile, Freddy!  (kk)

Well she comes from Tallahassee ... whoo ... she's got a hi-fi chassy ...  
Freddy, best of luck with your recovery. You are truly a symbol of the golden era of rock 'n roll. Your energy always seemed boundless.  
The legion of fan you have developed over the years is countless.  
Man, you made me yearn to go to Palisades Park!  
I know I speak for the entire Forgotten Hits Family when I tell you that you are a hero to so many of us ... a man who dared to make us live, love and sing a long.  
Chet Coppock  
'Author: Chet Coppock: Laying it on the Line  
Host: Notre Dame Football on WLS      

Although I had, of course, collected and broadcast his powerhouse records for years, I did not actually meet Freddy Cannon for the first time until Frank Slay introduced us in 1976.  Freddy cheerfully sat down for an interview in the offices of Slay's Claridge Records and could not have been more open, honest, enthusiastic and delightful.  Later, when I began programming KRLA in Los Angeles, one of the first people to stop by for lunch was Freddy -- who at that time was doubling as an independent record promotion man (in between concert dates).  I remember telling him how much I enjoyed not only his big hits but also a lot of the smaller ones (like "If You Were A Rock 'n' Roll Record"), B sides (such as "Beechwood City") and album tracks (his "Action" LP being a particular favorite).  Years later I licensed a lot of his stuff for various CD box sets and could not have released my 4-disc collection "Dedicated To The One I Love" (a set made up entirely of one-heart-to-another musical messages) without "The Dedication Song" as the perfect closing track.  Freddy remains one of my all-time favorite rock stars, not only professionally but personally as he truly is an instantly likeable really nice guy.  Glad to hear you sailed through the surgery, Freddy.  Now bounce back to again put the fun back in rock 'n' roll!  
Crank this up:   

Gary Theroux  
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"   

Kent -
Please pass along my get well wishes to Freddy Cannon.
Hi, Freddy,  
My name is Stephanie Campbell and I listen to and read Forgotten Hits.    
Just wanted to wish you a speedy recovery!    

Hi Mr. Cannon,  
I've been a fan of yours since I was about three or four years old and heard Palisades Park on American Bandstand.  I watched it every day so saw you more than a few times. Moving ahead to the 1970's I was in the audience on a couple of dates you were on with Bobby Vee, and Del Shannon. I was in a Minnesota based band called Johnny Holm and the Traveling Fun show and we were booked by a guy who did some booking for you and Bobby. His name was Dave Hoffman.   
Those times I saw you, you totally rocked the place. I talked to Bobby over the years, and he always had great things to say about you.  
In my world you were always one of the real rock 'n Rollers. Hope to get a chance to see you out on the road some day. Come to Minnesota, please.  
Bill Scherer  
I say we send Freddy up to Minnesota ... right after he plays his show here in Chicago ... 'cause I wanna see him, too!  (kk)  

Hi Kent!   
I thought you might find this interesting if you haven't already seen it.  
Thanks for all your hard work!  
Thanks, Woody!  
I tried to find an email address for Kenny Paulson's son but couldn't find anything listed ... thought he might enjoy our article, especially since his father's work was so highly regarded on this record.  
If anybody out there knows how to get in touch with Stephen Paulson, please let me know ... or send him the links to our Freddy Cannon series!  (kk)  

Hi Freddy,
I have not ever met you, and may never, but I have seen you several times in Bowzer's line-up.  Keep getting better.  My students love listening to 'Palisades Park' and 'Where the Action Is'.  Did we ever think we would be a part of such timeless music?  
Teacher with a Musical Passion,  
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano   

When I read the news about Freddy's by-pass surgery, I was transported back to '59, when I first saw him on "American Bandstand," heard his classic "Tallahassee Lassie" on the local Top-40 station, and became an 'instant fan.'   
Although we grew up on opposites sides of the USA, Freddy in MA, me in CA, I was blown away by his music, the excitement he brought to the stage, and his likeable personality. And, after all, we shared the name, "Frederick," although neither of us would use it throughout our lives. He was "Freddy" and I was "Fred."     
It was a great time for music, it was a great time to be growing up in America -- at that time, the most feared -- and respected -- nation in the world. I was working as a 'gopher' on KXOA Radio, getting 'paid' in 45's and an occasional album. Freddy's frequent appearances on "Bandstand" made him one of the most recognizable artists in the country. And, as a "Dick Clark" wannabee, I rushed home every weekday afternoon to tune in to the show--and again on Saturday night's "Dick Clark Show."    
Although "Palisades Park" and "Way Down Yonder" were huge Top 10 national hits, not all records by a number of 'name' artists were hits across the country. Sacramento seemed to go out on a limb more often than some of the larger markets and play records 'out of the box.' Such a record was "Buzz Buzz A-Diddly," a pretty good sized hit in Sacramento. Another record that did not reach major chart success was Ray Peterson's Dunes recording of "I Forgot What It Was Like."  By then I'd become a deejay on several Sacramento radio stations, and was supplementing my meager $2 an hour radio wage by booking emerging recording artists into high school assemblies, all-night grad parties and teen clubs, among them Johnny Crawford, Jan & Dean, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Diamonds, Bobby Freeman and Jerry Wallace. I could make $50 on a weekend, a lot of money for a 19 year old in '63.    
That all changed on May 24, 1963 when I promoted my first Beach Boys concert at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. I made a whopping $600 (each Beach Boy made about $55 after William Morris commission, plane tickets, hotel and meals). I'd found my 'calling.'     
KXOA Radio approached me a few months later and asked me to put together an 'appreciation show,' leaving the decision as to who to book pretty much up to me. My choices included Johnny Burnette, The Rigtheous Brothers, The Rivingtons, Ray Peterson and Freddy Cannon. I was on 'cloud 9,' booking some of America's hottest talent--singers who just two or three years before--I had been listening to, or playing, on the radio. I was actually getting paid for something I would have gladly done for 'free.' Freddy and Ray went over great, as both were not only great singers but great 'live' entertainers as well. They were also 'nice guys.'     
Freddy -- I am indeed honored to call you a 'friend' and I wish you a speedy and thorough recovery. You are a big part of the 'soundtrack of our lives' and you have thousands of friends and grateful fans praying and rooting for you. Fred Vail  
Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.  
"Music City, USA"     

Hey Kent --  
Quite a feat in getting those acetates returned to the "Big Blast From Boston". I am constantly amazed at your energy and skill set in preserving  music which has pretty much disappeared from America's mindset.  
Thanks for another job well done.  


Kent -  
I was completely surprised by your Freddy Cannon story last week!  I wasn't aware that you were working on this reunion for him with his original Boston demo. The way you wrote and sequenced the telling of the story of how this all happened was incredibly well done.  You write better than many Hollywood writers.    
I spoke to Freddy last night for the first time since he was released from the hospital.  He is still very weak, but that is expected after the surgery he went through.  He was so overjoyed about you helping him track down the demo, he couldn't say thank you enough.  Right now he doesn't have the strength to return e-mails, but he wanted me to assure you that he'll be in touch with you once he is. He wants you to know how meaningful this was for him.  His wife, Jeanette, read him portions of the three chapters that you wrote in FH.     
You should be very proud of the lives you have touched in such a positive way through your blog which celebrates our passion for music.    
I hope a label reaches out to Freddy in the near future about another compilation of his songs, because, as you suggested, this demo would make a terrific and valuable addition to it.    
I'm thrilled to hear you were able to prepare a Sunday comments posting for this weekend, because when it doesn't appear, it's like not having 60 MINUTES to look forward to on Sunday nights!    
-- Tom Cuddy   
Thanks, Tom, that means a lot!  I am SO happy that we were able to get this acetate back into Freddy's hands ... I know how much it meant to him ... and if even just the slightest amount of joy from this helps him through his recovery and inspires him to get back up on stage again to perform, I couldn't be happier than to have done my share to help make that happen.  He's one of the true originals ... and he needs to know how much the fans still love him.  (kk)    

I missed "Palisades Park" the first time around ... I was just a kid when that came out and wasn't even really listening to the radio yet.  (I was eight years old for the majority of 1962 ... my world back then consisted of baseball cards and comic books! ... so when I finally DID hear "Palisades Park" many years later on an oldies station, a wave of memories came rushing back.  Is there ANY kid out there who grew up reading "Superman" that doesn't remember THIS ad?!?!?)  kk