Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tuesday This And That

I've got a question about a survey and not the kind you feature every Saturday on FH. Yesterday as I clicked on to your website, before it popped up was a survey - questionaire from someone or something called Houston? Not quite sure. It's just like those commercials I see on television with an old song playing in the back ground. I know and recognize the song but can't remember the product being advertised. Anyway, I took the survey; it took some 30 seconds to complete. At the end was offered a free $50 gift certificate with various items being offered. They had a flashlight shown which looked good to me. I didn't offer to get it because they said all that I had to pay was the shipping charges. My question to you is have any other of your readers that you know of, had this question-aire pop up on their computer before FH popped up?
This is the very first I've ever heard of this ... and no, it is NOT supposed to happen.
I will have to check with Blogger and Yahoo to see what may have caused this.
Please know that Forgotten Hits is NOT involved or connected with any of this –
We have always been ad-free and will continue to be (unless there is some controlling source behind the scenes that we are not aware of dictating otherwise)
I can only apologize for the intrusion ... and assure you that it was not something that Forgotten Hits orchestrated. 
If other readers have run into a similar situation, please let us know … because this is definitely NOT what we signed up for!  (kk)  

Earlier this month Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon did an interview online to announce the 10th anniversary Malt Shop Cruise, which he’ll be performing on.
Freddy is NOT slowing down!
-Tom Cuddy

By Ed Osborne
He’s the last of the early rockers still standing: still recording, still performing, and … yes … still rockin’. We get The Scoop on his career and his upcoming appearance on the 10th Anniversary Malt Shop Memories celebration cruise from Freddy Cannon.

“Well, she comes from Tallahassee . (Woo!) She got a hi-fi chassis. (Woo!) Maybe looks a little sassy. (Woo!) But, to me she’s real classy. (Woo!) Yeah, my Tallahassee lassie. Down in F-L-A.” 

We know every word, every “woo,” every handclap, every drum beat. They’re seared into our collective memory. There ain’t nothin’ subtle about this record. It’s true-blue, kick-butt rock ’n’ roll.

The year: 1959. The singer: Freddy Cannon. When “Tallahassee Lassie” peaks at #6 on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 pop chart as summer begins, it’s the only guitar, bass, and drums single around. And that wasn’t an accident.

I remember what Bernie Bennick (head of Swan records, Freddy’s label) said to me and it stuck with me forever. He said. ‘Freddy, if you’re different and the song is different, you’ll be a hit.’ And he was right. That’s the word: different. Not sounding or being like anybody else. That was pure rock ’n’ roll.” 

Although Freddy had some experience in the studio — playing guitar on The G-Clefs’ 1956 Top 20 Pop / Top 10 R&B 45 “Ka-Ding Dong” and waxing “Cha Cha Doo” with his own band The Spindrifts a year later — he was still a novice when it came time for “Tallahassee Lassie.” 

“I was a little nervous,” says Freddy. “I was young, 19 years old. I wanted to do it, but I didn’t know what was going to come out of it.” 

Even if Freddy and his band had been pros, the experience was still a mite unusual. “I had my band in there and I was singing the song. It was with the first lyrics me and my mom wrote, [called] ‘She’s My Rock & Roll Baby.’” 

“The two engineers at Ace Studios in Boston decided to go out and have lunch and let the tapes run. This is a true story! The tapes were running and we kept on cutting the song. We’d end the song and then we’d start again.”  

“We didn’t know what to do. We’re just a bunch of kids in there trying to make a record, and I was paying for this thing. It was 35 dollars for the hour. We kept cutting the song over and over again.” 

“Later that tape went to New York City where I had to sing it over again with the new (“Tallahassee Lassie”) lyrics, but the music was from one of those takes. I can’t even tell you what take it was! It could have been #21, it could have been #48, it could have been anything.” 

“When I sang it, I sang, ‘She’s my Tallahassee Lassie,’ and then there was nothing. ‘She got a hi-fi chassis,’ and then there was nothing. So (producers) Frank Slay and Bob Crewe said, ‘Can you scream in those holes?’” 

“And I said, ‘Scream what?’ They said, ‘Scream like Little Richard.’ So I went ‘Woo!’ And they said, ‘That’s the one, keep it. Do that every time there’s a hole in the record.’ And that’s what I did.” 

“We thought the record was done. [But} one evening Bernie Bennick met with Dick Clark for dinner and he (Bernie) had eight different record demos, and on the bottom was Freddy Picariello, which was me. It was the demo of ‘Tallahassee Lassie.’” 

“When Dick got to my record, he put it on and he listened, and then he put it on again and he said to Bernie, ‘If you add a bass drum in this record with handclaps, I think you’ll have a hit.’ And that’s what Frank and Bob did.” 

“From that came Freddy ‘Boom Boom’ Cannon because it was so powerful with the bass drum and everything else that was going on on the record.” (Freddy’s high-octane singing and the instrumental track’s pounding energy caught the ear of Mick Jagger who later recorded it with The Rolling Stones.) 

Even with a smash hit record, Freddy’s future as a rock ’n’ roll singer was by no means guaranteed, especially in 1959 when many people believed that this new upstart teenage “music” was just a flash in the pan. “Rock and roll, here to stay?” No way! Here today, gone tomorrow.  Freddy was one of them. “I didn’t think that I would keep on going. I thought you have one record and maybe that would be the end of it.” 

When “Okefenokee” — an attempt to strike gold with Florida a second time — stiffed, it looked as if “Lassie” might be just be Freddy Cannon’s only hit. 

He was rescued from one-hit-wonder status by a song from 1922.
“They (Slay and Crewe ) told me I’m going to sing this and I said, ‘My father plays this music.’ What am I doing this for? This was going through my mind. They said, ’Freddy, just sing the song. Trust us. It’s going to be a hit.’ And I did it and they were right. There were many records like that that I thought were not going to do anything, but they became hits.”
Indeed, it was. “New Orleans” bested “Tallahassee Lassie’s” high-water spot on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #3 on all three national trade charts, and — like “Lassie” — reaching the R&B Top 15. It also crossed over to the UK where it matched America ’s ranking.
In the year-and-a-half it took Freddy to reach such heights again, he stayed active on radio with Slay / Crewe compositions and several more remakes of old songs (including “For Me And My Gal” from 1917!). Of them all (after “Lassie,” of course), Freddy’s favorite is “Buzz Buzz A-Diddle-It,” recorded with a garage rock ’n’ roll band he heard playing at a record hop in Hartford , CT.
Despite his R&B roots (Freddy’s favorite artists were Big Joe Turner and Chuck Berry), the song that would become Freddy’s biggest hit was a Top 40 pop blast.
It all began when Chuck Barris approached Bernie with a song he had written for Dion. Once Bernie heard Chuck’s “Amusement Park” he knew it was perfect for Freddy. After a title change to “Palisades Park” — in honor of the popular attraction on the Hudson River in Northeast New Jersey — it was released … as the flip side of “June, July And August,” a manic Little Richard-styled number.
After a deejay accidentally played “Palisades Park,” it caught fire, roaring to #3 across the country in early summer 1962.
Although Freddy’s follow-ups to “Palisades Park” didn’t sell as well, he was still a contender on February 1, 1964, the week “Abigail Beecher” debuted on the trade charts. When it peaked in the Top 20 five weeks later, a new band called The Beatles had three singles in the Top 5.
Unlike many artists whose careers were derailed by British Invasion artists, Freddy isn’t bitter or resentful. “The young kids heard something fresh and new. The Beatles owned the Top 10 then; everything coming out by them was a hit. They were very talented and very smart, especially Paul McCartney and John Lennon. They had it. You can’t take that away from them.”
Even so, the Top 10 hadn’t seen the last of Freddy. Starting in May of 1959 he had been a regular guest on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and his Saturday Night Beechnut Show. In 1965, Clark needed a theme song for his new TV venture — Where The Action Is — and Freddy who got the nod. “Action” became his final Top 10 single (on the Record World 100 Top Pops chart).
Although Freddy’s chart career ended in 1981, he continued to record, including his latest rave-up Svengoolie Stomp for the long-running, cult television show (complete with video) currently running on MeTV.

“Here again,” says Freddy, revisiting a theme that he voices often, “I feel lucky and very grateful. It was a novelty thing and I didn’t know it was going to happen and it did.”
“I’ve never forgotten where I came from and what I’ve done, because to me that’s very important: don’t try to be somebody else. Always be what you were. You were a rock ’n’ roll singer? Be rock ’n’ roll singer and do it the best you can!”
“When I sang the songs in the studio, I always gave it all I could. I want to do the same thing while I’m on stage. I want it to be as good as the record was. So I give it all I can.”
“I love being on the Malt Shop Memories cruise, especially the 10th anniversary one next year. I always have a lot of fun, and when they leave my show, the fans are going to have had fun. That’s what my music’s all about: having fun, dancing, singing the songs, and rockin’ out.”  

Here are further details on next year’s 2019 Cruise:

For the first time ever, special guest, the iconic Smokey Robinson will join the Malt Shop Memories Cruise. They’ll also have first timers Lenny Welch, Mel Carter, Eddie Holman, Joey Dee, and Carla Cook in a tribute to her father, Sam Cooke onboard. They’ll top it off by bringing back some of their very favorites from the last ten years including an Evening with The Beach Boys on November 5th. Plus, legendary artists including The Lettermen, Girls Night Out featuring Shirley Alston Reeves, The Crystals & The Chiffons, Gary U.S. Bonds, Freddy Cannon, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Chris Montez, The Happenings, Brooklyn Bridge, The Everly Brothers Experience featuring The Zmed Brothers, Emcee Extraordinaire Jerry Blavat, and Elvis Tribute ArtistsMore acts to be announced.

From one Freddy to another …

For us who listened to the pop charts, he was a One Hit Wonder … and a Forgotten Hit at that.  Freddie Hart’s 1971 tune “Easy Loving” went to #12 on the pop charts … and that was it.  (This was one of the first songs we ever featured in Forgotten Hits back in early 2000.)

But it was a whole different story on the Country Charts, where Freddie placed nearly fifty hits on Billboard’s Country Singles Chart between 1959 and 1987 … including six #1’s:  “Easy Loving” (3 weeks in 1971); “My Hang-Up Is You” (6 weeks in 1972); “Bless Your Heart’ (2 weeks in 1972); “Got The All Overs For You (All Over Me)” (3 weeks, 1972); “Super Kind Of Woman” (1 week, 1973) and “Trip To Heaven” (1 week, 1973). 

Freddie died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 91 on the 27th of October.

Wow!  Here are some golden deejay memories from The Top 40 Album from new Forgotten Hits List Member Carl Mann, who played the hits on KOOK (whose chart we featured the other day in our weekly Saturday Survey feature)and KATI back in the ‘60s!

Here are some recollections of my salad days in radio from a vantage point a bit removed from the mainstream.   
KOOK in Billings, MT, during the middle 60s was kinda on the edge of the universe. Montana is a bit out of the way, just a path to Yellowstone through some beef and wheat country. SO remote, in fact, that national TV networks at the time didn't bother with us.  They were fed to us via a private microwave setup by a consortium of TV stations. When it went down, often during prime time, channel two (KOOK’s sister station) used a back up microwave relay from a remote TV receiver atop Medicine Wheel, Wyoming, that was tuned to a slightly snowy signal from the Salt Lake City affiliate. 
But radio and music got me to Big Sky Country.  We had record service at KOOK and were tuned in to the national and regional charts so we knew what was getting played. Being music director was the fun part. I got to pick the new music each week, checked with record stores on sales, and made up the weekly survey. The rankings were also influenced by my Saturday night show, the “Favorite Five,” where I’d ask for calls voting for the listeners’ favorite songs, tabulate the results, and play the countdown back in order. I’ll confess, my own favorites sometimes influenced tabulations. 
I played my first Beatles record while at KATI Casper, Wyoming, in late 1963. The British Invasion was well underway when arriving at KOOK in 1964.  The Beatles were very established by this time and could do no wrong. It was the first time I ever experienced playing album cuts on a Top 40 format, they were so prolific. It was a new era for rock, and being a 50s doo-wop kind of guy, I shifted grudgingly to what I soon realized was an equally great period.  
With the Beatles came the “bad boys” of Britain, the Rolling Stones, also high quality rock. What is called Classic Rock today started at this time, with the Stones and other British-blues-based groups like The Spencer Davis Group (“I’m A Man”), the Kinks, the Animals, and, of course, the Yardbirds, propelled by as-yet unknowns Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck.   
Quite memorable as well was Them, with the yet-uncredited Van Morrison on lead vocals doing “Here Comes The Night,” which only led into his bigger hit, “Gloria,” which was also covered by Shadows of Knight, which we ALSO played.  
The British Invasion on the pop side was Gerry & The Pacemakers’ “How Do You Do What You Do To Me,” Freddie and the Dreamers’ “I’m Telling You Now,” plus Peter and Gordon’s string of hits. P&G, along with Billy J. Kramer, were doing Lennon - McCartney songs to gain their initial fame. 
Then there were the Garage Bands, Wow, I leaned heavily on the Seeds “Pushin’ Too Hard” and “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine,” the Count Five, "Double Shot of My Baby's Love" by the Swinging Medallions and the Standells’ “Dirty Water.” These were all favorites I leaned on in the days before hourly computerized song lists — screw “rotations” … just play the GOOD stuff.
And, of course, there was Dylan, his songs already airing by other artists like Peter Paul and Mary and the Byrds.  Dylan started social commentary songs, perhaps along with the Kingston Trio and the folk music fad of the earlier 60s, but when he went electric in the mid-1960s, it all really came home.   That paved the way for Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” and the more obscure “It’s Good News Week” by Hedgehoppers Anonymous, all getting generous air play along with the love songs. 
Also memorable is playing the first Simon and Garfunkel hits, with “Sounds of Silence,” their initial gem coming out of nowhere. Can definitely say the same for Neil Diamond.  We played “Solitary Man” out of the box in 1966. He didn’t really hit until follow-ups like “Cherry Cherry” and “You Got To Me” … and  “Solitary Man” didn’t hit until its re-release in 1970. Those three songs, to my belief, were never matched in his later, more famous years.   
Ballads mixed in beautifully, like Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me,” the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and even Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night,” tho his follow up, “The Summer Wind,” was better but a much lesser top 40 hit. Daughter Nancy was seen more as a shirt tail artist by us jocks, but her “Sugar” album cover picture was a favorite on the studio wall for a while. 
Not much Soul music play this far north, though Motown was doing good, the Supremes being the hottest.  We actually played Nat King Cole in the Top 40 with “Let Me Tell You, Babe” and “Ballad of Cat Ballou.”  Also some James Brown and Percy Sledge, along with some great African-American females, like Verdelle Smith’s “Tar and Cement,” an ecology song pre-dating Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” song.  There’s Barbara Lewis and Fontella Bass, too.  
Some perhaps lesser hits I recall fondly (and are on my MP3 player) include “Concrete and Clay” by the Unit Four Plus Two, “Baby, Don’t Go” by Sonny and a very young Cher, and “Time Won’t Let Me” by the Outsiders. 
More thoughts on the pop side … I was a huge fan of the Mamas and Papas (had a crush on Michelle), and of the Four Seasons. The Seasons’ hits at the time, ”Big Man In Town” and “Save It For Me,” we played hourly as pick hits upon each release, which we called the “Tall Tune of Tomorrow.” Also,  Herman’s Hermits broke out upon my arrival in Billings with “I’m Into Something Good.”  Peter Noone and the guys became a regular on the playlists.   
A career peak for Gary Lewis and The Playboys happened during my tenure at KOOK as well, each successive release after “This Diamond Ring” a well-produced hit. We brought them in for a concert one night in Billings when learning they were in the region and had a hole in their schedule. So, they were available and cheap, even though they were well on their way with hits.  
No limos then; us jocks had to pick up Gary and the whole group of Playboys at the hotel and bring them out to the venue, which was a small, sweaty, room with a stage (we were lucky to have found such a dive at the last minute!) overflowing with enthusiastic teens and young 20s. The power to their amps actually went off for about ten long seconds in the middle of a song. They kept playing without amps like nothing happened. When the power came back up, they were still doing the song and the outage was quickly forgotten. Amazingly, they NEVER complained about how “back woods” this gig had to have been for them. 
I always felt at the time that I got into the biz too late, just past the pre-Beatles era of hits and personality radio. But in retrospect, it was golden times and I’m proud to have experienced it. 
Thank you for asking.  Hope you didn't doze off; I love to Geeze.  
Man, you are gonna LOVE Forgotten Hits!!!  We have covered SO many of the topics you brought up in our pages over the years, including spotlight features on several of the artists you mentioned, shared memories of the music of this era (and a similar love for Nancy Sinatra’s “Sugar” LP cover!!!  Lol)

Welcome aboard, Carl … and please keep the memories coming.  Feel free to chime in whenever a topic piques your interest as I’m sure we’d all love to hear from you!  (kk)