Saturday, October 11, 2014

50 Years Ago This Weekend ... And The Saturday Surveys!


DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY by MANFRED MANN holds at #2 this week in The Billboard Hot 100.  A SUMMER SONG by CHAD STUART AND JEREMY CLYDE joins it in The Top Ten this week (up from #12) to once again give The Brits only TWO Top Ten Hits on the US Charts this week. 

MATCHBOX stalls at #18 for THE BEATLES while THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN by THE ANIMALS falls from #8 to #19 this week.  BILLY J. KRAMER AND THE DAKOTAS' FROM A WINDOW holds at #23 while THE BEATLES climb a couple of places from #27 to #25 with SLOW DOWN, the flipside of their MATCHBOX single.  Rounding out The Top 40:  HAVE I THE RIGHT by THE HONEYCOMBS at #29 and TOBACCO ROAD by THE NASHVILLE TEENS at #30, two records that seem to "stick together" on their chart run thus far. 

Meanwhile, I LIKE IT by GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS sits just outside The Top 40 at #41, I'M CRYING by THE ANIMALS is right behind it at #43, ALL CRIED OUT by DUSTY SPRINGFIELD climbs 12 places to #47, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT by THE BEATLES is still holding on at #50 (down from #24), EVERYBODY KNOWS by THE DAVE CLARK FIVE jumps from #66 to #52, I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN by PETER AND GORDON climbs from #84 to #61 in what is certainly the biggest British move of the week, THE KINKS are now at #66 with YOU REALLY GOT ME and THE BACHELORS are at #69 with I WOULDN'T TRADE YOUR FOR THE WORLD. 

We're letting the tear drops fall with this week's selections …

DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY holds at #2 for the third straight week for MANFRED MANN on THE WLS Silver Dollar Survey.  FROM A WINDOW by BILLY J. KRAMER climbs to #4 (up from #8 the week before), HAVE I THE RIGHT by THE HONEYCOMBS sits at #8, TOBACCO ROAD by THE NASHVILLE TEENS at #9 and THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN by THE ANIMALS at #10, giving British Invasion Artists HALF of Chicagoland's Top Ten Tunes! 



Elvis Presley tops this WBBF chart in 1972 with one of his last big hits, "Burning Love".  (The King is even pictured on this week's survey!)  In fact, fellow '50's act Chuck Berry can be found on this chart, too, with his big comeback hit "My Ding-A-Ling", this week down to #21 (from #15 the previous week).

There are a few great songs on this list that never get played anymore ...

"If I Could Reach You" by The Fifth Dimension
"Rock 'n' Roll Soul" by Grand Funk Railroad
And "Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues" by Danny O'Keefe ...

So we'll feature all three of these today!

Jumping back nearly ten years we find this "Fabulous Forty Survey" from KDWB in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs top the chart this week with their Record Of The Year Hit, "Sugar Shack".  I'm also partial to "Sally Go Round The Roses" by The Jaynetts (recently featured in this series), "I Can't Stay Mad At You" by Skeeter Davis, "Surfer Girl" by The Beach Boys and the two-sided Roy Orbison hit at #7, "Mean Woman Blues" / "Blue Bayou".

Big movers on the chart this week include "Fools Rush In" by Rick Nelson (another recent Saturday Surveys spotlight tune), up from #33 to #21 this week, "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" by Peter, Paul and Mary (climbing from #36 to #23) and Buddy Holly's version of "Brown Eyed Handsome Man", up seven places to #10 ... and charting 4 1/2 years after his fatal plane crash.

And check out the new music on this week's chart ... every one's a winner ...

"She's A Fool" by Lesley Gore, "Deep Purple" by Nino Tempo and April Stevens, "Washington Square" by The Village Stompers and "500 Miles Away From Home" by Bobby Bare would all go on to Top Ten Chart Success around the country!

Here's a vintage Top 21 Chart from Chicago's own WIND, one of the early rock and roll stations here in The Windy City.

This week in 1957 found The Everly Brothers at the top of the heap with their latest, "Wake Up Little Susie".  Elvis Presley debuts at #8 on this week's chart with "Jailhouse Rock" ... and it's kinda cool to see "old school" artists like Johnny Mathis (TWO hits in the Top 20), Jane Morgan, Debbie Reynolds and The Chordettes competing for teen-age dollars with brand new, contemporary rockers like Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley, Paul Anka, Larry Williams and Ricky Nelson ... proving once again that even on a chart listing only 21 songs, there was still something for EVERYBODY happening on the radio dial!

Here's another chart from 1965 showing "Yesterday" (at #1 this time) by Paul McCartney, rather than The Beatles.  (This is exceptionally odd since it also shows the flipside of this hit, "Act Naturally", which was clearly sung by Ringo!!!)

Speaking of Ringo, check out the mini-article about Pete Best suing The Beatles over the use of his drumming on the recently released "The Savage Young Beatles" LP!

The Beatles also have the #14 hit with the two-sided winner "Help!" / "I'm Down".

"A Taste Of Honey" by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass makes a HUGE leap from #15 to #2 this week as does the latest by The Rolling Stones, referred to here as "Hey You Get Off My Cloud" which jumps from #22 to #4.

Brand new on the charts (and all debuting in The Top Ten) are The McCoys with "Hang On Sloopy", "One, Two, Three" by Len Barry (both of which will go on to top many charts across the USA in 1965) and "Dance With Me" by The Mojo Men ... which MOST people never even got a chance to hear! (It peaked at #61 in Billboard ... and was produced by a young Sly Stone!)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Freddy Cannon - Part 3: The Story Behind "Tallahassee Lassie" ... As Told By Freddy Cannon Himself!

In 1958, a young 19 year old Frederick Picariello, Jr., was working for a costume jewelry company in Boston, Massachusetts, making deliveries.   

But at night he was billing himself as Freddy Carmen and the Hurricanes ... and playing what he called "Chuck Berry Rock And Roll", making a name for himself in some of the clubs around town.  

One afternoon, he came home for lunch and his mother said "When you have some time, put some music to this poem that I wrote."   

The poem was called "She's My Rock And Roll Baby".  So I got out the guitar and started to sing it.  And, at that very moment that I started to play it, I played the exact same melody that became "Tallahassee Lassie," which was destined to become a big hit for me."   

Forgotten Hits readers were treated to an EXCLUSIVE listen to this VERY rare, early incarnation of Freddy's first hit yesterday on our website.  Thanks to dee jay Eric Lee, who came into possession of this extremely rare disk, we were able to get it back into the hands of Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon a couple of months ago!   

The middle of that poem that my mother wrote was destined to go into the song exactly the way she composed it.  Her exact words went on to become the centerpiece of the song:  "Well, she's romping to The Drag; The Cha-Cha, Rag-A-Mop; Stomping to The Shag; Rocks The Bunny Hop."

She had written all of that, but I didn't know what to do with the structure of the song.  So she said to me, "Why don't you go into the studio with your band and see if you can work it into a rock and roll song?"   

Well, at the time, to pay for a studio session cost $35.00.  I barely made $35.00 a week driving a truck for the jewelry company.  At the time, Mom was working for the optical company.  So she loaned me the money for the session, and I booked the local recording studio so we could record it.  The original title of the song, after I worked on it for a while, was "She's My Rock And Roll Baby."   

So, I rounded up my band and we went to Ace Recording Studio in Boston.  We were just a bunch of young kids, 17-and-a-half or 18-years old.  We ended up recording what was to become the "demo" for what ultimately became "Tallahassee Lassie" before it was changed and polished. 

This was our first recording session.  I didn't know anything about what I was doing.  And, assuredly, the band didn't know what they were doing either.  We had our song, we were a band, but that was about all we knew about what we were doing.     

A fortunate happenstance changed the direction and the sound of that recording that day ... so much so, that Freddy was instructed to recreate that exact sound when he would fly to New York to re-record this track again as "Tallahassee Lassie" a few months later.    

One of the things that we were missing was someone to play the guitar solo in the middle of the record.  I don't play lead guitar, I play rhythm guitar.  So there was this guy out in the hallway, a young kid named Kenny Paulson.  I didn't know that this guy was on a lot of records.  He was a "studio musician".  He would hang out in the recording studio to pick up work.  He was a typical musician who was looking for extra money, so he was working, picking up parts on people's records, for cash.   

We had to have a guitar solo in the middle of the song.  I mentioned this to the Yakus Brothers (who owned the studio) and they suggested that Kenny should be on our record.  So I approached Kenny and I explained, "I've got this rock and roll song that we are recording.  Do you think you can give us a real rock-oriented guitar solo in the middle of it?"  He said, "Well, give me $5.00, and I can probably come up with something."   

When I asked him to be on our record, I had no idea that he was so good at playing the guitar.  This guy was unbelievable, he was so good.  It was unreal!  He is the guy on the record who plays that guitar, which I think really makes the song a hit.   

Meanwhile, I was thinking about what all this was ending up costing me.  To hire Kenny cost me another $5.00.  I remember thinking to myself, "That's $35.00 for the recording studio, and now $5.00 for Kenny to play guitar ... wow, this is really adding up!"  But I paid him for the half hour session and he really rocked out on his guitar playing.  He was worth every cent of it.   

In the half hour session, we recorded six or seven versions of it and, at the end of the session, we left with a reel-to-reel tape of our songs.   

I still think that it was Kenny's guitar solo that really was "the frosting on the cake" of this record.  Later, when it became "Tallahassee Lassie", all of the British artists who fell in love with the record raved about the guitar solo!  They went crazy for the record's the sound, the feeling of the song and then that incredible guitar solo.   

After we finished the recording, we made a couple of reel-to-reel copies off the original tape.  To see what I had on my hands, I knew I had to get some feedback from people who could help me out.  So I started taking it around to different DJ's to get their opinion.   

Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsburg was a disc jockey in Boston and he was really big at the time.  This guy was hugely popular in the record business ... and back then, a powerhouse disc jockey like Arnie could really sell records.  Kids listen to the radio, they hear what they like, and they run out and buy that record.   

I was at a local record hop and I gave Arnie Ginsburg my tape.  I said to him, "I would really appreciate it if you would listen to this in your spare time and let me know what you think."    

That transaction became the moment of magic ... Ginsburg played the recording for Frank Slay and Bob Crewe, who were very hot at the time, writing and producing hit records like "Silhouettes" by The Rays and "Lucky Ladybug" by Billy and Lillie.  Freddy continues ...

I don't know what happened behind the scenes when Arnie Ginsburg played my recording for Crewe and Slay, but I do know that Arnie liked my song well enough to give them my tape.  They took it back to New York City with them and then Bob Crewe and Frank Slay rewrote the verses ... not the middle ... but the verses ... where they changed the title from "She's My Rock And Roll Baby" to "Tallahassee Lassie."  The melody remained the same as the way I wrote it and everything else was the same, except for the verses.

So I got a phone call from Frank Slay and he said, "We love this record.  We want to buy you an airline ticket to New York City.  We want to pay you to re-cut your song.  We made a few changes to the lyrics, but we love your song.  We want to put your voice on this, singing the new lyrics ... but it's the same music."   

I was really excited!  I had never been outside of Massachusetts at this point.  So I said to my mother "Oh wow, this is terrific!  I get to go on the plane and go to New York!"   

When I got to New York City, Frank took me over to Bob Crewe's apartment.  When I got there, Bob played the song on his piano, just the way he wanted me to sing it.  I listened to the new lyrics to my original song and said, "OK, just tell me what you want me to sing and I will do it."   

Bob said to me, "The studio is booked for tomorrow.  We are gonna take you in the studio and we also have to have a B-Side song for you to sing as well."  I told them I had another song that I had already written called "You Know", so we made plans to cut that, too.   

(As Forgotten Hits readers learned exclusively this week, Freddy and his Hurricanes cut an early demo of THIS track, too, at Ace Recording Studio in Boston, the same day that they laid down the tracks for "She's My Rock And Roll Baby".)   

And then Bob said to me, "By the way, who is the guitar player on your original demo for 'She's My Rock And Roll Baby'?"   

"Kenny Paulson," I replied.   

"Well, we have to have him come in and play his guitar part on the new recording as well.  We will have him come in and play a couple of different guitar solos and we will let you listen to them all and tell us which one you like."   

I remember standing there and thinking to myself, "Wow, everything is happening to me so fast!"   

When the session was over, Freddy flew back home to Boston and resumed his job delivering jewelry for the costume jewelry company that he worked for.  Shortly thereafter, Freddy's mom received a phone call from Bernie Binnick of Swan Records, who pressed up copies of Freddy's New York recordings and wanted to send him a box of singles, hot off the press.  Freddy explains:   

I opened up the box of records and there it was, my first recording: "Tallahassee Lassie".  Much to my surprise, the artist listed on the label was "Freddy Cannon."  I had been calling myself and my band "Freddy Karmon and the Hurricanes".   

(Forgotten Hits Readers now know that, based on Freddy's own hand-written label on the rare acetate pressing we shared with you earlier this week, at the time Freddy spelled his name as "Carmen", not Karmon ... but this was the way he remembered it for his biography.  Since he's been "Freddy 'Boom Boom' Cannon for the past 55+ years, I guess it's easy enough to figure why he didn't remember the spelling ... after that infamous recording date in New York City, he's never been anything else BUT "Freddy 'Boom Boom' Cannon"!!!)  

At Swan Records, they hated "Freddy Karmon" so they changed my name to "Freddy Cannon" because Bernie felt that it sounded better.  So that's what they put on the record.  They didn't even ask me if they could change my name, they just did it!  I couldn't have cared less, as long as they released my record.   

At his mother's urging, Freddy then took a copy of this brand new pressing back up to Arnie Ginsburg at WMEX Radio in Boston.  (FH Readers will recall that it was from a WMEX dee jay that Eric Lee came into possession of Freddy's acetate pressing of "She's My Rock And Roll Baby"!  It's absolutely incredible to think that somebody from the station held on to this pressing for all these years ... all the while having absolutely NO idea what they had in their possession!  But that's EXACTLY what happened ... and thanks to that little bit of musical magic, that very first pressing is now back in the hands of Freddy Cannon!)  

Freddy describes what happened next:  

I drove to WMEX in Boston.  Arnie Ginsburg was on the air so I couldn't barge into the studio to see him.  When the commercial break came, I went in and said to him, "Arnie, I cut this record with the band.  It's the same song that I brought you at the record hop.  They changed the name of it and the verses of it, but it's the same record.  I want you to listen to it and tell me what you think."   

He put it onto the turntable in the studio to listen to it.  All of a sudden he picked up the arm of the turntable, picked up my record, and transferred it to the turntable he used to play records on the air.  I watched him with fascination and he turned to me and said, "You've got a hit!"   

"Oh my God, you're kidding?" I said.  I couldn't believe it.  One of the biggest disc jockeys in all of Boston declared it a hit! I was flabbergasted!   

As the song went out over the airwaves I couldn't believe it ... that was me singing on one of Boston's biggest rock and roll stations!  All of a sudden the radio station's switchboards began to light up.  Kids were calling and requesting that they play "Tallahassee Lassie" again and demanding to know "Who is that on that record?"  I couldn't believe all of the phone calls that the radio station was getting.  I was just amazed!   

It's hard to remember ... or even imagine ... a time when the hottest radio stations in the country trusted the ears of their on-air crew ... but these guys had their fingers on the pulse of teenage America ... and they knew a hit when they heard it.  They helped CREATE some of the biggest hits of the rock and roll era.  Today all of this has to "go to committee" ... unless the high-paid consultants and so-called experts declare it "radio-friendly", it just doesn't get played.  All spontaneity of rock and roll ... and radio ... are gone forever as every station in every city across the country is playing the exact same "chosen few".  It was a VERY exciting time in music, a time that just doesn't exist anymore.  The very next day, Freddy quit his job at the jewelry store.   

I hadn't even made any money from the record yet ... but Arnie said that I was a "hit" so I new I suddenly had it made!   

And Freddy never looked back ... he was booked for a few of Alan Freed's shows and then started his string of appearances on "American Bandstand".  He and Dick Clark remained life-long friends.  In 1965 when Clark launched a new after school rock and roll show called "Where The Action Is", he picked Freddy to sing the title cut ... and Freddy soon had another top ten record on his hands!   

But it all started at that little studio in Boston with a song Freddy wrote with his mother called "She's My Rock And Roll Baby" ... and you heard it here first, EXCLUSIVELY in Forgotten Hits! 


Get this great story ... and a whole lot more from one of America's original Rock And Roll legends in Freddy's biography "Where The Action Is", written with Mark Bego.
And pick up Freddy's Greatest Hits here:
Click here: Boom Boom Rock N Roll: The Best of Freddy Cannon: Music   

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Freddy Cannon - A Forgotten Hits Worldwide Exclusive - For The First Time ANYWHERE (Well ... Since 1958 Anyway!!!)

Yesterday Forgotten Hits broke the news that a vintage 1958 acetate recording of Freddy Cannon (then recording as Freddy Carmen and the Hurricanes) had been discovered in Boston.  The record in question was a tune called "She's My Rock And Roll Baby", a song Freddy had written with his mother.  Cannon had shopped the record around to a few dee jays there locally in the Boston area, including the legendary Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsburg.  What he was hoping for was some positive feedback on his efforts.  What he got was a whole lot more!   

Ginsburg shared the recording with industry big-wigs Frank Slay and Bob Crewe, who took it upon themselves to rewrite the verses to Freddy's track.  They kept the middle section and the entire arrangement of the song, a real rocker with a great hook, intact, thus preserving the "essence" of the song written by Freddy and his mom.  In the process, "She's My Rock And Roll Baby" became "Tallahassee Lassie" and, after flying the newly christened Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon and original lead guitarist Kenny Paulson out to New York City to recut the demo with their new lyrics, Freddy Cannon was on his way to becoming a major rock and roll star ... a vocation he has kept going for the past 55+ years!

Incredibly, a copy of this original demo was recently discovered in Boston and came into the hands of deejay Eric Lee, who contacted me about getting in touch with Freddy to let him know of its existence.
Here's how the whole thing started ...

Back in August, I received this email from Eric Lee:  

Do you know if Freddy Cannon has ever made mention of the demo recording of "Tallahassee Lassie", which would be "Rock and Roll Baby" as Freddy Karmen (Carmen) and the Hurricanes, still existing?  I ask, because I have a transcription disc (acetate) of it.  It came from WMEX in Boston some years ago, and I got it from a guy who used to work at the radio station.  The B-side is a recording of "You Know", which was also the B-side of "Lassie" on Swan.

I ask, because I'm curious if this is the only known copy of the original demo version still out there... or does Freddy still have the original demo tapes from that session?  Maybe Arnie Ginsburg, Jack McDermott
, or... perhaps Slay and Crewe held onto a copy?

I would be very interested in any information you have about this.
I have included a short sample of the recording in this email, along with shots of the label so you know I'm not blowing smoke.  If you would be so kind as to email him about this and get back to me, I would appreciate it.  I know that, at some point, he was talking about putting out a career retrospective.  This early demo would be an important part of that puzzle.   

It took me a little while to get ahold of Freddy and let him know what I had come upon ... but once I did, he was THRILLED.  He had NO idea that any copies still existed. (In fact, in his biography, "Where The Action Is", Freddy only talked about circulating a TAPE of this song ... as if it had never been pressed in record form at all!)  The fact that something like this could surface after 56 years was nothing short of amazing ... and, a bit overwhelming.  I can only imagine the rush of memories that came flowing back to Freddy when he learned of its existence.   


Naturally, once I told Eric Lee of Freddy's interest, he was excited, too!

I am ecstatic that he's now aware of this still being in existence.  It's amazing that this recording resided in one man's collection for more than forty years, yet it was never identified for what it was.  Honestly, from the look of the disc, it never got played outside of the radio station in Boston from which it was acquired.

The person who sold this to me referred to it simply as an unknown, albeit hotly rockin', acetate.  I instantly recognized Freddy's signature on the handwritten labels, and the name of the group as being his at the time this song was gestating. Being an oldies DJ by profession, I have often told the tale of "Tallahassee Lassie" when playing the original Swan hit ... so the title "Rock and Roll Baby" was not foreign to me, nor was the name of the group on the disc.

I agree with you that this is a "one-of-a-kind" item.  It not only rewrites the history of how "Freddy (K)Carmen and The Hurricanes" was actually spelled, but it also augments the history of just how much involvement that Frank Slay, Bob Crewe, and Dick Clark had in shaping the eventual sound of "Tallahassee Lassie."  There's a wonderful extended sax solo, and great guitar solo ... which is probably by Kenny Paulson. Honestly, if this was the finished product, it still would have been a major national hit.  This is, without a doubt in my mind, a copy of the demo record that Jack McDermott was shopping around to record labels when it finally got to Dick Clark.

I know from years of dealing in rare records that the market value of this item is quite high ... however I would love to see this back in Freddy's hands ... he's more than welcome to have first dibs on it if he wants to make an offer.  It's in exceptionally nice shape for being a 56 year-old acetate.  I'd call it VG+ by vinyl standards, and for an acetate of this age and stature, that's almost unheard of.
It certainly would make for an interesting and exciting story of how "Forgotten Hits" helped reunite yet another piece of rock and roll history with its maker.  I'm normally one of those "dark horse" collectors who remains silent about finds, only anonymously passing them onto independent reissue labels and compilers when I do find something ... but this one needs to be known by all.  To take a quote slightly out of context from one of my favorite favorite Platters songs, this one is "too real!"  

Dig it, Daddio!
I sent a copy of the hand-written record labels to Freddy ... along with the short snippets that I'm sharing here today ... and he confirmed that this was the real deal!   


But then, a bit of apprehension ...  


In all likelihood, it just seemed too good to be true ... after 55 years, this one-of-a-kind piece of Freddy Cannon's history showing up out of the blue ... it had to be overwhelming!  Needless to say, we were all intrigued.   

After several more back-and-forths, we were able to get the acetate into Freddy's hands ... and believe me, he was THRILLED to be reunited with such an important and pivotal step in his hit-making process!   

Kent -
You and your site helped me give Freddy his demos back.  You've played an undeniable part in this, and I thank you and Forgotten Hits for all your help ... I really dig your site!
Eric Lee   

Sharing these snippets with the rest of the world is a real thrill for me.  (I promised Freddy that I would NOT share the entire record ... now that it's back in his hands, it's HIS call as to what to do with these landmark tracks.)  What a GREAT opener this would make to a new Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon compilation CD collection ... an honest-to-God piece of recorded history.  And, since Freddy owns the rest of his own masters anyway, I leave it to "Boom Boom" to market this the way he best sees fit.


Wishing Freddy a speedy recovery from his recent heart surgery ... take care, buddy ... we want to see you back up on the stage.  (And for God's sake, bring your show out Chicago way!!!)

You can send Freddy a "Get Well" greeting, too ... just drop me an email at and we will gladly send it along!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


A couple of months ago I received an email out of the blue from a guy who said he had, in his possession, an EXTREMELY rare acetate pressing of Freddy Cannon's very first record. 

The record in question was NOT "Tallahassee Lassie", Freddy's first hit ... although ultimately it would grow to be!  

No, this was the ORIGINAL version of "Tallahassee Lassie" that Freddy's Mom wrote back in 1958.  At the time the song was called "She's My Rock And Roll Baby" and, at the recommendation of his Mother (who actually paid for the recording session), Freddy (then billing himself as Freddy Karmen and the Hurricanes) went into a small studio called Ace Recording Studio in Boston and cut the track. 

Freddy tells the whole fascinating story of that session in his autobiography, "Where The Action Is", written with Biographer of the Music Stars (and our FH Buddy) Mark Bego, released a few years ago.  (You can pick up YOUR copy here):  Click here: Where the Action Is!: Freddy Cannon, Mark Bego, Dick Clark: 9781462639731: Books   

Ultimately Freddy took the recording to infamous Boston Disc Jockey Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsburg ... who played it for Frank Slay (of Swan Records) and song-writer / producer extraordinaire, the late Bob Crewe.  

They liked the song enough to rewrite the lyrics ... they left the middle exactly as Freddy's mother had written it ... and then flew Cannon out to New York to recut the track (with the brand new lyrics) as "Tallahassee Lassie" ... and the rest, as they say, is history.  

Cannon's debut hit went all the way to #5 on the national charts ... and he followed that up with eight more Top 40 Hits between 1960 and 1965.  

Freddy and I have gotten to be good friends through Forgotten Hits over the past several years ... during this time we've helped to promote numerous live appearances, the release of both his Christmas album and a couple of greatest hits compilations, let the world know about his EXCELLENT pencil drawings (and even helped to sell a few!), campaigned for his induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and just in general stayed in touch whenever the circumstances warranted it.      

Freddy is one of those rare artists who owns all his own masters and, as such, has brokered all his own deals in the reissue market.  He not only continues to sell out shows here in The States, but is ENORMOUSLY popular overseas as well ... after 55 years in show business, you'd figure this guy had pretty much seen it all ... but when I approached him about this recent find, he was flabbergasted!  He didn't think a copy of this early recording still existed ... and acknowledged it as being a major find.    

Over the next couple of months I acted as the liaison between Eric Lee, who had come into possession of this rare pressing, and Freddy Cannon, the then 18-year old artist whose voice was preserved on this very fragile, one-of-a-kind lacquer-coated disk.  

I am happy to report that after quite a bit of negotiating this pressing is back in the hands of its rightful owner ... and Freddy couldn't be happier!  

He told me:   


I honestly think we made Freddy's year!  

So it came as a GREAT shock to me to find out that last week Cannon was in the hospital having quadruple by-pass heart surgery!!!  (Talk about your ultimate highs and lows!!!)  

Forgotten Hits Reader and regular contributor Tom Cuddy sent me this email last week, updating me on Freddy's status ...     


I’m so happy to let you and FH readers know that Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon is doing “great” after undergoing open heart surgery this past week in Los Angeles.

Freddy had not been feeling well in the last couple of months.  He was out of breath much of time and his energy level was not as high as usual.  He could not walk very long without having to stop and catch his breath.   
He saw a lung specialist last month and the doctor said he had some lung damage, even though he stopped smoking over 30-plus years ago.  The doctor was devising a treatment regiment for Freddy about the time he was scheduled to fly to the east coast to do a rock and roll revival show for Bowzer (Jon Bauman) as part of a performance at the New York State Fair with Gene Chandler and others.

For the first time in his life, Freddy needed a wheel chair to travel through the airports.  When he arrived at sound check he was having breathing problems and Bowzer, who was very supportive and understanding told him: "If you’re not feeling strong enough, don’t perform.  We’ll tell the audience about your medical situation and you can come out and take a bow, but no performance."

Freddy said he didn’t want to let the audience down, so they decided that rather than the six songs he was scheduled to perform, he would play it by ear.  After each song he would decide whether he had enough breath and energy to do another.

Bowzer, in his introduction of Freddy, told the audience what was going on with Freddy’s health, and they gave him a standing ovation when he walked out.

Here’s a link to coverage of Bowzer’s concert.

Freddy gave it his best, but ran out of breath after three songs and had to leave the stage.  He flew back to L.A. the next day and saw a heart specialist upon his return.  The doctor informed him, after tests, that he need surgery right away.  They would need to do a quadruple bypass.

The surgery was a huge success and Freddy’s wife and the kids were waiting for him in his hospital room upon completion of the heart surgery.

Freddy has had to cancel or postpone his dates scheduled over the next three months, but the doctor has told him that he should be able resume performing after his recuperation and at that time he should feel better than he’s felt in years.

Kent, if it’s cool with you, perhaps we can invite any FH readers who would like to send good wishes to Freddy to direct an e-mail to you at FH and then you can forward them to Freddy.

The singer who holds the record for the most performances on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, Freddy Cannon (110 times) will soon be rockin’ again, but first he has to catch his breath and rest up from surgery!
-Tom Cuddy  

I think that's a GREAT idea, Tom ... and I know it'll cheer him up and brighten his spirits to hear from some of his friends.   

So ... please drop me a line (just sent it to and we'll gather 'em up and sent 'em off to Freddy next week.

So good to hear he's doing better ... hang in there, Boom Boom, there are still a WHOLE lotta people out there who want to see you up there performing again!

Elvis, Freddy Cannon and his wife Jeanette in Vegas in 1974

Freddy with his close personal friend, Dick Clark.    
Cannon appeared on "American Bandstand" more time than any other artist ... 
110 appearances in all!!!

Join us tomorrow in Forgotten Hits for more on this astonishing find ...
Plus a look at the record itself ...
And a short snippet of each side ...

And then on Friday, Freddy tells the story of this landmark recording session in his own words.

It's all coming up ... EXCLUSIVELY in Forgotten Hits!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

We Continue To Remember Paul Revere

He touched so many of our lives ...   

So it's really no surprise that the testimonials continue to pour in ...   

Here are just a few more that we received since Sunday ...

So sad to hear that Paul Revere has died ... glad we saw him when we did. 

FH Reader Jack Levin sent in this vintage WCFL Survey where Paul was interviewed about a series of upcoming shows here in Chicago ...

FH Reader Frank B also sent us this early history of Paul Revere and the Raiders courtesy of Gardena Records, where they cut their first sides back in 1961.  
Click here: Gardena Records launches Paul Revere and the Raiders | South Bay History     

When Paul Revere and the Raiders first started to make a name for themselves, it was as an instrumental band.  This one ("Like Long Hair", #38 in 1961 ... but #4 here in Chicago) really showed off Paul's talents at the keyboards.  (Check out Burton Cummings' comment below ... ANOTHER keyboard great who was truly inspired by Paul's early offering.) Fittingly, I heard all kinds of Paul Revere and the Raiders music on the radio on Monday ... but isn't it a shame that an artist has to check out these days just to get the airplay they deserve???  (kk)

My fave Raiders song is "Let Me" ... not one of their bigger hits.  Found the long version on YouTube.  Heart goes out to his family and friends.  Later. 
Ed Pond  
"Let Me" was a pretty decent-sized hit ... nationally it went to #14 ... and here it Chicago, it climbed all the way to #4.  A GREAT Mark Lindsay screamer ... especially there at the end!  (kk) 

Paul Revere was born here in Nebraska, but lived here only a short time as a child.  His music has ALWAYS been a big part of my life since 1965.  I have seldom been happier about my name appearing in a CD booklet than the ones with the Raiders.  Hit energy on par with the DC5, but with the USA angle this time!  Just as Paul yelled out "The British are coming!" he came along to save American rock 'n roll!  Paul, I know you will not rest in peace because there's just so too much rock 'n roll in you, so just rock in eternity!
Wouldn't it be nice if Mark Lindsay came back to front Paul Revere's Raiders?  What a great way to continue to band and preserve the legacy.
A nice gesture and quite fitting in the spirit in which it was intended ... but probably not real likely at this point.  Mark's doing just fine on his own right now ... and returns to the Happy Together line-up again in 2015.  (kk)

I was deeply saddened to hear the news about the passing of my old, and dear friend, Paul Revere, although we knew he had an uphill battle. He was not 'just another good one,' he was truly a 'great one.' An innovator, a showman, an entrepreneur, and certainly one more than deserving of being inducted into the Rock & Roll HOF. I have so  many great memories of our many shows and visits together. I'm still stunned by the news.
Fred Vail / Treasure Isle Recorders
Nashville / Music City, USA   

Rather than "Indian Reservation" -- a record Paul Revere was NOT on as it was actually cut with studio musicians as a Mark Lindsay solo single -- I think the best tribute track to the leader of the Raiders would be "The Legend of Paul Revere," which was originally issued in 1967 as the B side of "Him or Me."  BTW, if the closing notes of "Indian Reservation" sound like the tail end of Janis Ian's "Society's Child," it's because the same studio player Janis featured repeated those same notes to close out Mark Lindsay's record. 
Anyway, after Paul heard Mark's recording of "Indian Reservation," he begged Mark to let the single be credited to The Raiders instead -- as Paul's group had not had a major hit for a while.  Once Mark agreed, Paul got on his motorcycle and criss-crossed the country, stopping at every radio station he came across in sort of a one-man promotional campaign to turn "Indian Reservation" into a million-seller.  Obviously it worked -- the single did go gold and reached #1.
Paul Revere & the Raiders were inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2010.   Should they also be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame?   Without question.  Will they be?  Well, like a lot of other acts the R&RHOF has shoved aside over the years in favor of some truly dubious choices, only time will tell.  
Gary Theroux

I went with the live "Indian Reservation" track (it was sent in by FH Reader Frank B, a regular contributor) because of the lead in to the song ... it shows just how sharp Paul Revere was, live on stage, a short two years ago.  He was amazing to talk to ... and on stage orchestrated one of the tightest, face-paced shows I've ever seen ... rock and roll or otherwise.  He truly loved doing what he did ... and bringing joy to the fans ... their love kept him going until he simply couldn't go on anymore.  I looked forward to seeing The Raiders every time they hit town.  We'll miss him. 
"The Legend Of Paul Revere" earned quite a few votes in our Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides Poll a few years ago.  When it was included on their first Greatest Hits album, it became one of MY favorites, too ... a great trip down memory lane. 
Revere was already a successful businessman before he pursued his rock and roll dreams.  He owned a couple of restaurants and really did meet Mark Lindsay this way ... Lindsay worked for the bakery that delivered the buns to one of Paul's hamburger joints!  (Thus "the bun boy" in song.)
Their earliest singles were instrumentals!  Lindsay was the band's sax player in the earlier years.  Who knew he would later step out front and offer the world one of the most distinctive voices in rock and roll?!?!
After Revere got drafted it looked like it spelled the end of the band ... but instead, once he got back home he recruited all new players, put Lindsay out front on lead vocals and the hits just kept on coming.  His partnership with Dick Clark spawned a lifetime friendship.  Revere never stopped performing, no matter how big (or how small) the venue.  They took up residency in Branson, Missouri, for years, performing at Clark's American Bandstand Theater ... and only recently starting touring again.  (For ages, if you wanted to see Paul Revere and the Raiders, you had to go to THEM ... limited life on the road and their annual cruise ship performances was a Godsend to fans who otherwise may have never had the chance to experience their magic live on stage.)  We will truly miss him.  (kk) 

The Paul Revere and the Raiders Facebook Page had a ton of celebrity posting after word of his passing got out ... here are just a few ...   

He was my hero, and he showed me something as I watched him as a kid ... that a piano player could have a band! Paul went out the way we all should, gigging 'till the very end."
-- Paul Shaffer | Late Show with David Letterman  

Rest in eternal peace, dear friend.  Thank you for your good work for our veterans.
-- Nancy Sinatra 

Just found out music legend Paul Revere of Paul Revere and the Raiders died.  He was a big inspiration and I'm glad I got to tell him.
-- Dee Snider  

Paul Revere ... Rest in peace ... he was 76.
I first heard Paul Revere and the Raiders on Winnipeg radio in 1960 ... it was a rockin' piano instrumental called "Like Long Hair" ... it began with Rachmaninoff's famous intro and then took off ... I never forgot it. I was eleven, and that instrumental single REALLY made me want to cut records. Through the years, I've worked several times on the same shows as the Raiders ... they were the biggest group in the U.S. for a period of time in the Sixties. Songs like "Just Like Me", "Kicks", "Hungry" "Him Or Me, What's it Gonna Be", "Good Thing", and at least a dozen others are permanently etched in millions of memory banks.
Rest in peace, Paul ... you really left your mark. 
Burton Cummings   

We lost Paul Revere -- musician, clown, businessman, star and inspiration today.  He was Uncle Paul, Captain of the Ship.  Millions mourn today. 
-- Howard Kaylan 

RIP, Paul Revere - with the Raiders, a slew of classic hits and great showmen.  A lovely guy who rocked to the end.  Play on. 
-- Paul Stanley  

Our hearts are broken - ...
Paul Revere was a great man and an incredibly gifted performer! He was my "on stage" soul mate. I'm so glad I went through my musical life with Paul.
I could say a million things. Most importantly, are the incredible times Paula and I spent with Paul and Sydney.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.
Rest in peace Paul... You are going to need it when you meet up with my brother and partner Bobby.

-- Bill Medley
(EDITOR'S NOTE:  Bill's son Darrin was the lead vocalist for Paul Revere and the Raiders for a short while in the early 2000's ... in fact, that was him singing "Indian Reservation" in the clip we ran the other day- kk) 

As I am sure you all know by now, my dear friend Paul Revere passed away on Saturday. Josette and I send our condolences, along with our thoughts and prayers to Sydney and all the family. Paul was a good friend, great guy, and a fabulous entertainer. The happiness, love, and joy he brought to all the fans of The Raiders will always be remembered. His friendship from the beginning when we first met on Dick Clarks "Where The Action Is," never waned through all these years. Paul, you are a class act and I am proud to call you my friend. I know you are rock'n with all the greats in heaven now ... so rock on my friend, We love you.
God bless you.
Your bud,
Tommy Roe  

I got a “Did you hear?” text from one of my co-workers this morning, Kent -- and it really hit me how quickly the Raiders / Colony half century of close-up and long distance connections flew by and now officially have come to an end.  It’s almost incomprehensible that less than six months ago ... April 13th ... Paul and I were chatting about the times the two bands (I’d have said our two bands, but I’m clearly not a New Colony Six cornerstone …) shared living quarters in L.A., which he remembered.  While one could tell then that his body was sending unspoken signals … “Fragile – handle with care!”, his mind remained sharp as a tack, recalling the two-flat hotel space Paul Revere and the Raiders and the New Colony Six occupied 50 years ago.  We shared laughter, a handshake and a hug – so glad I got the chance to wish him well and take a common stage again.  I’ll avoid mundane meanderings about life and death, kk; Paul was too exceptional.  It was an honor to have known the man and a blessing to have worked with the showman.  
Ray Graffia, Jr.

For six decades all he did was make people smile. So long, Paul ... I'm blessed that this past summer I met with you, Kent, and our mutual buddy, Ray Graffia at Ronnie Onesti's Arcada at a show the Raiders headlined. The chance to meet Paul Revere fulfilled a long time ambition.  He was a remarkably special man who dared to make people smile. The road was his office.
No, he was not John and Paul or Mick and Keith. He was simply a man who knew what Joe Fan wanted. We don't hear the Raiders often enough on classic radio. In the 60's, they were America's answer to the Beatles.
Chet Coppock 

Arcada Photographer Luciano Bilotti sent me some photos from Paul's show last April at The Arcada Theatre ... to the best of my knowledge, these have never been published before ... so it is a thrill and an honor to be able to share them with you today.

Our buddy Tommy Scheckel, drummer for Paul Revere and the Raiders, posted this heart-felt message on Sunday:  

Over the years Paul and I have written many eulogies and dedications together. Paul would call me up and say, "I've heard some bad news and we need to write something special for my good friend _____. Can you help me dot some i's and cross some t's?" Paul would tell me all about his relationship with the person, his feelings about him and share some personal stories. I'd help him fashion his statement and release it to the world. I got to know a lot about Paul and his feelings about others this way. His kindness, insight and generosity towards people was a life lesson. 
Writing this is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life, and I keep asking Paul for help. I hope he's helping, I would never want to disappoint him. I need to talk to him right now. I could call Paul up any time of the day and have a great conversation about anything and everything. He was so great to just sit around and talk to. Some of my best memories are sitting in rocking chairs in Branson, the Bahamas and on a boat going down the Ohio river. Just talking for hours. 
Paul Revere was not only my boss, he was a wonderful, very dear friend, and one of the most unique, fun and special people I've ever known. I've never met anyone who loved life like Paul did, and I've never met anyone who lived for performing like Paul did. 
When the doctors told him he was sick he said, "I can't be, I'm booked!!" He continued to perform, despite all sorts of challenges and discomfort. He never, ever complained and spent vast amounts of money just to be able to make each show. 
Paul often said he was going to live forever, and perform until he was 100, and I believed him. Anyone who knew Paul wouldn't have any doubts. Even though Paul has almost 20 years on me, I always thought he'd outlive me by a long shot. And I'm serious. 
Every moment on stage with Paul was unique, full of energy and fun. And I mean every single performance, bar none. Paul liked things loose and free form, yet there was a formality to each show because we had paying customers who deserved the very best we could deliver. We walked a broad line between chaos and slick professionalism, with the final goal being a top notch show of the highest caliber. Every show was an event to be taken seriously, but with a "throw all caution to the wind and lets see where it takes us" attitude that made it a bit of a high wire act. 
Backstage was a special experience too. He always made us feel talented and special, as if he were the one lucky to be performing with us. He always used his pet names for us while we got ready, which made us feel all the more close to him. While he was always very relaxed and fun, Paul had a nervous energy as well that showed how much he cared. Always the first to arrive for a show, he prepared everything, from his personal set list to his uniform, with fastidious care. 
His personal set list would include all of the songs along with his own hieroglyphics containing notes about comedy bits he wanted to do. Once, when I was looking for something in his garage, I kept coming across old set lists. I told him about it. "Paul, you've got 50 set lists out there and they're all exactly the same!" He said, "Seemingly, to the untrained eye. There are subtle differences in each and every one, depending on my mood." To be honest, I really think they were each identical. But that didn't mean any two shows were alike. Never. Each show was unique and special. 
In the wings in the minutes before we'd hit the stage Paul always made us feel like every show was the biggest performance of our careers. And we always knew we were going to have a blast, and kill the crowd. We knew that Paul was going to surprise us, and surprise himself. I was always so proud to share the stage with the amazing Paul Revere. 
We have to put Paul to rest, and it's one of the hardest things we'll ever have to do. All of this, it doesn't seem real, it can't be. But it is. 
There may be a better example of an outstanding human living on this planet today, but I've never met him or her. He's the best there is. I love him so much and miss him so terribly already. 
I'll see you soon Paul. Thank you for everything, you've enriched my life beyond words.  
Tom Tom  

Tommy also sent some photos from his personal collection ...

And here's a great shot of Tommy and Paul!

Thanks, Tommy ... We miss ya, Paul!

For the past year one of my ringtones has been the opening notes of "Good Thing", their Top Five smash from early 1967 ... or, as Paul described it, "the five greatest notes in rock and roll."  Always loved this song ... but it was a little bit sad this weekend every time the phone rang.

Another Forgotten Hits Favorite (also from 1967 ... of course ... my favorite year in music EVER!) would be this one.  "I Had A Dream" climbed as high as #13 ... but you NEVER hear this one on the radio.  This ... and its B-Side "Upon Your Leaving" is probably one of my favorite 45's of all time.

Another obscure ... but legitimate ... hit would have to be "The Great Airplane Strike", #19 in 1966.  When's the last time you heard THIS one!!!