Home » blog » Freddy Cannon, Frederick Picariello, Mick Jagger, Chuck Barris, Dick Clark, Boom Boom, Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory and Buddy Bolden

Freddy Cannon, Frederick Picariello, Mick Jagger, Chuck Barris, Dick Clark, Boom Boom, Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory and Buddy Bolden

I confess that I had never head of Freddy Cannon until today. I was intrigued by this oddity:

Here’s the most amazing music-trivia factoid in a long time, courtesy of the liner notes to Boom Boom 24-song greatest-hits collection: Mick Jagger acknowledges he based “Brown Sugar’s” melody on Freddy Cannon’s 1959 hit, “Tallahassee Lassie.” Gentleman, start your mash-ups now! (Continue Reading…)

“Boom Boom” was Cannon’s nickname. He real name was Frederick Picariello. Here is more on his background:

Inspired musically by Chuck Berry and Little Richard, he formed his own group, Freddy Karmon & the Hurricanes, which became increasingly popular in the Boston area, and began to develop a trademark strained singing style.[2] He also became a regular on a local TV dance show, Boston Ballroom, and, in 1958, signed up to a management contract with Boston disc jockey Jack McDermott.[4] With lyrics written by his mother, he prepared a new song which he called “Rock and Roll Baby”, and produced a demo which McDermott took to the writing and production team of Bob Crewe and Frank Slay. They rearranged the song and rewrote the lyrics, and offered to produce a recording in return for two-thirds of the composing credits.[4] The first recording of the song, now titled “Tallahassee Lassie”, with a guitar solo by session musician Kenny Paulson, was rejected by several record companies, but was then heard by TV presenter Dick Clark who part-owned Swan Records inPhiladelphia. Clark suggested that the song be re-edited and overdubbed to add excitement, by highlighting the pounding bass drum sound and adding hand claps and Freddy’s cries of “whoo!”, which later became one of his trademarks.[4] The single was finally released by Swan Records, with the company president, Bernie Binnick, suggesting Freddy’s new stage name of “Freddy Cannon”.[2][3][4] After being promoted and becoming successful in Boston and Philadelphia, the single gradually received national airplay. In 1959, it peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first of his 22 songs to appear on the Billboard chart, and also reached No. 13 on the R&B singles chart.[3][5] In the UK, where his early records were issued on the Top Rank label, it reached No. 17. (Continue Reading…)

The mosaic of music — and everything else, I imagine — is fun to look at. One of the early songs recorded by Cannon is “Muskrat Ramble,” which was written by Kid Ory and recorded by Louis Armstrong and The Hot Fives in the 1920s. Another song by Cannon — one that was a hit — inspired Mick Jagger. It’s all more closely related, regardless of era, than it seems on first glance.

“Muskrat Ramble,” by the way, is an important song. Here is more from Wikipedia:

Ory said that he originally composed the tune in 1921, and that the title was made up by Lil Hardin at the recording session. Armstrong, on the other hand, claimed in an interview to have written the tune himself, and that it was Ory who only named it.[1]Sidney Bechet has said that it was originally an old Buddy Bolden tune called “The Old Cow Died and the Old Man Cried”. (Continue Reading…)

Bolden is a mythical cornet player who faded away without ever being recorded.

“Tallahassee Lassie” is above. Clark seems to be doing a nice job hyping a song in which he has a financial interest. Cannon, for his part, doesn’t seem to know where the camera is. Below is “Palisades Park,” which was written by none other than Chuck Barris.

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.