Freddy Picariello was born in Revere, Massachusetts and lived in nearby Lynn most of his early years. After graduating from Lynn Vocational High School, he made a couple of records, singing and playing rhythm guitar on “Cha-Cha-Do” by The Spindrifts and lead guitar on “Ka-Ding Dong” by The G-Clefs, which reached #24 on the Hot 100 in 1956.
Now married and with a child, he launched his solo career as Freddy Karmon with his backup band, The Hurricanes. His mother wrote the lyrics to a song called “Rock & Roll Baby.” He recorded a demo of the song, which was passed along to the songwriting team of Bob Crewe and Frank Slay. They rewrote the lyrics and changed the arrangement, the result being “Tallahassee Lassie.” The song came to the attention of Dick Clark, who was also part owner of Swan Records, who suggested some production changes and also that Freddy change his name to Freddy Cannon. One of the production changes was to emphasize the bass drum, earning Freddy the name Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon. The song was a hit in Boston and Philadelphia, and soon received national airplay. It peaked at #6 on the Hot 100 and #13 on the R&B Singles chart in 1959.
Freddy’s next Top 10 single was a rock version of the classic 1922 song “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans.” It reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #14 on the R&B Singles chart later in 1959.
After that, the highest Freddy charted was #28, until “Palisades Park” in 1962. Written by Chuck Barris of game-show fame, it was a tribute to New Jersey’s Palisades Amusement Park, which was advertised for years in DC Comics. The song reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #15 on the R&B Singles chart.
Freddy left Swan Records for Warner Brothers Records in 1963 and stayed with them until 1968. His highest-charting single on WB was 1965’s “Action,” which became the theme song for Where The Action Is, a Dick Clark-produced after-school TV show that featured Paul Revere and The Raiders as hosts. He has continued to perform and record, most recently in 2016, when he recorded “Svengoolie Stomp” with Chicago’s Rich Koz, who, as Svengoolie, hosts the Saturday night horror film on MeTV.
Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, your Two for Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Maybe I should make it “THREE for Tuesday”…