Music

Freddy Cannon: Boom Boom Rock 'n' Roll

He would reach back in his throat for a growl and pitch the tunes as if he were trying to get you to see the fat lady and stay for the freak show.


Freddy Cannon

Boom Boom Rock 'n' Roll

Subtitle: The Best of Freddy Cannon
Label: Shout Factory
US Release Date: 2009-01-13
UK Release Date: 2009-01-13
Amazon
iTunes

Just a few years after rock and roll emerged and took over the charts, conservative elements in society tried to squash it through the force of Congress. The Payola hearings focused on independent labels and some of the most spirited artists and adventurous deejays of the day. The resulting scandals doomed the great Allan Freed, the man credited for coining and popularizing the term “rock ’n’ roll” and spreading the music to the larger public. Also investigated, but cleared of wrongdoing, was Dick Clark, who never met a white cover version he didn’t prefer over the original recording. Clark’s alleged exploitation of musicians and complicity in a myriad of shady profit-making enterprises has been well-documented, but he was also guilty of bad taste. He was responsible for launching a ton of insipid teen idol pop on a hungry teenage audience. But Clark did do one thing right. He helped promote the career of Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon.

Make no mistake, Cannon was a teen idol in the Frankie Avalon/Fabian mold, but Cannon had a natural vigor that energized his records and made them foot stompin’ romps. He could even turn old Dixieland, boogie woogie, and country standards like “Muskrat Ramble”, “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans”, and “Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy” and turn them into rock hit singles just by speeding up the tempos and swinging the tunes harder. Cannon had an infectious style. He sang each tune with the enthusiasm of a carnival barker. He would reach back in his throat for a growl and pitch the tunes as if he were trying to get you to see the fat lady and stay for the freak show.

Perhaps that’s why his most successful single was that ode to a New Jersey amusement park, “Palisades Park”, a tune written by a man later made famous for hosting The Gong Show, Chuck Barris. Cannon’s frenzied vocals matched the roller coaster and other carnival sound effects. While the song clocks in at less than two minutes, there is so much going on that it seems to last much longer. The Beach Boys later covered the tune, as did the Ramones, but Cannon recorded the definitive version.

Although Cannon continued to have sporadic success until 1966, the Beatles and the British Invasion basically killed his career. His high-energy rock sounded dated compared to the new sounds of the Swinging '60s. Still, Cannon’s impact on rock and roll cannot be denied. He can be heard in the sounds of artists as important as the Four Seasons and Bruce Springsteen. Even Elvis Presley was a self-proclaimed Cannon fan.

Shout Factory! has compiled the essential two dozen Cannon tracks, which includes 23 of his pop chart hits, and put them on a single disc. The songs tend to sound the same in the best possible sense. Cannon’s distinctive style and approach is immediately recognizable. Even after hearing 24 cuts that seem almost identical to each other, there’s still a temptation to yell “One more time!” and play the disc again.

6
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Music

The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.

Music

'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.

Music

​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.

Music

Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.

Music

Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.

Music

Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.