Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, the talented singer of timeless hits of the ’50’s and ’60’s such as “Palisades Park,” “Tallahassee Lassie,” “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” and “Action!,” has just penned his autobiography, Where the Action Is! (Publish America). It is currently available internationally through book stores, on the internet and via Amazon.comand BarnesandNoble.com, both as a paperback and electronically as a Kindle and/or Nook book.
Starting with “Tallahassee Lassie,” based on a poem written by his mother, Cannon charted more than 20 times on Billboard‘s pop singles chart between 1959 and 1966. He topped the U.K. charts with his debut album, was a frequent guest on the era’s iconic music television shows Shindig, Hullabaloo and Midnight Special as well as becoming THE most frequent guest performer on Dick Clark’s long-running American Bandstand show. Clark also tapped him to sing “Action!,” the theme song for the popular ’60 music series Where the Action Is that he was producing, and Cannon ended up with both a hit record and with featured performer status on the show. He also toured with Clark’s travelling road show of artists called the Caravan of Stars.
It is no surprise that Cannon’s longtime friend Dick Clark penned the touching introduction to Where the Action Is! He writes: “I will always remember that 19-year-old kid from Boston who came to the Philadelphia studios where American Bandstand was taped. He was very excited to have his first hit song pressed onto a 45-rpm record, and he has never lost that enthusiasm. He has been a wonderful friend of mine since that very first day I met him in 1959.”
The early entry into rock ‘n’ roll by the Massachusetts-born (he is originally from Lynn, near Boston) Cannon gave him a front-row seat at the birth and growth of the medium itself, and the new book is his candid, informed account of what he saw, heard and felt. Earning the moniker “Boom Boom” for his frenetic energy, he appeared on shows promoted by the infamous disc jockey Alan Freed and performed on bills that included the biggest hit singers of the day: Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker and Fabian, among others. He also writes about touring with artists like Bo Diddley, The Shirelles, The Drifters and Bobby “Blue” Bland during the turbulent era of segregation. He appeared in two films in the ’60’s, the 1963 musical film Just for Fun and the 1965 teen cult horror film Village of the Giants, and also saw himself portrayed by actor David Julian Hirsch in George Clooney’s 2002 directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. The film was based on the autobiography of Chuck Barris, who wrote “Palisades Park.”
Cannon’s music has drawn accolades from famed music artists who cite him as an influence, among them Mick Jagger (“Freddy inspired ‘Brown Sugar'”), Robert Plant (“I loved ‘Tallahassee Lassie’!”) and Bruce Springsteen (who opened his Tunnel of Lovetour with “Palisades Park” as an homage to Cannon).
Freddy Cannon is hardly less active today than he was decades ago, continuing to tour and make television and radio appearances the world over. Last year’s deluxe reissue of the Rolling Stones’ Some Girls album featured the legendary band’s own version of “Tallahassee Lassie,” and Cannon’s classic hit song “Palisades Park” was prominently featured in the recent box-office smash film X-men: First Class. His most recent CD release, Boom Boom Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Best of Freddy Cannon, features 24 of his memorable hits. He has also been pursuing his hobby of pencil drawings of colleagues from the music industry as well as television, film and sports figures that he has been selling in recent years via his website.
Co-author Mark Bego is a professional writer who is called “The Number One Best-Selling Pop Biographer” by Publisher’s Weekly. With over 10 million books in print, he has written two New York Times best-sellers and a Chicago Tribune best-seller. Bego’s books have included the international hit Michael! (Jackson), Madonna: Blonde Ambition, Cher: If You Believe, Billy Joel: The Biography, Leonardo DiCaprio: Romantic Hero and Elton John: The Bitch is Back. His own memoir, entitled Paperback Writer, was published last year. Bego will be releasing his newly updated and expanded version of Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul to commemorate the diva’s 70th birthday-March 25, 2012. Where the Action Is! is his 57th published book.
Where the Action Is! includes Freddy Cannon’s complete discography and 17 rarely seen photographs from his personal collection.
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