Thursday, February 23, 2012

02/23 Freddy Cannon

Freddy Picariello was born in Swampscott, Massachusetts, moving to the neighboring town of Lynn as a child. His father worked as a truck driver and also played trumpet and sang in local bands. Freddy grew up listening to the rhythm and blues music of Big Joe Turner, Buddy Johnson and others on the radio, and learned to play guitar. After attending Lynn Vocation High School, he made his recording debut in 1955, singing and playing rhythm guitar on a single, "Cha-Cha-Do" by the Spindrifts, which became a local hit. He also played lead guitar on a session for an R&B vocal group, The G-Clefs, whose record "Ka-Ding Dong" made No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1956. At a young age he joined the National Guard, took a job driving a truck, married, and became a father.

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. 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. 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. 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 in Philadelphia. 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. The single was finally released by Swan Records, with the company president, Bernie Binnick, suggesting Freddy's new stage name of "Freddy Cannon". 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. In the UK, where his early records were issued on the Top Rank label, it reached No. 17.

He stayed on the Swan label with producer Frank Slay for the next five years, and became known as Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon, for the thumping power of his recordings. Dick Clark brought him national exposure through his numerous appearances on his television program, American Bandstand - a record of 110 appearances in total. In the words of writer Cub Koda:
"Freddy Cannon was a true believer, a rocker to the bone. Freddy Cannon made rock & roll records; great noisy rock & roll records, and all of them were infused with a gigantic drum beat that was an automatic invitation to shake it on down anyplace there was a spot to dance."
His second single "Okefenokee" (credited to Freddie Cannon, as were several of his other records) only made No. 43 on the charts, but the next record, "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans", a rocked-up version of a 1922 song, became a gold record and reached No. 3 in the pop charts in both the US and the UK, where it was the biggest of his hits. Cannon toured in Britain, and in March 1960 his album, The Explosive Freddy Cannon, became the first LP by a rock and roll singer to top the album charts in the UK. For the next two years, until early 1962, he continued to have lesser chart hits in the US, in some cases with versions of old standards including "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy" and Edward "Kid" Ory's "Muskrat Ramble". His hits also included "Twistin' All Night Long", recorded with Danny and the Juniors and also featuring Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on backing vocals. However, one of his biggest hits came in May 1962 with "Palisades Park", written by future TV Gong Show host Chuck Barris. Produced by Slay with overdubbed rollercoaster sound effects, it reached No. 3 on the Hot 100, No. 15 on the R&B chart, and No. 20 in the UK.

Cannon also appeared with Bobby Vee, Johnny Tillotson and others, in the movie Just for Fun, made in the UK in 1962. Although his popularity in the US faded, he remained a popular touring act in Britain and elsewhere in the world for some years. In 1963 he signed for Warner Bros. Records where he recorded his last two US top twenty hits, "Abigail Beecher" in 1964, and the following year "Action", from Dick Clark's TV show Where the Action Is, which he recorded with top Los Angeles session musicians including Leon Russell, James Burton, Glen Campbell, and David Gates. Also in 1965, Slay acquired Cannon's Swan recordings and sold them to Warner Bros. He appeared, along with The Beau Brummels, in Village of the Giants, a teen movie with early film appearances by Beau Bridges and Ron Howard, and played himself, and performed one of his songs, in the final episode of the teen soap opera, Never Too Young, on 24 June 1966. After leaving Warner Bros. Records in 1967, Cannon released singles on several labels, including Sire, Royal American, Metromedia, MCA, Andee, Claridge, Horn, and Amherst. In the 1970s he recorded and became a promotional man for Buddah Records, but returned to the lower reaches of the charts in 1981 with "Let's Put the Fun Back in Rock'n'Roll," recorded with The Belmonts for MiaSound Records and in 1982 appeared in the independent movie, The Junkman. Thereafter, he continued to work with Dick Clark at his Bandstand reunion concerts, and to tour all over the world. In 2002, he released an album of seasonal songs, Have A Boom Boom Christmas!!

A resident of Tarzana, California, Cannon continues to put on performances at assorted concert venues. He has complete control and ownership of his Swan and Warner Bros. masters.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

02/16 Lynda Carter

Lynda Jean Carter (born July 24, 1951) is an American actress and singer, best known for being Miss World USA and as the star of the 1970s television series The New Original Wonder Woman (1975–77) and The New Adventures of Wonder Woman (1977–79).

Carter was born Lynda Jean Carter in Phoenix, Arizona. Her father, Colby Carter, is an art dealer of English descent and her mother, Juana Córdova, is of Mexican descent with roots in Chihuahua, Mexico and previously worked in the telephone industry. Lynda speaks fluent Spanish. Carter grew up an avid reader of the Wonder Woman comic books. She went to Arcadia High School in Phoenix and Kachina Elementary School.

During high school, Carter performed in a band called Just Us, consisting of a marimba, a conga drum, an acoustic guitar, and a stand-up bass played by another girl. When she was 17, Lynda joined two of her cousins in another band called The Relatives. Actor Gary Burghoff was the drummer. The group opened at the Sahara Hotel and Casino lounge in Las Vegas, Nevada, for three months; and, because Lynda was under 21, she had to enter through the kitchen. She attended Arizona State University and was a member of Alpha Xi Delta. After being voted "Most Talented," she dropped out to pursue a career in music. In 1970, Carter sang with The Garfin Gathering with Lynda Carter. Their first performance was in a San Francisco hotel so new that it had no sidewalk entrance. Consequently, they played mostly to the janitors and hotel guests who parked their cars in the underground garage. She returned to Arizona in 1972.

In 1972, Carter entered a local beauty contest and gained national attention in the United States by winning Miss World USA, representing Arizona; in the international 1972 Miss World pageant, representing the U.S., she reached the semi-finals. After taking acting classes at several New York acting schools, she began making appearances on such TV shows as Starsky and Hutch, Cos, and Nakia and in "B-movies," including her only nude appearance, in Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976).

Carter's acting career took off when she landed the starring role in The New Adventures of Wonder Woman as Wonder Woman and her alter ego Diana Prince. The savings her parents had set aside for her to pursue acting in Los Angeles was almost depleted, and she was close to returning to Arizona when her manager informed her that she had won the part. Her earnest performance endeared her to fans and critics, and the series lasted three seasons. Thirty years after first taking on the role, Carter continues to be closely identified with Wonder Woman.
In 1985, DC Comics named Carter as one of the honorees in the company's 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for her work on the Wonder Woman series. In 2007, toy company DC Direct released a 13" full-figure statue of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, limited to 5,000 pieces; it was re-released in 2010. Also in 2010, DC Direct began selling a 5½-inch bust of Carter's rendition of Wonder Woman to celebrate the DC Comics' 75th anniversary.

During the late 1970s, she recorded an album, Portrait. Carter is credited as a co-writer on several songs, and she made numerous guest appearances on variety television programs at the time in a musical capacity. She also sang two of her songs in the 1979 Wonder Woman episode, "Amazon Hot Wax".

Carter's other credits include the title role in a biopic of Rita Hayworth, titled Rita Hayworth, Love Goddess (1983) and a variety of her own TV specials: Lynda Carter's Special (1980), Encore! (1980), Celebration (1981), Street Life (1982), and Body And Soul (1984). She starred in a few short-lived TV series, including Partners in Crime (1984) with Loni Anderson and Hawkeye (1994–95) with Lee Horsley. During this time, she also became a celebrity promotional model for Maybelline cosmetics commercials.

In 2001, Carter was cast in the independent comedy feature Super Troopers as Vermont Governor Jessman. The writers and stars of the film, the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, with Jay Chandrasekhar directing, had specifically sought Carter for the role. Inspired by the character detour from her usual roles, she agreed to play a washed-up former beauty queen in The Creature of the Sunny Side Up Trailer Park (2004), directed by Christopher Coppola. Carter made her first appearance in a major feature film in a number of years in the big-screen remake of The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), also directed by Chandrasekhar. She also appeared in the comedy Sky High (2005) as "Principal Powers", the head of a school for superheroes. The script allowed Carter to poke fun at her most famous character when she states: "I can't do anything more to help you. I'm not Wonder Woman, y'know." In 2006, she guest-starred in the made-for-cable vampire film Slayer. The following year, Lynda returned to the DC Comics' television world in the Smallville episode "Progeny" (2007) playing Chloe Sullivan's Kryptonite-empowered mother.

From September to November 2005, Carter played Mama Morton in the West End London production of Chicago. In 2006, her rendition of "When You're Good to Mama" was officially released on the Chicago: 10th Anniversary Edition CD box set. In May 2007, Carter began touring the U.S. with her one-woman musical cabaret show, An Evening with Lynda Carter. She has played engagements at such venues as Feinstein's At Loews Regency in New York, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In June 2009, her second album, "At Last", was released and reached #10 on Billboard's Jazz Albums Chart.

In June 2011, Carter released her third album, "Crazy Little Things", which she describes as delightful mix of standards, country, and pop tunes.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

02/09 Robert Conrad Talks To You!

The show is all about you! Your letters, your emails and YOUR calls! It's a love-fest between you and Robert Conrad!

Don't forget to "Like" Robert's Facebook Page:
The Real Robert Conrad

Thursday, February 2, 2012

02/02 Burt Young

Gerald Tommaso DeLouise (born April 30, 1940) better known as Burt Young, is an American actor, painter and author. He is best known for his Academy Award-nominated role as Sylvester Stallone's brother-in-law and friend Paulie in the Rocky film series.

Young made his name playing rough-edged working class Italian-American characters, the best-known example being his signature role as Sylvester Stallone's brother-in-law Paulie in Rocky (1976), for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He is one of three actors (the other two being Stallone and Tony Burton) who have appeared in every Rocky film.

He has played similar roles in Chinatown, Convoy, Back to School, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Once Upon a Time in America, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Downtown: A Street Tale, and even a brutal and darker role in Amityville II: The Possession. Young has also appeared in many television programs, including The Rockford Files, Baretta, Law & Order, Walker, Texas Ranger, M*A*S*H, guest-starred in a Miami Vice episode, and made an appearance on The Sopranos ("Another Toothpick") as Bobby Baccalieri's father, who is dying of cancer and comes out of retirement to execute a hit on his godson.

Young is a painter whose art has been displayed in galleries throughout the world. He is also a published author whose works include two filmed screenplays and 400-page historically based novel called Endings.

He has also written two stage plays: SOS and A Letter to Alicia and the New York City Government From a Man With a Bullet in His Head.