Freddy Cannon, and some cannonballs (natch…)
I hope the new week finds you well.
One of my great pleasures as a collector of music (not just records, my friends…) is happening upon an unexpected gem in someone’s catalog.
I think I first heard Freddy Cannon’s cover of the Doors ‘20th Century Fox’ when a friend (hey Chuck!) posted it on Facebook, and I was knocked back on my heels.
While I wouldn’t say that I’d done a serious study of the Freddy Cannon discography, I was certainly acquainted with his biggest hits – and a few of the lesser-known numbers – and dug a lot of it.
I remember watching 1965’s ‘Village of the Giants’and seeing Freddy working it out on ‘Little Bitty Corinne’ (later covered by the Swinging Neckbreakers) and hearing his theme (there were others) for ‘Where the Action Is’, which was his second-to-last chart hit that same year.
Now, looking at (or better yet, listening to) Freddy’s biggest records, one might be forgiven for raising an eyebrow when encountering him covering a song by the Doors.
That said, he does an outstanding job, revving things up just a touch with a little bit of that mid-60s proto-garage kick. The record benefits from the removal of the original’s most recognizable element, that being the likkered up, Laurel Canyon croon of ol’Jimbo the Lizard King.
Cannon adds in some harmonica, fuzzed out guitar and of course his vocals.
It does what every cover should strive to do, which is twist the source material just enough to squeeze out some new juice. This isn’t always possible – I can only think of a handful of Doors songs (outside of Light My Fire) that got covers – but Freddy pulls it off.
If you find yourself a copy of this burner grab it, since the flip ‘Cincinnatti Woman’ is excellent as well.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you all next week.