By Johnny Vallis
Update, posted Oct., 2002
FRANKIE FORD'S NEW CD "Night Songs" featuring his showstopping hit "Gone" has
been released on Briarmeade Records BR-200 CD. Order your copy by sending a
check for US$20.00, payable to Sea Cruise Productions, Inc. - P. O. Box 1875
- Gretna, Louisiana 70054-1875.
FRANKIE FORD sang his way to rock n' roll immortality in 1959 with the
mega hit "SEA CRUISE". That song has become one of the greatest rock n' roll
classics of all time. The tag line, "OOH-WEE, OOH-WEE, BABY" is one of the most
recognizable lines in all of popular music.
The license plates on his car in Louisiana reads "OOH-WEE". He was
born and raised in the
New Orleans area where he still lives in his hometown suburb of Gretna, Louisiana.
He is known all over the world as the "New Orleans Dynamo" and spends
about 200 days a year
on the road. The legendary rock n' roll pianist and performer
continues to entertain the masses all
over the world in concerts, night clubs, casinos and festivals,
FRANKIE FORD is a world-class act and has performed on some of the
world's greatest stages,
including Royal Albert Hall in London, The Hollywood Bowl, The Greek
Theatre in Los Angeles,
Hollywood's Universal Amphitheatre, The Louisiana Superdome in New
Waldorf-Astoria Grand Ballroom in New York, 100 Club in London, The
Lincoln Centre in New
York and the list goes on and on.
He was born on August 4, 1939... the adopted son of Vincent & Anna
He studied singing and dancing and first appeared on stage at the
tender age of 5 in early 1945.
He's been going strong ever since! In 1952, he performed on The Ted
Mack Amateur Hour in
New York and won many other local, regional and national vocal
While in high school he joined a group called "The Syncopators" as
singer and piano player. His
early piano influences were Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Huey Smith, Fats
Domino, Ray Charles
and Professor Longhair.
One night after a local gig, Frankie was introduced to Joe Caronna,
who was the New Orleans
distributor for Ace Records.
Asked if he was interested in making a record, Frankie's answer was,
of course, "yes!" Caronna
was so impressed with Frankie that he became his manager and set up
his first recording session at
Cosimo Matassa's studio. The result of that Ace Records' session was
Frankie's first regional hit,
"SEA CRUISE" was the follow up record on Ace and the rest is musical
Initially, the other side of the record, "ROBERTA", was the "A" side
and is still considered a real
rock n' roll classic.
Frankie's other hits on Ace Records include "ALIMONY", "TIME AFTER
TIME", "I WANT TO
BE YOUR MAN", "DANNY BOY" and "WHAT'S GOING ON".
In 1960, Frankie signed with Imperial records after they approached
him with an offer he couldn't
refuse. Produced by Dave Bartholomew, Frankie's first Imperial release
was "YOU TALK TOO
MUCH", a cover of Joe Jones' legal entangled versions on Ric and
Roulette Records. Imperial
released several other Frankie Ford records, including "SEVENTEEN",
"SATURDAY NIGHT FISH FRY", "DOG HOUSE", "THE GROOM", "LET THEM TALK",
and "A MAN ONLY DOES".
In 1962, Frankie was drafted into the U.S. Army and continued to
entertain as a member of
Special Services, throughout the United States, Korea and Viet Nam.
After his honorable
discharge from the Army he continued to record for various labels.
Doubloon Records in New Orleans recorded "I CAN'T FACE TOMORROW", b/w
CROWN" , arranged by Allen Toussaint. That record was #1 in the New
Orleans market. During
the 70's & 80's he recorded for Paula, Cinnamon, ABC and Briarmeade
In 1984, he recorded the "New Orleans Dynamo" album in London with
producer Mike Vernon,
which included the critically acclaimed single, "WHISKEY HEAVEN".
In 1995, Frankie returned to Ace Records to record a new album, 'HOT &
#2060 CD & Cassette.
Included are such songs as "MEET ME TONIGHT", "GONE", "THREE PEOPLE
IN MY BED", "LOVE STEALIN' TIME AGAIN", "DANCIN' WITH MY BABY", and the
tune, "HOT & LONELY" which was written by R&B singer/songwriter Lee
In 1998, Avanti Records released "FRANKIE FORD - "A NEW ORLEANS
(Avanti #1002 CD & Cassette), featuring brand new vocals by Frankie on
the original music
tracks of some of the greatest Ace Records ever released. Among the
classics are "ROCKIN'
PNEUMONIA & THE BOOGIE WOOGIE FLU", "JUST A MOMENT", "PROMISES", "TIME
AFTER TIME", "SEA CRUISE" and many others.
Also in 1998, Westside Records in London, released "OOH-WEE, BABY! THE
FRANKIE FORD" that includes nearly everything Frankie recorded for
Ace, including released,
unreleased and alternate takes, with a total of 27 tracks! Their U.S.
affiliate Music Club has also
released a similar package. Stardust Records (Canada) has issued his
ALL TIME GREATEST HITS OF FRANKIE FORD".
His TV Special on the BRAVO Cable Channel"MUSIC FROM NEW ORLEANS"
FRANKIE FORD and Special Guest JEAN KNIGHT with TOMMY RIDGLEY and
MORGAN, has aired several times during 1997 & 1998.
His performance in the 1978 Paramount Pictures film,"AMERICAN HOT
WAX", received rave
reviews and airs repeatedly on HBO and Cinemax and is now available on
"SEA CRUISE" etched Frankie's name in rock n' roll and R&B history,
but the story doesn't end
there. It has been used to advertise Diet Coke and Sprite, Coors Light
Beer on radio and TV
commercials. It's on the soundtrack of the award winning Canadian film
"My American Cousin",
as well as in "Stewardess School", "Ski Patrol", "Quantum Leap", and
"Lifestyles of The Rich &
He was inducted into The Louisiana Hall of Fame in 1992
and the "Living Legend Award" is their highest honor,
Hall of Fame, The Gulf
Coast Music Hall of Fame in Port Arthur, Texas and received the
Lifetime Achievement Award
from The South Louisiana Music Association. He is an Honorary
Insurance Commissioner in
Louisiana and holds the title of "KING OF SWAMP POP MUSIC", awarded by
Louisiana Lt. Governor Melinda Schwegmann.
In July of 1998, Frankie played Vienna with Carl Dobkins Jr., Ray
Campi and Buddy Knox. It was a huge festival and had almost a million
people in 4 days!
Frankie just recorded a couple of duets with Country Star Doug Kershaw
for his duet CD due out this year.
On April 11, 1999 Frankie Ford received the "Living Legends" Award
from the Louisiana Hall Of Fame, even though he has a Lifetime
Achievement this award is their top honor.
The Rockabilly Hall Of Fame found inducting Frankie Ford on April 12,
(Certificate #90) 1999 to be a great day. We decided it would be nice for him to receive
both "Hall Of Fame" awards in two days, but it is also Ken Keene's
birthday (His business partner for over 30 years).
It may have been along time since "Sea Cruise", but Frankie Ford is a
true Rock and Roll Legend and nothing will keep this guy from Rockin'!
Thanks to: Ken Keene
E-mail the Rockabilly Hall of Fame Office
© Rockabilly Hall of Fame ®