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 Orleans, the 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 Guzzo. 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 competitions.

    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, "CHEATIN' WOMAN."

    "SEA CRUISE" was the follow up record on Ace and the rest is musical history! 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 "HALF A 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 Records.

    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 & LONELY," (Ace #2060 CD & Cassette. Included are such songs as "MEET ME TONIGHT", "GONE", "THREE PEOPLE SLEEPING IN MY BED", "LOVE STEALIN' TIME AGAIN", "DANCIN' WITH MY BABY", and the title tune, "HOT & LONELY" which was written by R&B singer/songwriter Lee Fields.

    In 1998, Avanti Records released "FRANKIE FORD - "A NEW ORLEANS TRADITION", (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 BEST OF 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 "THE ALL TIME GREATEST HITS OF FRANKIE FORD".

    His TV Special on the BRAVO Cable Channel"MUSIC FROM NEW ORLEANS" starring FRANKIE FORD and Special Guest JEAN KNIGHT with TOMMY RIDGLEY and OLIVER 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 videocassette.

    "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 & Famous".

    He was inducted into The Louisiana Hall of Fame in 1992 and the "Living Legend Award" is their highest honor, Louisiana Treasures 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