Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon is not a one-hit wonder. He has actually had eight Top 40 hits over the course of his career. But in New Jersey, especially, his lasting impact can be summed up by two words: “Palisades Park.”
The cheerful song, a No. 3 hit in 1962, is still guaranteed to spark a smile even for those who never visited the Bergen County amusement park, which closed in 1971.
Cannon was not a New Jerseyan. Nor was Chuck Barris, who wrote it. Yes, that Chuch Barris: The guy who later hosted “The Gong Show” and was played by Sam Rockwell in the 2002 George Clooney-directed movie “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” which was based on Barris’ memoirs. Barris was living in New York and working as a music writer and producer when he penned “Palisades Park,” and Cannon, a Massachusetts native, had already been a moderately successful recording artist for several years.
Subsequently, “Palisades Park” has been covered by everyone from Shelley Fabares to The Ramones.
Palisades Park, incidentally, featured live music in the ’60s, and every year, disk jockey Cousin Brucie presents a Palisades Park Reunion concert featuring artists who played there.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.