Frankie Ford

Born: Aug. 4, 1939
Died: Sept. 28, 2015

Frankie Ford was adopted as a child and grew up in the New Orleans suburb of Gretna, Louisiana. He began performing in 1945 when he was five years old, appearing at local gigs with the likes of Sophie Tucker, Ted Lewis, and Carmen Miranda. He entered and won many local, regional, and national vocal competitions. In 1952, he performed on The Ted Mack Amateur Hour in New York. In high school, he played piano and sang for a group called The Syncopators. His early piano influences were Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Huey Smith, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, and Professor Longhair. His first regional hit was “Cheatin' Woman” on Ace Records, followed by the song for which he is most remembered, “Sea Cruise,” which reached #14 on the charts in 1959. Frankie was only nineteen.

 

His other hits included “Roberta,” “Alimony” (#97), “Time After Time” (#75), “I Want To Be Your Man,” “Danny Boy,” and “What's Going On.” In 1960 he moved to Imperial Records where he recorded “You Talk Too Much,” (a cover of Joe Jones version), “Seventeen,” “Saturday Night Fish Fry,” “Dog House,” “The Groom,” “Let Them Talk,” and “A Man Only Does.” Two years later he was drafted into the Army where he became a member of the Special Forces, entertaining troops in Vietnam, Korea and the U.S. He became known as the "New Orleans Dynamo" and "The King of Swamp Pop,” continuing to perform and record until 2009.

 

About “Sea Cruise,” Frankie once said, “Some people have five records that sell a million each. Some sell none. I've had one that sold 30 million! And I've outlived that one record.” Frankie Ford was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

Frankie Ford performs "Sea Cruise"