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Sea Cruise by Frankie Ford

Album: Sea Cruise: The Very Best Of Frankie FordReleased: 1959Charted:
  • This was written by Huey "Piano" Smith, a popular New Orleans piano player who wrote the song "Rockin' Pneumonia." He recorded the original version in New Orleans with Gerri Hall.
  • 19-year-old Frankie Ford was brought in to record a younger sounding, more commercially successful vocal track than the blues-based original. It worked, as the song became a hit.
  • The song was originally recorded by Huey Smith and the Clowns, but Frankie Ford's lead vocal replaced Huey Smith's while the group was on tour. Smith was furious when he heard the finished product. It was credited to Frankie Ford with Huey "Piano" Smith and The Clowns.
  • The idea of the bells and the horns came from Ace Records' management. The producers and musicians were aghast as the sound effect horns were in a different key than the song's real horn section.
  • Ford re-wrote some of the lyrics so he could get a songwriter credit. Smith really got screwed on this one.
  • Herman's Hermits cover version was a hit at the peak of the first British Invasion. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 3)
  • This was one of many songs used as a nickname by ESPN announcer Chris Berman. He used it for a baseball player: outfielder Jose "Won't You Let Me Take You On A Sea" Cruz.
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Comments: 6

I didn't realize Johnny Rivers had covered this song. It makes sense, since he flew so high with "Rockin' Pneumonia" and it was written by the same person. I saw Johnny in concert on my birthday a few years ago -- a truly awesome event. I've loved his music since "Summer Rain" in the late '60s.Susan - Atlanta, Georgia
On May 2nd 1971, Johnny Rivers' covered version of "Sea Cruise" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #98; it stayed on the chart for 4 weeks, peaking at #84...
As already stated, the Herman Hermits also covered it; in the U.S.A. it was the B-side of "Just A Little Bit Better", which reached #7 on the Top 100 in 1965...
Mr. Rivers, born John Henry Ramistella, will celebrate his 72nd birthday this coming November 7th, 2014 and Peter 'Herman' Noone, born Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone, was also born in November; he will turn 67 years old on Nov. 5th, 2014.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
johnny Vincent and his company ACe Records made
some cool records..the story behind this one
as I am reading it on this website is a strange one.
Steve Dotstar - Los Angeles, Ca
I made a piano instrumental version of "Sea Cruise" - you can hear it at
just scroll down to "Track 2"

Your fellow Sea Cruise fan,
Memphis Piano Joe (search my name at YouTube)
Memphis "piano" Joe - Los Angeles, Ca
The horn arrangement was later copied by The Clash in 'Wrong 'Em Boyo' (1979), in itself a cover of a rather obscure rock steady track by Jamaican group The Rulers.Walter - Antwerp, Belgium
In one of the many memorable scenes from the 1978 movie "American Hot Wax", Frankie lip-syncs "Sea Cruise" while in the recording studio making a hit record. Fantastic film. Too bad it's still not available on DVD.Rick - San Juan, United States