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Saturday, July 7, 2012


                                 CANNIBAL & THE HEADHUNTERS

Edior's Note:

Thanks to a recent e-mail and telephone conversation with Max Uballez some of the information regarding the genesis of Cannibal & The Headhunters and their early years has been corrected. Max Uballez was the leader of the Eastside band, The Romancer. He co-produced Cannibal & The Headhunters smash hit "Land Of 1000 Dances" with Frankie Garcia.

Additional corrections by record collector Juan Covarrubias

Editor's Note 12/10/12: A special thanks to Cannibal & The Headhunters drummer Robert Zapata for correcting more mis-information in my originally post. Artists such as Mr Zapata want to tell the true story which I am grateful to hear.

Band Members:

Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia
Joe "YoYo" Jaramillo
Bobby "Rabbit" Jaramillo
Richard "Scar" Lopez

Cannibal & The Headhunters were the first Mexican-American group from the East Los Angeles area to have a national hit record. Sunny & The Sunglows from the San Antonio, Texas area had their "Talk To Me" single reach number 11 on the Billboard Charts in the summer of 1963.

 Cannibal & The Headhunters hailed from the Ramona Gardens and Estrada Courts Housing Projects of East Los Angeles and attended Lincoln High School.

Bobby Jaramillo and Richard Lopez started a group called Bobby & The Classics around 1963 and added Bobby's youger brother, Joe. The group was influenced by black vocal (doo wop) groups icluding the black vocal group Zulu & The Warriors who later became The Showcases.

 Frankie Garcia, from Aliso Village near East Los Angeles, whose nickname on the streets was "Little Cannibal" was a doo wop & soul vocalist who worked for a brief time with The Showcases and two other local bands, The Royal Jesters and The Rhythm Playboys.

Frankie wanted to start his own vocal group, Billy Cardenas was impressed with Frankie's vocal talents and brought the Bobby & The Classics group in to be Frankie's backing vocalists.

The band started doing R&B, doo wop and Motown and auditioned for Eddie Davis & Rampart Records. Billy Cardenas who named many of the Eastside groups picked the name Cannibal & The Headhunters and Billy  became their manager.

Cannibal & The Headhunters first record for Rampart was "Land Of 1000 Dances" It was written by Fats Domino and Chris Kenner. Chris Kenner recorded "Land Of A Thousand Dances" in 1962 for the Instant label (Instant 3252). Ronnie & The Pomona Casuals and Thee Midniters had also recorded the song.

At a rehearsal at The Rhythm Room in Fullerton, Frankie forgot the words mid-song and improvised with"Na, Na, Na, Na" which Eddie & the band decided to leave in the song.

Cannibal's former band, The Rhythm Playboys were supposed to provide the backing tracks for the record but a disagrrement between Eddie Davis and Billy Cardenas caused Eddie to bring in The Blendells. The beat was copied from Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips" and a smash hit version of the song was recorded. Wilson Picket would later record the song leaving in Frankie's "Na, Na, Na, Na"

In February 1965 Rampart Records released "Land Of 1000 Dances" and "I'll Show You How To Love Me" (Rampart 642). It reached number 30 on the Billboard Charts in April 1965.

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "Land Of 1000 Dances" Here:

"I'll Show You How To Love Me" is a great doo wop ballad written by Frankie Garcia.

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "I'll Show You How To Love Me" Here:

Cannibal & The Headhunters perform "Land Of 1000 Dances" on Sam Riddle's 9th Street West Television show in 1965.

                               Dutch Picture Sleve

With the success of the record Cannibal & The Headhunters went on tour performing in the Motown Revue Show, Murray The K Show and Dick Clark's Road Show. They made television appearances on 9th Street West and Hullabaloo. Paul McCartney saw the band on the Hullabaloo show and Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager contacted Eddie Davis and Cannibal & The Headhunters joined The Beatles 1965 U.S. tour playing venues such as Shea Stadium and The Hollywood Bowl.

Richard "Scar" Lopez left the band for personal reasons during the Beatles tour and the other three members carried on.

Their next single for Rampart in June 1965 was "Here Comes Love" and "Nau Ninny Nau" (Rampart 644). "Here Comes Love" is another great doo wop ballad written by Larry Tamblyn. "Nau Ninny Nau" is an answer to "Land Of 1000 Dances" and is credited to Max Uballez, Frankie Garcia and Eddie Davis.

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "Here Comes Love" Here:

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "Nau Ninny Nau" Here:

The band's third single for Rampart was "I Need Your Loving" and "Follow The Music" (Rampart 646)  released in September 1965. "I Need Your Loving" is a cover version of the 1962 hit for Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford. "Follow The Music" was written by Frankie Garcia and Max Uballez.

Cannibal & The Headhunters perform "Follow The Music" on Sam Riddles' Hollywood A Go Go televison show in 1965.

The band's fourth and final single for Rampart was "Please Baby Please" and "Out Of Sight" (Rampart 654) released in August 1966. "Please Baby Please" is a great soulful ballad written by Frankie Garcia. "Out Of Sight" is a cover of the James Brown classic.

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "Please Baby Please" Here:

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "Out Of Sight" Here:

On the heels of their national hit single Rampart rush released Cannibal & The Headhunters "Land Of 1000 Dances" album in August 1965. (Rampart 3302)

This album will be reviewed in the VINYL CLASSICS section.

Date Records, a division of Columbia/CBS thought they could do better with the band and Eddie Davis always trying to make an extra buck agreed.

In July 1966 Date Records released "Zulu King" and "La Bamba" (Date 1516). "Zulu King was written by Chick Carlton and "La Bamba" is a cover of the tune made famous by Ritchie Valens.

The single failed to draw much attention so Date reissued "Land Of A Thousand Dances" (spelling out the word thousand) with "Love Bird" as the B Side in August 1966 (Date 1525).

"Love Bird" is a superb cover version of the Inez & Charlie Foxx 1963 hit "Mockingbird"

Date reissued the Rampart "Land Of 1000 Dances" Album (Date TEM 3001) in 1966 but that would be their last release for the Date label.

The group did NOT disband in 1967 as critics and authors would have you believe but Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia enlisted new members George Ochoa and Eddie Serrano to replace Richard Lopez & the Jaramillo brothers. George Ochoa had been a member of Mark Guerrero's band, The Men From S.O.U.N.D. and Eddie Serrano had been with Thee Enchantments.

Somewhere between 1967 and 1969, Cannibal & The Headhunters recorded "Dance By The Light" and "Means So Much" which was released on the very obscure Aires (Aries) Records label out of Chicago, Illinois.

In 1969, the band signed with Capitol Records who liked "Means So Much" but released it in January of 1969 with a new A side "Get On Up (Get Up The Courage).

Here is the Capitol/EMI French release of the single with picture sleeve:

 In the early1980's Frankie reemerged with a new group of Headhunters that included singers Eddie Serrano & David Castaneda. This new group only performed briefly and Cannibal decided to stop perforning and turned the group over to Eddie Serrano. Eddie was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in August 1998 and his band continued to perform under the name Cannibal & Headhunters.

In the late 1990's a new interest in the Eastside Sound was generated via articles, books and websites. Some of the original bands got back together and started performing again. Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia passed away in 1996. Yo Yo & Rabbit Jaramillo and Scar Lopez reformed & started performing again. There were now two groups performing under the same name.

In 1997, Lil' Rudy G & The Chizmosos recorded a tribute song to Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia entitled "Cannibals Eulogy" which you can listen to here:

In May of 2000, Joe "Yo Yo Jaramillo passed away leaving Rabbit & Scar to carry on. They recruited singer & multi-taleneted Greg Esparza to move the group forward. Also in 2000 this group recorded the R&B classic Searching For My Baby with Canned Heat found on the compact disc "Boogie 2000"found on the compact disc "Boogie 2000"

Richard "Scar" Lopez passed away in July 2010. Robert "Rabbit" Jaramillo is the sole surviving member of the original band.

There are several good Cannibal & The Headhunters compact discs available but the one I reccomend is "Land Of 1000 Dances - The Complete Rampart Recordings" released in 2005 on the Varsse Sarabande label.


Soley for historical & educational purposes and for listening pleasure.


  1. Wow. Bringing history to life as always with a good combination of text and visuals. More stuff goes on my want list :)
    Can't wait until you cover the Date and Capitol releases.

  2. Thank you snakeboy. Hope you enjoy the update.