Hughie Cannon Author of “Frankie and Johnny”
Hughie Cannon was a composer and lyricist who was born in Detroit 1877 and died in 1912 in Toledo. His best known composition was the popular song Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey. He wrote the ragtime song at the age of sixteen; it was published in 1902. The song has been covered many times since by a wide range of singers, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey, Marion Montgomery, and Bobby Darin.
The song became an instant success following its first performance by Blackface John Queen, a contemporary of the composer. Another of the author's long-lasting hits is Frankie and Johnny, published in 1904.
Cannon wrote the featured song 'I love the Two Steps (With my Man)' for the New York show 'Mrs. Black in Back', which opened in 1904 and ran for 79 performances. Mrs. Black was played by May Irwin, who also appeared in one of Thomas Edison's earliest productions, "The Kiss."
Cannon also wrote music for "A Venetian Romance" at the Knickerbocker Theater.
Cannon was buried in Connellsville, Pa., where his mother lived. His mother, May Cannon Robbins, had been in show business and had played the role of "Little Trixie" in a production that toured the nation for several years in the late 1800s. By the time her son became a well-known composer she was managing a theater in Connellsville with the help of her third husband Fred Robbins. Not much is known about his the composer's father, John Cannon.
Not long before his death, Cannon told a Detroit newspaper that he sold off the rights to most of his songs. In a letter to his mother he lamented "the songs I once had."
He told the same newspaper that while he also used drugs, it was alcohol that was the hardest to kick. A brief marriage to Emma Dorsam ended in divorce, and he died penniless.
Cannon's other songs include "For Lawdy Sakes, Feed My Dog," "I Hates To Get Up Early In The Morning", "Possum Pie", "Just Because She Made Dem Goo-Goo Eyes" and "You