Little Joe Cook, whose one big hit, “Peanuts,” helped make him a local music legend, has died after a long bout with cancer, his family said. He was 91.
The doo-wop singer, who was born Joseph Cook, was recognized around Cambridge for his Cadillac Seville with the license plate “Nut Man.” He played for years at Cantab Lounge in Central Square. His 1957 song, recorded with Little Joe and the Thrillers, stayed on Billboard’s charts for 15 weeks. Frankie Valli, with the Four Seasons, covered “Peanuts” in 1962.
In an interview with the Globe’s James Burnett back in 2012, Cook said: “People the world over know who I am, and, yeah, it’s for that song. “And I’m just fine with that.”
“Let’s Do the Slop,” a lesser known song, is the song and dance combo that got Cook on “Bandstand,” the Bob Horn-hosted TV predecessor to Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.”
Born in South Philadelphia Dec. 29, 1922, into a family of Pentecostal gospel singers, Cook started singing in church with his mother, Annie Bell, a well-known regional blues singer. Once he moved to Boston in the late 1960s, he stayed because he liked it so much.