Joe Pica

Joe Pica

Joe Pica, nicknamed "The Wizard of the Keys," was a popular East Coast pianist and lounge singer who flourished in the 1950s. He may have graduated from Abington Avenue Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey, [Anthony Patuto, "Growing up in Stephen Crane Village 1939-1953," "Newark Memories: Old Newark Web Group",] and attended Barringer High School, [Whitney, "... at the Piano," "Newark Trivia: Old Newark Web Group",] also in Newark. He often played at the Kensington Lounge in Long Branch, New Jersey, in the late 1950s. His records were issued by Original Records and Bergen Records in Little Ferry, New Jersey, and Anchor Records in Newark. He also composed at least three piano accordion solos "c." 1953: "Silver Streak Polka," "Whispering Willows," and "The Helicopter Polka." [Joe Picca [sic] , "Silver Streak Polka", New Jersey: Postscript Music, 1953; Joe Pica, "Whispering Willows", New Jersey: Postscript Music, 1953.]

Tribute and personal recollection of Pica

"Joe Pica also played at the "Three Acre Grill" in Rutherford NJ late forties to early fifties. Twice a week there were guest singers, one of which was Terry Amadio, a close friend of mine. Dom Cerrito was owner of the grill. I made records on 45 disks of Joe Pica for people that requested a song. the records were given free... People kept coming back. I also made some of Joe with Terry Amadio singing. I lost contact with her when I was drafted into the Army in August 1951 and sadly she was engaged to be married soon after I was discharged from the Active Army in July 1953. I don't think she continued singing much longer. What a shame because she was one of the best but I don't think she believed in herself as much as she should have.
"Had she not married and we continued our friendship I know I could have helped her to get to the right people that would have brought her to national and possibly international fame."
"To me Joe Pica was the best piano player and Terry Amadio was the very best female singer in my, D. Tony Ciaramella, lifetime."
- D. Tony Ciaramella



* "Go Home, Little Girl, Go Home" (with The Song Spinners) / "Memories" (45 rpm, Anchor 45-A-6, Aug. 1952) [William R. Daniels, comp., "The American 45 and 78 RPM Record Dating Guide, 1940-1959", Westport: Greenwood, 1985, pp. 9, 20, 106. Note: Unless otherwise noted, all release dates are taken or inferred from this source.]
* "Margie" / "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" (45 rpm, Anchor 45-A-18, 1953)
* "Please Don't Talk about Me When I'm Gone" / "Caravan" (Instrumental) (45 rpm, Original OR-511, c. 1954)
* "The Music Goes 'Round and Around" / "Chinatown, My Chinatown" (Instrumental) (45 rpm, Original OR-512, Feb. 1955)
* "I Learned a Lesson I'll Never Forget" / "Doodle Doo Doo" (with the Balladairs Group) (45 rpm, Original OR-518, 1955)
* "Down in the Old School Yard" / "Oh, How I Miss You Tonight" (45 rpm, Bergen 103, c. 1956)
* "Don't Cry Little Girl, Don't Cry" / "The Woodpecker Song" (Instrumental)(45 rpm, Original OR-532, Nov. 1956)
* "Old Oaken Bucket" / "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" (45 rpm, Anchor 148, Nov. 1958) [Galen Gart, "ARLD: The American Record Label Directory and Dating Guide, 1940-1959", Milford, NH: Big Nickel Publications, 1989, p. 8.]
* "When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver" / "You Belong to My Heart" (45 rpm, Anchor 150, c. 1958)
* "Down in the Old School Yard" / "Oh, How I Miss You Tonight" (45 rpm, Anchor 152, c. 1958)
* "Somebody Stole My Girl" / "Oh, How I Miss You Tonight" (45 rpm, Anchor 155, c. 1959)
* "Rocka Rolla Old Pianola" / "You Are My Sunshine" (45 rpm, Anchor 156, c. 1959)
* "Maybe" (Instrumental) / "Yes, Sir That's My Baby" (Instrumental) (45 rpm, Anchor 157, c. 1959)
* "Rock a Rolla the Old Pianola" / "Brother Bill" (Original Records?)


* "Pica on Pianola" (33 rpm, Original LP-01) [Track listing: "Somebody Stole My Gal" / "(The Gang that Sang) Heart of My Heart" / "Oh How I Miss You Tonight" / "I Want a Girl" / "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby" / "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue" / "Maybe" / "Sweet Sue, Just You"]


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