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Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

Although they were one of the very biggest rock & roll groups of the 1960s, the Four Seasons -- unlike, say, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, or the Byrds -- don't excite virtually automatic respect from listeners and critics. A big factor is their most distinguishing trademark, the high falsetto vocals of their lead singer, Frankie Valli. Many also found their material -- romantic tunes with tightly arranged group harmonies that updated doo wop ethos into the '60s -- a little too clean-cut.

Whatever your feelings about the group, though, there's no denying their considerable importance. No other white American group of the time save the Beach Boys boasted such intricate harmonies, though the Four Seasons were much more firmly in the Italian-American doo wop tradition. Their uptown production values were contemporary and, in certain respects, innovative. The R&B influence in their music was large, and some of their early singles enjoyed success with the R&B audience; in fact, some listeners thought that the Four Seasons were black when the group landed their first hits. And they were immensely successful, making the Top Ten thirteen times between 1962 and 1967 with hits like "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Dawn," "Rag Doll," and "Let's Hang On."

The Four Seasons had been around for a long time before they got their first hit in 1962. Frankie Valli had made his first record way back in 1953, and in 1956 made a little noise with the Four Lovers' "Apple of My Eye." The Newark, New Jersey group also included future Four Season Tommy DeVito on guitar and Nick Massi on bass, and in subsequent years Valli would record flops for RCA, Decca, Cindy, and Gone, sometimes as a soloist, sometimes with groups. In the early '60s, the group, now known as the Four Seasons, were doing backup vocals for other artists.

Philadelphia producer Bob Crewe started working with the Seasons in 1962, and his contributions would be inestimable in the following years. Not only did he produce all of their big '60s hits, but he would write much of their material in collaboration with group member Bob Gaudio. It was Valli's near-soprano, though, that dominated their number one hit "Sherry," as it would on the rest of their hits. "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man," and "Candy Girl" all followed within the next year -- big smashes all, the first two (like "Sherry") featuring stomping, almost martial handclaps. "Candy Girl" offered evidence of versatility, with its samba-like rhythms and glissando flourishes.

The British Invasion did little to diminish the Seasons' fortunes, at least initially. In 1964, they moved from Vee-Jay (which also, for a brief time, had rights to the Beatles) to Philips. Their production became more sophisticated and dramatic while remaining unabashedly pop, and in 1964 they had several of their biggest hits: "Dawn," "Ronnie," "Rag Doll," "Save It for Me," and "Big Man in Town" (as well as a gem-like B-side, "Silence Is Golden," which would be a hit in 1967 for the Tremeloes). The Four Seasons' influence, oddly, was also felt on a couple of tracks by the biggest British Invasion bands: the Beatles' "Tell Me Why" and the Rolling Stones' "The Singer Not the Song" both launched into ear-straining falsettos at points, whether as a satire, tribute, or both.

The winning streak basically continued through 1967, although they would never again be as huge. "Let's Hang On," "Working My Way Back to You," "Opus 17," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Beggin'," and "Marianne" were all big hits from the time, though, working in some mild soul influences. They also, just for kicks, released a couple of silly singles under a pseudonym, the Wonder Who?, that even pre-teens quickly identified as the Seasons under disguise. The Wonder Who?'s 1965 Top 20 hit, "Don't Think Twice," easily qualifies as the most incongruous Dylan cover ever to hit the Top 40.

Guitar-oriented, more socially conscious rock and soul had been making inroads into the Four Seasons' audience for a while, but the times really caught up with them by the end of 1967. The group would only make the Top 40 one more time before their mid-'70s comeback. In the late '60s, Valli, while maintaining his position in the Seasons, had kicked off a solo career that went straight for the heart of showbizzy pop on his biggest single, the number two hit "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." The Four Seasons did attempt to address social concerns of the day on the late-'60s album Genuine Imitation Life Gazette, but it was not generally well received.

The Four Seasons struggled on into the '70s; by the time they signed with a Motown subsidiary in 1971, Valli and Gaudio were the only original members left. They briefly returned to the top of the charts in the mid-'70s with "Who Loves You" and the nostalgic "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"; at the same time, Valli had a resurgence as a soloist, reaching number one with "My Eyes Adored You" and making the Top Ten with "Swearin' to God." It couldn't last, any more than the group could turn back the clock to December 1963, that last moment when they reigned as the most successful white rock group in the world, unaware of the oncoming invasion by the Beatles. Still, Valli's full-time solo career was given an enormous boost when he was chosen to sing the newly written Barry Gibb title song for the movie version of the Broadway musical Grease; the single rose to number one in August 1978.

Sporadic Four Seasons reunion tours followed in the '80s and '90s, some with Valli and some without. The group also recorded, releasing Streetfighter in 1985 and Hope + Glory in 1992, both of which contemporized the group's sounds.

During the 2000s, Valli and Gaudio were involved in developing the Four Seasons story into a Broadway musical, a stage biography based on the lives and careers of Valli, Tommy DeVito, Massi, and Gaudio. Jersey Boys became the hit of the 2005-2006 season, winning the Tony Award for best musical. The show, and its inevitable film version, released in 2014, helped revitalize the group's career. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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ddrisc1136
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured ( but you won't die) in two days. Now that you started this so don't stop. Post this on at least five songs in the next 143 minutes. When your done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
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fan since Sherry i think you guys gave the beatles a run for the money
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Frankie I have tried to send a note to You & the Seasons to let yous know the 4 Seasons have been a big part of the Julian fam.. I awoke from coma on Christmas EVE WHOLE MY Dad was playing Little Angel !! we named our First Grandchild MARLENE MY 2 Sons had a double wedding to. my eyes adored you !! God Bless All & T.Y.All !! u r fan. since SHERRY !!! JULESTHEAVE@ G M A I L . C O M
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Best 60s band ever
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mkiss1963
Love their music especially when you're having a bad day makes tears and rain into sunshine
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I love their story proving simpler times were not simple.
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I've never really heard of them
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Heard Frankie Valli and the four Seasons, seen their play, seen their movie and seen the Broadway play! I don't get tired listening to their songs!��
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wallen432
Always will be one of my all time greats. I never tire of listening to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
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Geht mir immer besser wenn ich diese Lieder höre !!
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Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons..... . j u s t love their music. Great harmony, great for dancing, worth listening to! Lyron Lee
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I love the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The harmony, the great dance rhythmns, and the the wonderful memories the songs bring back to me.......... . . . . w i s h more music like theirs would be available today.
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Rich Faix, You got it right Pal, since RAP isn't even music, of course you can't dance to it. H.S. class of 65 , so you know where my heart lies. Jim Masterson
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Love the music O:-) O:-)
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todays rap music is extremely hard to dance to, when they do its forced dancing, there is no flow to it.
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runaway sue, by dion and the belmonts, one of the best dance music ever produced.
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there was a lot of good decades,1950 s thru about 1993, that when rap music ( ha) came on the scene, and destroyed music, with only a few exceptions.
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frankie vali and the 4 seasons, were one of the very best, they could sing.
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rcoffin2000
Now that I'm 60 years old myself, I find that I listen more and more to the 60's music. I loved the music back then and still do today.
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Dope ��
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GREAT VOICES,AND MUSIC!!!
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The 60's was the best time to experience America. I am blessed to have live during those times. Hilario
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I love dis song
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Greatest group of all time!!
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Yaaaaaaaaaaa a a a a a a a a a A a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a s s s s s s s s s s z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z .
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capetilloa2
Best song ever!!!!
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cmayfield001
I put a thumbs down but I love the song
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rgspops
Play it again we need more of the Four Seasons. Pops
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This is a beautiful song
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured ( but you won't die) in two days. Now that you started this so don't stop. Post this on at least five songs in the next 143 minutes. When your done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
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In the early 60's, the 4 Seasons recorded their songs in,a studio on 57th. st. & 7th. Ave.
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everybody's already said it Fantastic stuff ! great songs, great vocals great producing ? thanks boys
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Just watched Jersey Boys again. A reminder that everybody pays a price.
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FAN TAZ TIC GROUP
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flowergirl19 9 9 9 1
Big girls don't cry...my motto in life always. :) Thanks, boys.
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Casylosergra m d m a says you can make a n old people feel free
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Love their song "Sherry" and "Can't take my eyes off of you" :D <3
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I have older sisters who listened to Franki and the music of the times:mid-la t e 60's. I was 8-10, The songs, especially: your to good to be true have been one of my favorite songs ever. My wife and I just watched; Jersey Boys on DVD and I thought it was one fantastic movie. The songs always made me think of summer.

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I was born in 73'. Of course I didnt grow up to this era of music. But my mom did. & I remember watchin Sat morn cartoons then SHA-NAH-NAH
I loved the L8 50's and early 60's outfits,the greaser look,leather jackets and harmonies. It was the only time I rembr my mother being xcited over aT.V. show. She would do her swing dance moves. Mid 70's would be the last of this era.....so,s o sad......
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They were the best. Loved 'em and still do. Watch the film with fond memories of times when dancing was more than "jumping"
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FRANKIE VALLI. ...WALK LIKE A MAN. ....FOLLOW L.A (213) L.A.........
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That was and is the great band I have like all these years since I was the was 18 years old now I'm hitting 60 the best music .
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billyg207
I remember distinctly the first time I heard "Come Go With Me" I was 10 years old.
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I love GRANKIE VALLI &The 4 Season. N there music of my Era when I use 2 go partyin. House partyin or clubs wow what.a ball I had never 4 get those times.. Love it..
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Loved those days when I was young
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I love the four seasons
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It's a great. Movie
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Wish I grew up in Frankie's days :( But Love the Jersey Boys movie,it's Great
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Feel in Love with Jersey Boys movie,Great, G r e a t Movie,This is my fav song
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She's a Raggggg Dolllll :)
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