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Music / Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

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Clockwise from top left: Nick Massi, Bob Gaudio, Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito.

The classic New Jersey Italian-American rock band with countertenor Frankie Valli in the lead. His soaring falsetto helped provide the group's trademark sound, though latter hits do not feature the falsetto. Odds are you've heard one of their songs on an oldies station, as they play in constant rotation. Some of their biggest hits (most of which were written by the songwriting collaboration of Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe) include "Walk Like a Man", "Sherry", and "Big Girls Don't Cry". They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

There is a movie of the same name, but it has nothing to do with this group. Nor does the Antonio Vivaldi work. The stage show and movie that does profile this group is Jersey Boys.


"Trope Like A Man":

  • Alpha Bitch: "Walk Like A Man" seems to be about a boy who is troubled by one.
  • Concept Album: 1968's Genuine Imitation Life Gazette. Inspired by The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and co-written by folk artist Jake Holmes, it was essentially their equivalent to The Beach Boys' Smile, except it was finished and released (then mostly ignored).
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: Covered the Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", though the original was not gender-specific as it was.
  • Crossover: A duet between the Four Seasons and The Beach Boys would have been a surefire hit, right? Sadly, "East Meets West" was released in the early '80s, at a time when both groups were considerably less relevant.
  • The '50s: Actually, the early and mid-60s outside of "Apple of My Eye" (1956), but the group's signature sound was a style more associated with the 1960s than anything. In fact, some don't even realize that the later '70s hits are The Four Seasons.
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  • Jukebox Musical: Jersey Boys is their story.
  • One Head Taller: Frankie Valli (5'5") and Bob Gaudio (6'2")
  • One-Woman Song: "Sherry", "Marlena", "Dawn", "Ronnie", and that's just the hit songs that have single word titles.
  • Same Face, Different Name: They released records under a variety of names: The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The 4 Seasons Featuring the "sound" of Frankie Valli (yes, that was the actual artist credit), and the Valli Boys. They also did a few novelty songs as The Wonder Who?, complete with "guess who they are" promotional gimmick. And then there's the issue of Frankie Valli's solo recordings, which were Four Seasons records in everything but name (they used the same studio and band personnel, and apart from not featuring Frankie's falsetto nor the other three Seasons, were not radically different in style from the songs released under the Four Seasons banner).
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Went from being simply The Four Seasons to being Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. However, it's justified given that as time went on and original members departed the group, the group increasingly became Frankie Valli, writer/vocalist Bob Gaudio, and a crew of studio musicians. And Valli was always the group's drawing card anyway.
    • Originally they were The Four Lovers whose lone hit was "Apple of My Eye" in 1956. It'd be six more years before Frankie Valli would gain another hit. And oddly enough, before The Four Lovers, he did traditional pop, such as "My Mother's Eyes" in 1953.
  • Stage Name: A couple members of the group donned pseudonyms, most notably Frankie Valli himself, born Francesco Castelluccio. Bassist Nick Massi's birth name was Nicholas Macioci while his eventual replacement Joe Long was born Joseph LaBracio.
  • Stepford Suburbia: A recurring theme of Genuine Imitation Life Gazette.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: "Saturday's Father".
  • Vocal Tag Team: When Gaudio reformed the group in the mid-70s, Gerry Polci and Don Ciccone were brought in to share lead vocals with Valli. Many of their bigger hits from this period gave Frankie a more limited role. "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" featured Polci singing the verses and the chorus (Valli sang only the song's bridge), while "Silver Star" was almost a Polci solo performance (Valli provided some harmony vocals toward the end of the song, but that was it). Don Ciccone didn't sing lead on any singles, but he did sing several album tracks, including "Mystic Mr. Sam" and "Rhapsody". And even when Valli had a more prominent role, it sometimes had a different dynamic from the group's 1960s sound—on "Who Loves You", he sang only the lead, with all of the falsetto provided by other members. What makes this development especially interesting is that the main impetus for reforming the Seasons in the first place had been the sudden revitalization of Valli's solo career.
    • Their cover of "We Can Work It Out" features Polci, Ciccone, and Valli alternating lead vocals.

Alternative Title(s): The Four Seasons


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