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Frankie Valli, The Four Seasons

One of the most enduringly popular hit bands of the 1960s, The Four Seasons - and particularly the arresting falsetto vocals of Frankie Valli - scored 29 Top 40 hits and were the biggest band of the pre-Beatles era. Yet they adapted their style to retain their appeal in subsequent decades until their story was immortalised in the hit show Jersey Boys. The son of a hairdresser from an Italian family in New Jersey, Frankie Valli was initially inspired to sing after seeing Frank Sinatra at the age of seven and was mentored by the female hillbilly singer Texas Jean Valli, from whom he borrowed his surname. He began his professional singing career in 1951 with The Variety Trio and, after singing with the house band at the Strand in New Brunswick, recorded his first solo single My Mother's Eyes in 1953 as Frankie Valley. He performed with various line-ups until forming the Four Seasons in 1960 with Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi. They had their first Number 1 hit in 1962 with Sherry, written by Gaudio and produced by Bob Crewe. Other million-selling hits swiftly followed, including Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like A Man, Candy Girl, Ain't That A Shame and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. The only American group who matched them for sales between 1962 and 1964 were The Beach Boys. As the popularity of their buoyant brand of teen pop faded in the late 1960s, they recorded under different names, including The Wonder Who and The Valli Boys, and Valli subsequently launched a solo career. He was replaced as lead singer by Don Ciccone and Gerry Polci and they returned to the charts in 1975 with Who Loves You, triggering a hit album of the same name. It was Polci who sang lead on another Number 1 1975 hit December 1963 (Oh What A Night). In 1984 they collaborated with The Beach Boys on East Meets West and Valli was back in the fold in 1991 for Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Live. The line-up subsequently fluctuated with Valli as its constant centre-piece and, gaining renewed popularity with remixes and samples in a new era, their rags to riches story was transported on to the Broadway stage in Jersey Boys in 2005.

©Copyright Music Story 2023


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