Staying Alive Bee Gees
As we celebrate the arrival of The Jersey Boys the film, we take a look at five songs from Frankie Valli's extensive back catalogue.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons enjoyed the bulk of their success in the 1960's, but they made a comeback in the 70's and scored one of their biggest ever hits with 'December '63 (Oh What A Night)'. It hit number 1 in the UK singles charts 40 years ago this week. Below we round up five of Frankie's best.
'Sherry' was written by Bob Gaudio. He says it took about 15 minutes to write and was originally titled 'Jackie Baby' after JFK's wife (and the then First Lady) Jackie Onassis. The song was finally named 'Sherry' after the daughter of Gaudio's best friend, New York DJ Jack Spector.
It was the band's first nationally-released single and their first number one hit, reaching the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on September 15, 1962 and stayed at number one for 5 weeks. The song also appears on the soundtrack of movie The Help (2011).
'Big Girls Don't Cry' was written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio and performed by The Four Seasons. It also hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and, like 'Sherry', it spent five weeks at the top. According to Bob Crewe, he was dozing off in his Manhattan home with the television on when he awoke to see John Payne manhandling Rhonda Fleming in a 1956 film noir Slightly Scarlet. Rhona Fleming utters the line in the film and he used it as his inspiration for the song.
With this hit, the Four Seasons became the first rock-era act to hit the top spot on the Hot 100 with their first two chart entries. The song was on the soundtrack to the original Dirty Dancing in 1987.
'Walk Like a Man' was the Four Seasons third number one hit, remaining at the top spot for three weeks.
During the recording of the song, the fire brigade received an emergency call from the Abbey Victoria Hotel, which housed the Recording Studios. Producer Bob Crewe insisted on recording the perfect take even as smoke and water started to seep into the studio. The room directly above the studio was on fire, yet Crewe blocked the studio door and continued recording until firemen used their axes and pulled him out.
The song is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's '500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll' and appeared on the soundtracks of Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Sleepers (1996) and TV shows Chicago Hope, The Sopranos and Modern Family.
This beautiful1967 tune was a Frankie Valli solo hit and subsequent cultural phenomenon. The song has had an incredible selection of plays in TV shows and films and over 200 cover versions over the years.
The original version was even used by NASA as a wake-up song for a Space Shuttle mission.
Some of the better know film appearances for the song include The Deer Hunter (1978), Bridget Jones Diary (2001) and 10 Things I Hate About You (for which Heath Ledger won an MTV award for best Musical Performance in a film in 2001)
The song was originally about the end of prohibition in the States with a title of "December 5th, 1933.” The lyrics were changed from a suggestion by Frankie Valli and lyricist Parker to be instead a nostalgic memory of a young man's first love affair.
The tune shot straight to the number 1 position in the US charts and stayed there for three weeks. It also hit number 1 UK in 1975. A remixed version spent 27 weeks in the US chart in 1994 meaning the record spent a record-breaking 54 total weeks in US charts.
Watch the trailer for The Jersey Boys movie: