The 10 greatest Frankie Valli and Four Seasons songs, ranked
23 September 2020, 12:47
Frankie Valli was the leader of one of the 1960s' greatest groups: The Four Seasons.
The falsetto king then went on to secure a highly successful solo career, with songs that live on in the memory decades later, largely thanks to the hugely successful Jersey Boys musical.
With the sad news that founding member Tommy DeVito has passed away, let's look back at the best of the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons:
Let's Hang On!
This 1965 hit was the last to feature bass singer and bassist Nick Massi.
The same month 'Let's Hang On!' was released, Massi left the group and was temporarily replaced by the band's arranger Charles Calello, before Joe Long came in.
According to writer Bob Gaudio, this song took about 15 minutes to write and was originally titled 'Jackie Baby', referring to then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy).
The name was then changed to 'Terri Baby', and eventually to 'Sherry', the name of the daughter of Gaudio's best friend, New York DJ Jack Spector.
Can't Take My Eyes off You
You make know the Andy Williams version better, but Frankie recorded this love song first.
The classic tune was co-written by Bob Gaudio, a bandmate of Valli's in The Four Seasons.
According to songwriter Bob Gaudio, this was inspired by a homeless person cleaning windshields. At a traffic light in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, children would run into the street and clean windshields for spare change, including one young girl with a dirty face and wearing ragged clothes.
When Gaudio reached into his wallet to pay her, he found that none of the notes were less than $10, and so he gave the girl the note.
"The image of her stuck in my head until I wrote 'Rag Doll'", Gaudio said in 2009.
My Eyes Adored You
This 1974 song was originally recorded by The Four Seasons. However, after the Motown label balked at the idea of releasing it, the recording was sold to lead singer Valli for $4000.
It became Valli's biggest solo hit, and went to number one in the US.
Bob Gaudio and Peggy Farina wrote this soul anthem, and it was a hit for The Four Seasons in 1967.
40 years later, Norwegian group Madcon released a contemporary cover version, and it was a huge hit around the world.
Walk Like a Man
Another Jersey Boys classic, this song is technically one of the most dangerous ever made.
During the recording sessions, the fire department received an emergency call from the building.
As producer Bob Crewe was insisting upon recording the perfect take, smoke and water started to seep into the studio. The room directly above the studio was on fire, but Crewe had blocked the studio door. He continued recording until firemen had to use their axes on the door and pull him out.
Big Girls Don't Cry
One of the Four Seasons' classic tunes, writer Bob Gaudio once said was dozing off while watching the Ronald Reagan movie Tennessee's Partner when he heard a male character slap a woman in the face.
After the slap, he replied, "Big girls don't cry." Gaudio wrote the line on a scrap of paper, fell asleep, and wrote the song the next morning.
However, the famous line was actually in the movie Slightly Scarlet, in case you wanted to know.
The title song for the movie adaptation of Grease, it was written for the movie by Bee Gees star Barry Gibb, and recorded by fellow falsetto singer Frankie, though he didn’t use his upper range this time around.
Peter Frampton plays guitar on the song, which was almost not included in the film as director Randal Kleiser didn’t want to use a contemporary track in a movie set in the 1950s.
December '63 (Oh What a Night)
This saw the Four Seasons make a disco comeback in 1975. Though, it's not actually Frankie Valli on lead vocals! Frankie provided backing vocals while Gerry Polci took the lead.
According to the co-writer Bob Gaudio, the song lyrics were originally set in 1933 with the title 'December 5th, 1933', and celebrated the repeal of Prohibition, but the lyrics were changed by Frankie Valli and lyricist Judy Parker to reposition the song as a nostalgic look back at a young man's first affair with a woman.