Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 17: Bob Gaudio of The Four Seasons and "Who Wears Short Shorts" fame is 71-years-old today.

Born in the Bronx, New York, Bob was raised in Bergenfield, New Jersey. His first shot at musical fame came a at the age of 15 as a member of the Royal Teens when he co-wrote the hit "(Who Wears) Short Shorts."


In 1958, while he and the group were promoting the record, they met Frankie Valli and his group The Four Lovers as they prepared to perform on a local television program. Shortly afterwards, he left the Royal Teens and the group dissolved shortly afterwards. Incidentally, another member of the Royal Teens became a notable star on his own afterwards: Al Kooper.

One year later, Gaudio joined The Four Lovers. The group did mostly  session work and a string of performances at night clubs and lounges.

In 1960, after a failed audition at a Union Township, Union County, New Jersey, bowling establishment, songwriter/keyboardist Gaudio shook hands with lead singer Valli and formed the Four Seasons Partnership, and Gaudio, Valli, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi became the Four Seasons.

Gaudio wrote the Seasons' first #1 hit, "Sherry," within 15 minutes before a group rehearsal in 1962. With producer Bob Crewe often assisting with lyrics, Gaudio wrote a string of subsequent hits for the Seasons, including "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man," "Dawn (Go Away)," "Ronnie," "Rag Doll," "Save It for Me," "Big Man in Town," "Bye Bye Baby," "Girl Come Running," "Beggin'," and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" -- the first big success under Valli's name as a "solo artist". Gaudio and Bob Crewe compositions also became major hits for other artists, including The Tremeloes ("Silence Is Golden," originally the B-side of The Four Seasons' "Rag Doll") and The Walker Brothers ("The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore," originally recorded by The Four Seasons as a Valli "solo" single).

The story behind the origin of "Rag Doll" the song has been told many times. Gaudio was on the way to a recording session and his car was stopped at an extremely long traffic light in Hell's Kitchen. Often, kids would wash the car windows during the long waits and ask for some change. In Gaudio's case, a scruffy little girl washed his window. When Gaudio went to give her change, all he had was a $10 bill. After a moment's hesitation, he gave her the bill. The astonished look on her face stayed with him and inspired the subsequent song.

(Continued below CDs...)

HIGHLY Recommended (Links to Amazon):

Very Best of Frankie Valli and the Four SeasonsIn Season: The Frankie Valli & 4 Seasons AnthologyGreatest Hits 1Greatest Hits 2 Short Shorts
(... continued)

In 1990, Gaudio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Four Seasons. Bob is still active writing and producing songs and musicals. The show Jersey Boys became a big hit in 2005, winning the Tony Award for best musical. Gaudio produced the cast album, which won him his first Grammy Award.


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