Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3: Frankie Valli of the Four Season is 79-years-old today.

Born Francis Stephen Castelluccio, in Newark, New Jersey, Frankie Valli is known for his unusually powerful falsetto singing voice. Valli, along with Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi, and Bob Gaudio - the original members of The Four Seasons -were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.

Valli scored 29 Top 40 hits with The 4 Seasons, one Top 40 hit under The 4 Seasons' alias 'The Wonder Who?', and nine Top 40 hits as a solo artist. As a member of The 4 Seasons, Valli's number one hits included "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man," "Rag Doll" and "December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)."

As a solo artist, Valli scored number one hits with the songs "My Eyes Adored You" and "Grease." Valli's recording of the song "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" reached number two in 1967. "You're Ready Now," a Valli solo recording from 1966, became a surprise hit in Great Britain as part of the Northern soul scene and hit number eleven on the British pop charts in December 1970.

Frankie Valli was inspired to take up a singing career at the age of seven after his mother took him to see Frank Sinatra at the Paramount Theater in New York City. He took his stage name - eventually settling on a different spelling from "Texas" Jean Valley. He worked as a barber until he could make a living as a singer.

Valli began his professional singing career in 1951 with the Variety Trio (Nickie DeVito, Tommy DeVito and Nick Macioci). After hearing Valli sing, the group offered him a guest spot when the group performed. In late 1952, the Variety Trio disbanded and Valli, along with Tommy DeVito, became part of the house band at The Strand in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Valli playing bass and singing.

He cut his first single, "My Mother's Eyes," in 1953 as "Frankie Valley." Around this time, Valli and Tommy DeVito left the house band at The Strand and formed The Variatones with Hank Majewski, Frank Cattone and Billy Thompson. In 1956, as part of an audition backing a female singer, the group impressed New York record man Peter Paul, who had them auditioning at RCA Victor a week later.

Renamed The Four Lovers, the group recorded several singles and one album's worth of tracks. They had a minor hit with "You're the Apple of My Eye" in 1956.
Nickie DeVito and Hank Majewski left in 1958 to be replaced by Nick Macioci (now Nick Massi) and Hugh Garrity. Massi was in and out of the group, and, occasionally Charles Calello joined on accordion. The group continued to perform until 1959, when Bob Gaudio became a member. After a few more changes, the group was renamed "The 4 Seasons" in 1960.

As the lead singer of The Four Seasons, he had a string of hits beginning with the number one hit "Sherry" in 1962. During the 1960s, Gaudio and his then songwriting partner, producer Bob Crewe worked with Valli to craft solo recordings with varying degrees of success.

Valli was the first to record the Gaudio-Crewe composition "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)," a performance that was copied nearly note for note when recorded by The Walker Brothers, an American group based in England. The Walker Brothers version was a huge success. Valli continued to record solo performances and finally reached major success with the release of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." Though it only reached number two in the charts, the song itself was widely recorded by many other artists.

Valli's debut solo album was a gathering together of various single releases and a few new recordings. Prior to the release of Valli's second solo album, a single was released in July 1967 with the A-side "I Make A Fool Of Myself," a record that reached number 18. 'Timeless,' Valli's second solo album release was more coherent and Valli took more time in recording it. 'Timeless' contains one Top 40 hit, "To Give (The Reason I Live)."

Valli ended the 1960s with a string of recordings that were included in the Valli/4 Seasons album 'Half & Half' or released as various singles. The only hit to emerge at this time was the recording of "The Girl I'll Never Know (Angels Never Fly This Low)," reaching number 52.

In 1975, Valli's single "My Eyes Adored You" hit number 1 on Billboard's Hot 100. In the same year, he also had a number 6 Billboard hit with the disco-laden "Swearin' To God."
In 1976, Valli covered the Beatles song "A Day in the Life" for the ephemeral musical documentary All This and World War II.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

(Press album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):

Very Best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons


In 1978, Valli sang the theme song for the film version of the stage play, Grease, a song written by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, which became a number 1 hit. He had two further chart successes the following year, "Save Me, Save Me" in November 1978, which entered the Billboard Easy Listening chart, and "Fancy Dancer" in January 1979, which entered the pop charts.

Valli suffered from otosclerosis in the 1970s, forcing him to "sing from memory" in the latter part of the decade. Surgery restored most of his hearing by 1980.

In 1992, a new Four Seasons album was released entitled Hope and Glory. In October of 2007, Valli released Romancing the 60s, an album containing covers of his favorite songs from the 1960s, two of which he had previously recorded. Those songs were "Sunny" and "Any Day Now." In October 2010, a duet version of "The Biggest Part of Me" by Frankie Valli and Juice Newton was released on Newton's album Duets: Friends & Memories.


For more about Frankie, visit his Website at -


1 comment:

  1. I went and saw Jersey Boys and now I can't get enough of this great music! I would love to see them one day. Hopefully they will come to Chicago soon.