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The Four Seasons

(1960-)
The Four Seasons
Frankie Valli
Bob Gaudio
Nick Massi
Tommy DeVito

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Valli took his most famous stage name after country singer Texas Jean Valley, who often referred to Frankie as her "brother."
The label of every single they released on Phillips records, except "Dawn (Go Away)," states: "featuring The Sound of Frankie Valli."
Valli's real name is Frank Castelluccio. He cut a couple of solo singles, most notably "My Mother's Eyes," as Frankie Valley in 1953-54, before forming the Varietones in 1955. By 1956, the Varietones had gone through a few name changes before settling on the Four Lovers. That year, they produced an LP, two EPs, and five singles for RCA. By 1958, the Four Lovers went their separate ways. Frankie was a solo act again, first releasing a single, "I Go Ape," under the name of Frankie Tyler. The record did not chart.
The group's first chart single (in 1956) was #68 "You're the Apple of My Eye," written by Otis Blackwell and given to them to record after they had another Blackwell song, "Don't Be Cruel," taken from them as they prepared to record it.
Producer/director Bob Crewe heard the "I Go Ape" single and met Frankie, and both men agreed upon a framework for the new act. The Four Lovers were taken out of mothballs and hired as session musicians and background singers (they even released a single of an Italian song, "Come Si Bella" by "Frankie Valle," and having a B-side credited to "Frankie Valle and the Romans"). Some of the acts that benefitted from their support on record are Bobby Darin, Danny and the Juniors, and Freddy Cannon.
In early 1959 (after releasing "Please Take a Chance" by Frankie Valley), the lead singer met Bob Gaudio, whose group The Royal Teens had hit the big time with "Short Shorts" the previous year. The Teens broke up shortly thereafter; Gaudio joined the Four Lovers as a keyboard player. The group's bassist, Al Kooper, became a star in his own right in the '60s.
In 1961, the Four Lovers were still doing session work, performing at various venues, and releasing singles on Crewe's Peri label under other names: "Too Young to Start"/"Red Lips" by the Village Voices, "I Am All Alone"/"Trance" by Billy Dixon and the Tropics, "Lost Lullabye"/"Trance" by Billy Dixon and the Tropics.
In 1961, Nick Massi (real name Nicholas Macioci) joined the group. His bass vocals and future vocal arrangements of the group were key to the success of the venture.
In mid-1961, the Four Lovers auditioned for a job at the lounge of a Union, New Jersey, bowling establishment. They did not get the job, but after four years of frustration as the Four Lovers, they took the name of the establishment that turned them down: The Four Seasons. Bob Gaudio: "We figured we'll come out of this [the audition] with SOMETHING, so we took the name of the bowling alley."
On a handshake, Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli registered the name as a trademark and formed the Four Seasons Partnership, which owns the rights to all post-1961 Four Seasons product, excluding "Bermuda"/"Spanish Lace" or "The Girl in My Dreams," both released in late 1961. One can hear the beginnings of the trademark Four Seasons sound, but still no luck chartwise.
In 1962, they signed with Vee Jay Records and had a string of hits, including "Sherry," "Walk Like A Man" and "Big Girls Don't Cry."
1963 started well for The Four Seasons as #23 "Ain't That a Shame" (a remake of the Fats Domino hit "Ain't It a Shame" but using the title popularized by Pat Boone) and #3 "Candy Girl" hit the upper reaches of the US charts. But in the meantime, a royalty dispute between the financially troubled Vee Jay and the Four Seasons grew. As the dispute headed to court, the group withheld its new recordings (most notably "Dawn") and the faltering record company emptied the vaults and made singles from the already-released "New Mexican Rose" (#36), "Stay" (#16), "That's the Only Way" (#88), and "Alone" (#28). "Stay" was their unique interpretation of the Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs' #1 hit of 1960; "Alone" is a doo-wop version of the hit by the Sheppard Sisters (a.k.a., The Sheps) in 1954.
Recycling songs was not unique to the Four Seasons - in 1964, Vee Jay repackaged the Beatles' first US LP (Meet The Beatles), threw in twelve Four Seasons songs, and produced a unique double LP, The International Battle Of The Century - The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons. Because there was nothing new on the album, it sold poorly. It has since become a sought-after collector's item.
As Vee Jay was going through its difficulties in early 1964, the Four Seasons finally found a new distributor for its records, Philips Records (part of the Mercury empire in the US). They promptly released a single that they originally recorded for Atlantic Records (and that label refused) - "Dawn (Go Away)."
In 1964, as the group was enjoying tremendous success in the US, The Beatles caught on in America, which cut into their action. After 16 US Top 40 Hits in 28 months, the incredible happened in the spring of 1965: for the first time since "Sherry," an original Four Seasons single ("Toy Soldier") failed to reach the Top 40, peaking at #64.
In contrast to The Beach Boys and other surf groups popular at the time The Four Seasons prided themselves on songs about real issues faced by working folks - mostly relationship problems. Said Valli: "Our songs were more about real people and the real world they lived in. A world which wasn't always that pretty."
In the second half of 1965, they recorded a live LP for Vee Jay to fulfill a legal obligation to the label, two studio LP's for Philips, singles as the Four Seasons, a single credited to the Wonder Who?, and two singles to be promoted as Frankie Valli solo records (although the entire group is present on each song)... and they changed bassists as Nick Massi was becoming tired of touring and left the group (he remained the Four Seasons' vocal arranger in the '60s).
Four Seasons' singles were being released at a furious pace in 1965 and 1966: #30 "Girl Come Running," #3 "Let's Hang On!," #60 "Little Boy (in Grown Up Clothes)," #12 "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" (credited to "The Wonder Who?"), the original "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" (Frankie Valli solo - didn't chart), the original "Working My Way Back to You" (#9), and #39 "(You're Gonna) Hurt Yourself" (Valli's first "solo" chart record) were all released over a mere six months. In addition to all this, the B-side of "(You're Gonna) Hurt Yourself" was an instrumental ("Sassy") credited to "The Valli Boys"!
In mid-1966, with the group recording its last "complete" LP until 1969, Smash Records released "You're Ready Now" (which didn't chart) -- unlike the prior "solo" Valli singles, this had the Four Seasons replaced by a girl group backing Valli. It was Frankie's first truly solo recording since 1959.
They had more hits in 1966 and 1967, while Valli's solo career was picking up steam with the #2 "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and #18 "I Make a Fool of Myself." Wonder Who? singles were being delivered to record stores as Vee Jay applied the fake group name to the reissued "Peanuts" and "My Sugar" to capitalize on the success of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." In addition, two more Wonder Who? singles were released by Philips: "On the Good Ship Lollipop"/"You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Loves You" ("Lollipop" struggled to make #87; "Nobody" barely made it to #96) and #67 "Lonesome Road."
The Four Seasons' decline in popularity as a recording act in 1968 mirrored that of the Beach Boys -- their songs were going out of style. Their problem was compounded by not having an LP released so they could remain in public view. They tried to update their image with the 1970 concept LP Genuine Imitation Life Gazette -- with disastrous results. It alienated the group's old fans and didn't win any new ones. After the unusual Half And Half album (half Four Seasons, half Valli solo) and Valli's solo LP Timeless (both 1970), they were dropped by both Philips and Crewe.
Even at their lowest point (1970-1975), the Four Seasons maintained their popularity as a performing band, even though guitarist Tommy DeVito retired in 1971. Bob Gaudio followed Massi's lead and stopped touring with the group, but still composed for them, now with his wife Judy Parker as his collaborator instead of Crewe. In 1971, the Four Seasons signed with MoWest Records (Motown). In the US, all their releases failed to attract attention, but the group's commercial viability in the UK grew with each Motown (called Tamla Motown in the UK) single. "The Night," a 1975 single, achieved legendary status in Europe (Top 3 in UK), but it was never released in the US. In 1975, the Four Seasons sported a five-person lineup, with Valli, drummer Gerry Polci, and bassist Don Ciccone sharing lead vocal duties. The group contributed to the Ken Russell movie All This And World War II, as well as two Beatles songs, "A Day in the Life," and "We Can Work It Out." MoWest dropped the group in 1975. Valli, Gaudio, and Crewe did not want to buy the rights to any Four Seasons songs recorded for the Motown Record Corporation, except for one. They paid $4000 to buy back "My Eyes Adored You," as Valli was convinced of its commercial potential. Valli then signed with Private Stock Records, which promptly released it and watched it go to #1.
As the resurgence of dance music brought back some old-time acts to the fore (such as the Bee Gees), the beginning of the disco era had a rejuvenating effect on the careers of Valli and the Four Seasons. Valli followed "My Eyes Adored You" with a #6 disco smash "Swearing to God" (edited from an 10-minute LP version). All this newfound success came at a time in which Valli was losing his hearing due to otosclerosis. While he was on tour, he had the songs memorized because he couldn't hear the band play. In the late 1970's a series of ear operations restored Valli's hearing. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for all above)

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Comments:

I'm gonna clear up alot of Misconception that people had of this band for a long time. They were many people that thought that the Four Seasons were a band (like the Beatles) that played on their own records and wrote their own songs. Indeed, the band composed their own material, but for the majority of the time, the Four Seasons DID NOT play on their own records. Bob Crewe used a core group of Studio musicians that provided the music for the Majority of their hit records. These musicians include Al Gorgoni, Vinnie Bell or Ralph Casale on guitar, Louis Mauro on bass, Buddy Saltzman on drums and Dave Carey or George Devens on percussion.
- Sam Williams, Sherman Oaks, CA
To David, No that is not Gerry Polci on the 92 LIVE show. It is Chuck Wilson ...

"Down the Hall"
She moved in down the hall
So I paid her a call
She flashed a smile
I stayed awhile

I've always lived alone
Just quiet nights at home
But Lord knows when
They'll come again

Do do do
Shimmering endlessly
Oh, lady
Illuminating me
Illuminating me

You dance and you spin
Queen of harlequins
You make me smile
All through the night
Whirling and twirling
You love to excite

I moved in down the hall
No crying, no crying at all
I don't intend to let it in

Now I know I've been well bred
So I must've been misled
Until I'm found
I'm safe and sound

Do do do do
Shimmering endlessly
Oh, lady
Illuminating me
Illuminating me

You dance and you spin
Queen of harlequins
You make me smile
All through the night
Over and over
(Over and over)
You love to excite

Whirling and twirling
(Whirling and twirling)
All through the night
Over and over
(And over and over)
Yeah, baby
You love to excite

Oh, oh, oh, baby
Down the hall
Do do do do...
Down the hall
Do do do do...
Down the hall
Do do do do...
- Jerry, Scranton, PA
Recycling songs was not unique to the Four Seasons -- in 1964, Vee Jay repackaged the Beatles' first US LP (Introducing The Beatles)"NOT Meet The Beatles as posted above that was a Capitol Records release", threw in twelve Four Seasons songs, and produced a unique double LP, The International Battle Of The Century -- The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons. Because there was nothing new on the album, it sold poorly. It has since become a sought-after collector's item.
- Sev, Hamilton, NJ
New Jersey jazz guitarist and teacher Vinnie Corrao was somehow affilliated with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Can anybody elaborate for me? My family and his (wife's) family were friends when I was young. Wonderful people, wonderful man.
- joey, Edison, NJ
My dad was the drummer for The Four Seasons studio recording of Sherry
- Sean, Boca Raton, FL
Gerry Polci question to Andrea -- would love to know if Gerry went to St. Nicholas School in Passaic -- I know there was a Gerry who lived in my neighborhood and went to school with me for a few years.

Thanks
Alice (Orlando now - Passaic then)
- Alice, Passaic, FL
Iworked one of the four seasons concerts in the 70s in Parkersburg, WV back stage with Frankie before he went on. I asked him about the album CHAMELEON which did not sell many albums in US. I thought there was some great songs on the album and would like if someone would post some of the songs off the album on YOU TUBE Broadcast Yourself, thanks, JACK
- JACK, FT. PIERCE, FL, FL
As far as session musicians, I'm not aware of a definite group that was used (eg. Wrecking Crew). I do know that in the early 60's they used 2 main drummers (Panama Francis, Buddy Saltzman) and mainly guitarist Vinnie Bell for special things.

During the mid 60's there were a lot of people brought in since they basically stopped playing on their recordings.

Examples: Charles Massey (?) Bass
Stan Free (Piano)
Everret Barksdale (Guitar)

I too, would love to see a list of studio musicans by recording, but I doubt it exists.
- Ray, Barrington, RI
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, one of the greatest, least appreciated rock and roll groups of all time. Their music may fade but it will never go away.
- Andrew, Linden, NJ
I love Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons it just so happens that Gerry Polci is my band teacher and music Teacher he doesent talk much about his carear with the four seasons all though i am sure he enjoyed it.
- MARC, New Providence, NJ
I know for a fact that yes Frankie Valli's drummer Gerald Polci did marry frankie's daughter Antonia (toni) Valli.. they lived upstairs from me in a condo ..with their two kids.. In approx. the year of 2000 they seperated and since are now divorced.. she still lives upstairs from me with her two children still..and we are friends.. I do still see Gerald when he picks up his kids weekly.. : )
- Andrea, Caldwell, NJ
For Katrina in Avon, Nj, you can find out what Charles Calello is up to these days by going to his website www.charlescalello.com
- Sam, Scotch Plains, NJ
my girlfriend & I went to see Jersey Boys on Broadway NYC last week loved the show; would see it again; one disappointment was the person)spencer{who played Nick Massi in the show certainly was not at all like Nick; did not even come close they should have the dance captain (Gregas} in his place he was a split image of Nick my girlfriend Barbara; went with Nick Massi in the 50's for a while; and she knew right away that Spencer was wrong for the part.....anyhow! we were wondering where Charles Calello; Nick's replacement and if Charles is either retired or in a band? and also Joey Long if he is still in a 3 pc. Blues Band in the Seaside Park NJ area in also if he still lives in the same area....he was the second replacement after Charles.....we would like to hear him play and where if possible....if any one knows?? thank you
- katrina, Avon, NJ
Has anyone got the lyrics for "Down the Hall?"
- dave, hull, England
Will someone please post on this site if they know WHO The Musicians are on the Seasons' Classic 60s Recordings- bass- Drums- Guitar-- Wrecking Crew? Spector's Boys- Who?
- Fred, Phialdelphia, PA
I grew up listening to Frankie Valli & the four Season, i loved 'My Eyes adored you, and 'Fallen Angel'I also loved, 'Our day will come'.

Also 'The Four Seasons' 'Who Loves you' and 'Silver Star ' 'Down the Hall'brings back school memories, excellent track.

I had Frankie's solo album which featured a beatiful song entilted, 'Easily' and and 'You are the song that I can't stop singing'.

I am so glad that there's this forum us fans can enjoy.

dave
- David, UK, England
Whats happened to Gerry Polci the drummer, I undersatnd that he married Frankie valli'e daughter , I loved his voice. A quick question, was he on the DVD of the live four seasons gig in 92'?
Dave
- David, UK, England
I like the Four Seasons! It's A Great record!
'Four Seasons- Greatest Hits' in 1981 with Warner Bros Label on LP/MC.

THE 4 SEASONS ARE:

Frankie Valli
Bob Gaudio
Tommy DeVito
Nick Massi
Charles Calello.

THE GREATEST HITS OF THE FABULOUS 4 SEASONS (1981) (Warner Brothers). LP/MC

SIDE ONE:

1. Sherry
2. Big Girls Don't Cry
3. Walk Like A Man
4. Ain't That A Shame
5. Candy Girl
6. Dawn
7. Stay
8. Rag Doll
9. Save It For Me
10. Silence IS Golden
11. Bye, Bye Baby (Baby, Goodbye)
12. Toy Soldier
13. Girl Come Running
14. Alone
15. Big Man In Town
16. Patch Of Blue
17. Watch The Flowers Grow

SIDE TWO:

18. Ronnie
19. Marlena
20. Let's Hang On
21. Don't Think Twice (It's All Right)
22. Working My Way Back To You
23. Opus 17 (Don't Worry 'Bout Me)
24. I've Got You Under My Skin
25. C'mon Marianne
26. Tell It To The Rain
27. Will You Love Tomorrow

THAT'S 'FOUR SEASONS- GREATEST HITS (1981) (WARNER BROS) [IMPORT] VINYL.

Swindon People.

NOT RELATED TO TV CHARACTERS, HA HA HA HA HA!
- Swindon People, Harlech, England
I like Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons, there are good. Someone has got an LP called 'Greatest Hits' but i know which ones i'm afraid but, is it K-Tel or MCA or Warners.

My Dad recorded The 7 Four Seasons tracks in the right order like, 1. Sherry 2. Big Girls Don't Cry 3. Walk Like A Man 4. Rag Doll 5. Let's Hang On 6. Working My Way Back To You 7. I've Got You Under My Skin and other mixtures on the old audio cassette tape when my Dad was about 26 in 1981. My Dad borrowed brother's or someone's LP called 'Greatest Hits', i'm sure it's K-Tel or MCA or Warners or not, if i don't matter.

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons appears courtesy of Warner Bros Records.
- Leigh Kent, United Kingdom, AL
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