Life was good for The Four Lovers during 1956. They had changed their name from The Variatones and reached the Billboard Magazine Pop Singles chart with the song, “You’re the Apple of My Eye.” This led to an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Little did they realize that one more name change would be the start of their journey toward The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and recognition as one of the best vocal groups in American music history.
There were personnel changes but by 1961 Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi, and Tommy DeVito had coalesced into The Four Seasons. A year later they signed with the Vee-Jay label and were poised to produce three number one singles within the next seven months, which would spend a combined 13 weeks on top of the singles charts.
Gaudio had spent some time in the group The Royal Teens for whom he co-wrote their hit, “Short Shorts.” While doodling at the piano one day he came up with a melody with simple lyrics, which he titled “Terri Baby.” Sherry Spector was the daughter of New York disc jockey Jack Spector, who was a close friend of his. He decided to name the song after her and so one of the big hits of the 1960s was ready to go.
The Four Seasons produced just about the perfect pop song. There was a short introduction and then Frankie Valli’s falsetto kicked in and was supported by the soaring harmonies of the other group members. It was 2:32 of up-tempo pop bliss. It may have been a simple song from the pre-Beatles era but it has held up well for half a century.
“Sherry” found The Four Seasons at the beginning of their commercial success. Four more number one hits and 47 chart singles would follow. Fifty-two years ago, The Four Seasons ruled the American music world for the first time.