The Four Seasons trace their history back to the mid-‘50s with The Four Lovers, who had a minor hit in 1956 with “You’re The Apple Of My Eye.” By 1960, they had changed their name and the four members, who would be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi, were in place. They would place 48 songs on The United States singles charts, with 31 making the top forty and five becoming number one hits. There greatest success occurred during the 1960’s when they were a constant presence on AM radio in the United States.
Their songs may have been lightweight pop, but they were memorable lightweight pop. Their trademark was catchy music and tight harmonies with Frankie Valli’s falsetto vocals floating over the top. Songs such as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Dawn (Go Away),” “Rag Doll,” “Let’s Hang On,” “Working My Way Back To You,” and dozens of others have ingrained themselves into the American musical consciousness.
The Four Seasons catalogue has been reissued as vinyl records, cassettes, CD’s, DVD’s, and probably 8-tracks as well. Any of the well-produced compilation CDs that use the original masters are worth a listen. A word of warning, however: stay away from their studio albums, as they were a singles band and their regular issue albums were basically filler centered around their hit singles of the day.
The Definitive Pop Collection: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, issued in 2006 by Rhino/Wea, has a good sound and covers the basics. All of their top hits are present on this two-disc compilation. It even delves a little deeper and presents some of their lesser known hits such as “Opus 17,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Tell It To The Rain,” and C’mon Marianne,” which are welcome additions. I could have done without Frankie Valli’s solo hits such as “My Eyes Adored You” and Swearing To God,” but his number one hit “Grease” is a nice addition.
Songs by The Four Seasons are two to three minutes of pop musical bliss. They remain an essential part of the American ’60s music scene and still a fine listen over four decades later.