Sherry By The Four Seasons

August 14, 2014

 

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.

 “Sherry” first entered the Billboard chart August 25, 1962, and three weeks later it was number one where it remained for the next five weeks.

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.


Big Girls Don’t Cry 45 by The Four Seasons

October 14, 2011

The Four Seasons hit the big time with their hit single, “Sherry,” which topped the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Single Chart for five weeks. So what do you do for an encore? The answer is easy. You issue “Big Girls Don’t Cry” October 20, 1962, and have it top the singles chart for another five weeks.

Frankie Valli and the boys had found a formula that would serve them well for decades. Write a catchy up-tempo melody, layer in some harmonies, and have Valli’s falsetto float above the mix.

While the supporting cast has changed down through the years, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons are still on the road and possibly comming to a town near you.


Sherry 45 by The Four Seasons

June 2, 2011

The Four Lovers struggled during the mid to late 1950’s, but did manage to produce a minor hit during 1956 with “You’re The Apple Of My Eye” for the RCA label.

During early 1962, they signed with the Vee Jay Label and changed their name to The Four Seasons. It was their first step on the road to their induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during 1990.

Their first single release for Vee Jay was “Sherry.” It was an up-tempo piece of pop that featured Frankie Valli’s falsetto voice rising above the mix. It would top the American singles chart for five weeks and was the first of their five number one hits.

The Four Seasons would go on to place 48 songs on the American charts. Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons are still on the road today.


The Definitive Pop Collection by The Four Seasons

May 31, 2011

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.