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Welcome to House B on our tour down Memory Lane! Let’s stop in and visit four dudes who have been making great music together since 1961. The Four Seasons (fronted by Frankie Valli) inaugurated their career with their first #1 hit single “Sherry.”

This American rock and pop band became internationally successful in the 1960s and 1970s. Since 1970, they have also been known at times as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. In 1960, the band known as the Four Lovers evolved into the Four Seasons, with Frankie Valli as the lead singer, Bob Gaudio (formerly of the Royal Teens) on keyboards and tenor vocals, Tommy DeVito on lead guitar and baritone vocals, and Nick Massi on electric bass and bass vocals.

The legal name of the organization is the Four Seasons Partnership, formed by Gaudio and Valli taken after a failed audition in 1960. While singers, producers, and musicians have come and gone, Gaudio and Valli remain the band’s constant (with each owning fifty percent of the act and its assets, including virtually all of its recording catalog). Gaudio no longer plays live, leaving Valli the only member of the band from its inception who is touring as of 2017.

The Four Seasons were one of only two American bands (the other being the Beach Boys) to enjoy major chart success before, during, and after the British Invasion. The band’s original line-up was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and joined the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. They are one of the best-selling musical groups of all time, having sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide.

I must mention here that unlike my experience with most other groups of the 60’s, I have loved Frankie Valli’s solo music as much or more than the Four Seasons’ original stuff. Probably because he has done so many of the old standards I grew up hearing.

The Four Seasons’ second hit is one of my favorites, “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” It was popular the year my family moved to Utah from Ohio, and I’m here to tell ya big girls DO cry when they’re moved away from their family and friends! (Ok, so I was 12. I still FELT like a big girl!)

“Big Girls Don’t Cry” was written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio and was originally recorded by The Four Seasons. It hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 17, 1962, and, like its predecessor “Sherry,” spent five weeks in the top position. The song also made it to number one, for three weeks, on Billboard’s Rhythm and Blues survey.

According to Gaudio, he was dozing off while watching the John Payne/Rhonda Fleming/Ronald Reagan movie Tennessee’s Partner (1955) when he heard Payne’s character slap Fleming in the face. After the slap, Fleming’s character replied, “Big girls don’t cry.” Gaudio wrote the line on a scrap of paper, fell asleep, and wrote the song the next morning.

However, the now-famous line does not appear in the Ronald Reagan film. According to Bob Crewe, he himself was dozing off in his Manhattan home with the television on when he awoke to see John Payne manhandling Rhonda Fleming in Slightly Scarlet, a 1956 film noir based on a James M. Cain story. The line is heard in that film.

Like “Sherry,” the lead in “Big Girls Don’t Cry” is sung mostly in falsetto. With this song, the Four Seasons became the first rock-era act to hit the top spot on the Hot 100 with their first two chart entries.



Picture Source:
A to Z Challenge Badge — A to Z Challenge
The Four Seasons — American Treasure Tour