NEW YORK, NY. (Top40 Charts/ Universal Motown) - In his amazing sixth decade of stardom, FRANKIE VALLI remains as visible and authoritative within American pop culture as ever, playing dozens of live concerts yearly, and drawing rave notices for his role in the landmark television drama The Sopranos.
Now, with applause thundering nightly all around the country for the quadruple-Tony winning Broadway phenomenon Jersey Boys – currently in a twelve-city national tour, and setting up new companies in Las Vegas and London – Valli, the singular original lead voice of the iconic Four Seasons song score, has returned to the studio to create the perfect companion piece to the stage show.
On the new Universal Motown album, Romancing The '60s, the legendary Valli has chosen 14 immortal love songs from the songbook of the 1960s, leading the cream of New York's musicians and background singers, with album production by Bob Gaudio, fellow Four Seasons founder and co-writer of the group's many hits. No one will be surprised to find that in this album, the songs of pop-rock's greatest generation are honored with all the insight, joy, musicianship and magic one would expect from the man who was originally co-credited on Four Seasons records as 'The 'Sound' of Frankie Valli.' 'I've always been a romantic in my art,' says Valli. 'The secret here was to try to make the songs mine.'
The album's thirteen tracks (one of them a two-song medley) paint an unparalleled portrait of 1960s pop, with illuminating Valli performances of classics chosen from the titans of the Brill Building (Bobby Vee's 'Take Good Care of My Baby,' Ben E. King's 'Spanish Harlem,' the Drifters' 'On Broadway,' with featured vocals from the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys); from Motown (Stevie Wonder's 'My Cherie Amour,' Jimmy Ruffin's 'What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,' the Temptations' 'My Girl,' recast in a medley of No. 1 hits with the Young Rascals' 'Groovin'') and from late-period doo-wop (the Casinos' 'Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye'). Other enduring pop standards chosen for the album include Bobby Hebb's 'Sunny,' Burt Bacharach and Hal David's 'Any Day Now' and 'This Guy's in Love With You,' Gilbert Becaud's 'Let it Be Me,' and Tony Hatch's 'Call Me.' (See song details and history below.)
'This is the album I've always wanted to make with Frankie,' album producer and Songwriters Hall of Fame member Bob Gaudio says. 'For me, this album has his best vocals to date.' Charles Calello and Artie Schroeck, veterans of many Four Seasons/Valli classics, are also aboard the project, as arranger/conductors.
With a total of 48 Billboard Hot 100 singles between 1956 (first charting as the Four Lovers) and 1994, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons were one of the very few pre-Beatles American groups to survive the 1964 British Invasion of the American pop scene. And with the 1994 U.S. Top 20 re-charting of the No. 1 'December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)' and the summer 2007 U.K. Top 40 re-charting of the 1967 hit 'Beggin',' the Four Seasons have joined a truly exclusive club, having scored major international chartings in every decade since the 1950s. The Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
The group's streak of hits, most of them co-written by Bob Gaudio and longtime producer Bob Crewe, began with three consecutive No. 1 smashes, the irresistible, hard-rocking urban cha-chas 'Sherry,' 'Walk Like A Man,' and 'Big Girls Don't Cry,' followed by 'Candy Girl.' All of them were sparked by Valli's powerful tenor and falsetto vocals, the group's unique fusion of street-corner doo-wop, R&B and pop choral arrangements, and an unerring knack for arresting lyrical hooks (as evidenced often by the numerous later songs borrowing those titles). Inspired and energized by the innovations of the British bands and Motown, the Four Seasons continued to post chart-topping hits through the late Sixties, conjuring indelible images of working-class romance in ballads and rockers like 'Rag Doll,' 'Big Man in Town,' 'Dawn (Go Away),' 'Let's Hang On,' and 'Working My Way Back to You.' These, in particular, are acknowledged as major influences on Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, among many others. (The Four Seasons memorably covered Dylan in a raucous, jaw-dropping No. 12 version of his 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright,' barely-disguised as The Wonder Who? At the same time, the Valli and Four Seasons songs 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' and 'Silence is Golden' were both U.K. No. 1 and U.S. Top 15 hits for the British acts the Walker Brothers and the Tremeloes, respectively. Classic R&B quintet the Spinners had their biggest hit of the 1980s with a No. 2 cover of 'Workin' My Way Back to You.')
Frankie Valli released his first solo hit, '(You're Gonna) Hurt Yourself,' in 1966, and the following year originated the Gaudio/Crewe classic 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You,' one of the most successfully-covered songs in history, with its most recent worldwide smash versions by Pet Shop Boys and Lauryn Hill.
Gaudio's songwriting partnership with Judy Parker Gaudio fueled a worldwide re-launch of the Four Seasons in the mid-1970s with the No. 3 'Who Loves You,' and the three-week No. 1 'December 1963 (Oh What A Night),' one of the most enduring hits in Billboard history, with two versions logging a total 54 weeks on the pop chart. The writer/producer continued to work with Valli and other superstars (Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand among them). Gaudio was instrumental in developing the Broadway hit Jersey Boys, named Best Musical at the 2006 Tony Awards, and he received the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album as producer of the Broadway cast recording, which has topped the Billboard Top Cast Album chart.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Frankie Valli began his recording career in 1952, joining the group the Varitones in 1954. His trailblazing journey with The Four Seasons has resulted in estimated sales of 100 million records throughout his group and solo career, with two U.S. No. 1 solo hits, 1975's 'My Eyes Adored You,' and the two-million-selling title song from the movie Grease in 1978. Now enjoying an incredible sixth decade as a seminal force in popular music, he continues to be one of the most in-demand live performers on the road today. Frankie also drew accolades for his recurring role as wily mobster Rusty Millio on the much-lauded HBO series The Sopranos. Jersey Boy star John Lloyd Young won the Tony in 2006 for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of the young Frankie Valli.
Romancing The '60s is a rare and exhilarating meeting of geniuses: a joyous, heart-driven, vital and fascinating redefinition of the already-definitive, and a musically timeless treasure for every fan - whether old or new, who sock-hopped to 'Sherry,' or gave the standing ovation at tonight's sold-out performance of Jersey Boys.
Frankie Valli: Romancing The '60s
Track List and Song History
(Writers) Highest Charting Versions
1. Take Good Care Of My Baby
(Gerry Goffin, Carole King) Bobby Vee, No. 1 1961
2. My Cherie Amour
(Stevie Wonder, Henry Cosby, Sylvia Moy) Stevie Wonder, No. 4 1969
3. Spanish Harlem
(Phil Spector, Jerry Leiber) Ben E. King, No. 10 1961;
Aretha Franklin, No. 2 1971
4. Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye
(John D. Loudermilk) Casinos, No. 6 1967
5. Any Day Now
(Burt Bacharach, Bob Hilliard) Chuck Jackson, No. 23 1962 /
Ronnie Milsap, No. 14 1982
6. Let It Be Me
(Gilbert Becaud, M. Kurtz, P. Leroyer) Everly Brothers, No. 7 1960 /
Jerry Butler and Betty Everett, No. 5 1964
7. What A Wonderful World
(Bob Thiele, George David Weiss) Louis Armstrong, No. 32, 1986
8. Call Me
(Tony Hatch) Chris Montez, No. 22 1966
9. This Guy's In Love With You
(Burt Bacharach, Hal David) Herb Alpert No. 1 1968 /
Dionne Warwick, No. 7 1969
(Bobby Hebb) Bobby Hebb, No. 2 1966
11. My Girl/Groovin'
("Smokey" Robinson, Ronald White / Eddie Brigati Jr., Felix Cavaliere)
Temptations, No. 1 1965 / Young Rascals, No. 1 1967
12. What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
(Paul Riser, James Dean, William Weatherspoon)
Jimmy Ruffin, No. 7 1966
13. On Broadway (Featuring The Jersey Boys)
(Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil)
Drifters, No. 9 1963; George Benson, No. 7 1978