February 5, 2006

Bob Crewe: Genius Producer Behind the Four Seasons

February 5th, 2006

In Jersey Boys, we’re introduced to Bob Crewe (played by Peter Gregus), the flamboyant, horoscope-obsessed song writer/record producer who helped to put the Four Seasons on the road to chart topping success in the 1960s. Crewe has had a very illustrious career as a musician, songwriter, record producer, and artist.

Bob Crewe was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985. While Crewe is perhaps best remembered for the parade of hits he co-wrote with Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio, his music career began much earlier. Crewe, now 74 (born 11/12/1931), is a Newark, New Jersey native who got his first taste of success on the music charts with writing partner Frank Slay in the early 1950s. With Slay, Crewe wrote a variety of hits, including “Silhouettes” for The Rays; “Lah Dee Dah” for Billy and Lillie; and Freddy Cannon’s “Tallahassee Lassie.”

Crewe signed the Four Seasons in the early ’60s, at first using them as backup vocalists for other artists. In 1962, the Four Seasons’ recorded the number one smash hit “Sherry,” written by member Bob Gaudio. Following the success of “Sherry,” Crewe and Gaudio teamed up to write hit after hit for the Newark foursome, including, number one hits “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Rag Doll.” The hits continued as the ‘60s progressed, including “Ronnie,” “Save It for Me,” “Bye Bye Baby,” and Valli’s monumental solo hit, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

Although Crewe was partially responsible for the Four Seasons becoming the hit-making machines of the 1960s, he continued working as songwriter and producer with many other artists, including Diane Renay, who had a smash hit titled “Navy Blue,” and Leslie Gore, who hit the charts with “California Nights.” During the mid-sixties, Bob Crewe discovered a band known as Billy Lee and The Rivieras, which he later re-named, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels. The group had major success on the charts with such Crewe-arranged smashes as “Jenny Take a Ride,” “Devil With the Blue Dress On” and “Sock It to Me Baby.”

In the late 60s, Crewe moved on to form The Bob Crewe Generation, where he used studio musicians and original material for instrumental music collections including the Top 10 hit “Music to Watch Girls By.” He later teamed with writer, Charles Fox, in penning the soundtrack for Dino De Laurentis’ film, Barbarella.

As the ’60s were coming to a close, Crewe had also established his own recording firm, Crewe Records, which owned hits by Oliver and Lesley Gore, among others. Later, Crewe wrote and produced the song, “Eternity,” which became an international hit for Vicki Carr. Following a short stay with Motown Records, when he produced what turned out to be Bobby Darin’s final album, Crewe rejoined forces with Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli, and bought back from Motown the tape master for Valli’s “My Eyes Adored You,” a song co-written with Kenny Nolan, which became a number one hit for Valli on Private Stock Records in the winter of 1975. Also in 1975, another joint effort for Crewe and Nolan, “Lady Marmalade,” went on to become a smash hit and helped re-establish Patti LaBelle as a major artist.

In the early 1980s, Crewe and Gaudio teamed with another writer, Jerry Corbetta, who was lead singer of Sugarloaf (“Green-Eyed Lady”). Together, they wrote the hit song “You’re Looking Like Love to Me,” for Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson. Crewe also collaborated with Corbetta and the writer, Ellie Greenwich, in producing the original cast album for Greenwich’s Broadway musical, Leader of the Pack.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame provides an extensive discography of the songs written by Crewe.

In addition to his music, Crewe has also made a name for himself in the art world. He has designed numerous album covers and has been featured in several one-man gallery showings, including The Earl McGrath Gallery and Thomas Solomon’s Garage in Los Angeles.


  1. Use the following link to access the official Bob Crewe website (still under construction).



    Comment by George O'Brien — February 6, 2006 @ 10:19 pm

  2. [...] We at the Jersey Boys Blog were thrilled to receive a thank you note from the legendary songwriter/producer/artist Bob Crewe for our recent post about his phenomenal accomplishments. Bob also noted that his visual artworks are currently represented by the Jan Baum Gallery in Los Angeles. « Jersey Boys Cast to Appear in “So In Love” Benefit Concert, February 13   [...]

    Pingback by Jersey Boys Blog » Bob Crewe’s Art World Update — February 9, 2006 @ 11:35 pm

  3. If only Bob Crewe would write his autobiography! What wonderful stories he must have to tell about the music and art worlds. I’ve been an admirer of his for several years, and was lucky enough to interview him by telephone in 1996. Unfortunately, we were talking about something other than his career!

    Comment by Don "Stuffed Animal" Charles — August 19, 2006 @ 4:33 pm

  4. I attended Jersey Boys at the Fox in St Louis. I was very unhappy with the use of the F word all thru show. It was not necessary and I will let my friends know not to attend.

    Comment by shirley benz — May 5, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

  5. I had the good luck of singing in Bob Crewe studio in New York when I was 14 years old. I sang demos for one of his staff writers. One day he walked in and it changed my life. I will never forget.

    Comment by Joanne Pepitone — February 15, 2009 @ 11:09 am

  6. loved Jersey Boys and all the background story of their progress with the help of artists like Bob Crewe-would love to access his catalogue of artists on Crewe Records, especially Lesley Gore-any suggestions?

    Comment by Bruce Spryer — March 5, 2011 @ 6:32 am

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