July 30, 2010

One Critic’s Opinion on Frankie Valli’s Falsetto

July 30th, 2010

I debated whether or not to post a preview to this article written by Courier-Journal critic Jeffrey Lee Puckett, who states that “Valli’s piercing, nasal falsetto is one of the most painful instruments in the history of pop music. At its worst, it’s beyond fingernails on a blackboard and more like a rusty hook being dragged across your skull before it’s snapped into an eye socket.”

Puckett then lists the five most annoying Frankie Valli songs! Check these two out:

  • “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” When Valli does that “ay-yi-yi” bit, I feel almost homicidal. Didn’t they use this song at Gitmo?
  • “Walk Like a Man.” And, son, right after you learn to walk like a man you might want to stop singing like a freakish little girl.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion–but Mr. Puckett, if Valli’s falsetto is one of the most painful instruments in pop music history, why is it that generations are flocking to his concerts all over the country and rediscovering the phenomenal, powerful hits of the chart-topping group thanks to the megahit musical JERSEY BOYS all over the globe? Seven Number One hits, 17 Top Ten Singles, and well over 175 million records sold? Mr. Puckett, I believe you’re in the minority–Valli’s voice and The Four Seasons’ hits have ROCKED the world for nearly 50 years and will continue to do so!!


  1. I dunno about that defense; that’s like someone saying, “I don’t like dogs because they’re smelly, messy and eat all your food.”

    You COULD fight back with saying, “Well, if they’re smelly, messy and eat all your food, why have humans been living with them for hundreds of years?”

    But really, it’s because like the domesticated dog, Frankie Valli’s falsetto works for some people, and not for others.

    Sorry. :)

    Comment by Leanna — July 30, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

  2. I wonder what this guy thought of Minnie Riperton?

    Frankie Valli is not the only one who did a falsetto. The Beach Boys had quite a bit of it also. Even Crosby, Stills, and Nash had some. Ever hear the end of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”? And it was used by scores of other Rock, Pop, and R & B artists in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

    Is this guy annoyed by repetitive non acoustic techno instrumentation and rap?

    Comment by Ted Hammond — July 30, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  3. I don’t have a major issue with Valli’s falsetto. Well ok in general, I have no problem listening to men who sing high pitch as well as falsetto. Do guys find it a turn off when male vocalists go high note or something? o_O The thing with Frankie Valli is that his falsetto has made him rather distinctive in music. If he didn’t have those notes I would never EVER have taken the Four Seasons seriously.

    Comment by Vash-chan — July 30, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  4. I don’t really have a problem with the fact that Mr. Puckett dislikes Frankie’s falsetto…not because I agree with him, because I certainly don’t. But to each his own. Beauty is in the eye — or in this case, the ear — of the beholder. Mr. Puckett is entitled to his opinion…just as I am entitled to my opinion that he is an idiot. ::smirk::

    Comment by Shelley — July 30, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

  5. what do they say about opinions & a-holes? everyone has them. one problem, this Puckett guy has his head so far up his you know what, he really can not hear anything at all.
    Frankie and the 4 Seasons do not need to respond, their list of hits do the talking for them.
    Sing away Frankie
    where is Tony Soprano when you need him? this guy needs to be whacked !!

    Comment by Bob Nelson — July 30, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

  6. Mr. Puckett apparently doesn’t know music very well. But again, to each his own. One question to him: Are you as successful and popular as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons or any other musician with a unique sound? The only Puckett I’ve ever heard of was Gary Puckett, who, by the way, also has an unusual voice. To Frankie – Centanni!

    Comment by Mitzi — July 31, 2010 @ 8:21 am

  7. I applaud your decision to post this, Susie. Most times we want to skip over anything negative, and just give the readers positive stories. Mr. Puckett is indeed entitled to his opinion, just as those who disagree are entitled to say so, LOUDLY ;~)

    Comment by Catherine — August 1, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

  8. Everyone is entitled to his opinion and you know what, Frankie Valli and Bob Guadio have been downplayed, passed over, nosed over, smirked at, and plain old forgotten by many critics and many of the music industry so called experts. Well 50 years later and they are still here, rocking, popping, jazzing, and all it takes is getting the music out and once people hear it, they are hooked, well except for those who nose over, smirk, downplay them. Um who do we listen to, the hundreds of millions who bought the records, or the millions and millions who flock back to see Jersey boys 5-6 or 7 times. Or maybe the million who bought the JB CD, where its a play cd and in this music environment, its like selling 3 million. The people are speaking….Very loudly. Word of mouth has taken over, it doesnt matter what critics say anymore.

    Comment by Jallex — August 1, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

  9. Obviously Mr. Puckett has not listened to “You Can Bet”, “Heart Be Still”, or “Closest Thing to Heaven” to hear the real beauty of Mr. Valli’s voice.
    Also, I would like to hope that Franki would consider recording old classic easly listening, like Rod Stewart, Bett Midler, and Carlie Simon have done. I’d love to hear him do a duet of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” with Carly Simon. There are other great female vocalists that he could also “duo” with, like Diana, Carol, Linda, or Barbra. The CD’s would fly off the shelf.

    Comment by jim — August 2, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

  10. Mr. Puckett will be forgotten…Frankie Valli will not.

    Comment by gladys — August 3, 2010 @ 6:10 am

  11. Puckett is probably one of those who never recognized
    the Four Seasons as a legitimate band to begin with.

    I’ll have to look at other things he’s written.

    My guess is that he’s offended by the tremendous success of Jersey Boys and especially the icon status that has been given to Valli as the result.

    Hail to The People’s Band!

    Comment by Ray — August 3, 2010 @ 10:23 am

  12. Obviously, this man either has a very high-brow taste in music or auto-tune has him believing that humans can actually hit all those notes without using a falsetto. The falsetto is even still prominent in today’s music. Many punk and rock bands still have it. of course none like that of the 60′s but as I said before when you auto-tune everyone they have no need for it. I’m still wondering why they assigned this person to review the play if he obviously hates this style of music. He probably loves the music and is just looking to get some attention as a hard noised critic. I live in Louisville and have never heard this guys name before, if that tells you how important he is. My problem with him is that he actually thinks people will agree with him. If he wants me to agree with his opinion of a annoying singer write a review on Mily Sirus.

    Comment by Adam — August 7, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

  13. Mr Puckett is spot on. And I’d add that Valli’s vocal antics on ‘Sherry Baby’ are equally mannered and tuneless. Many of the Four Seasons’s records sound very dated now, although there is no denying their song-writing talent.

    Comparisons with Brian Wilson don’t wash. Wilson’s pure falsetto is a thing of beauty – especially on the Beach Boys’ ‘Don’t Worry Baby’.

    Comment by David Garner — September 5, 2015 @ 3:54 am

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