May 5, 2009

Frankie Valli Continues to Rock the House at 75!

May 5th, 2009

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, Frankie Valli will be performing in concert at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh. Scott Mervis of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an interesting feature on Valli and his career. Here’s a sneak peek into Mervis’ conversation with Valli:

Joseph Leo Bwarie can sing “Sherry,” “Dawn” and all those other Four Seasons hits with the best of them, as anyone who saw the touring production of “Jersey Boys” in January can attest.

But what about the original guy, Frankie Valli? Those tunes were challenging to sing for a young man. How does he handle those soaring falsettos at 75?

“We’ve adjusted a few of the keys down, but it is really about practice and discipline,” Valli says via e-mail. “You need to exercise your vocal muscles every day. I still sing every day.”

The most surprising thing about “Jersey Boys” is that, in an age so full of biopics and pop-based musical, it took so long for the Four Seasons story to be told. It’s rife with intrigue, considering the group’s hard-scrabble upbringing, early struggle for success, amazing and unlikely run of early hits, mob connections, late ’60s decline and ’70s comeback.

Valli says he’s seen “Jersey Boys” so many times, “I lost count a long time ago. I was involved with developing the script so I wasn’t surprised by anything. It is pretty close to the truth — a little artistic license here and there, but pretty much that’s the way it happened.”

One of the true wonders of the Four Seasons’ fortunes is that they countered the Fab Four from the British Invasion. So many late ’50s/early ’60s artists will tell you that the Beatles knocked them out of the water. The Four Seasons got there two years before the Beatles with “Sherry” in 1962. When the Beatles invaded with 19 hits in 1964 alone, Valli and the Four Seasons hung on with songs like “Dawn (Go Away)” and “Rag Doll” and continued to chart through early 1968, when things got all too weird and psychedelic for them.

“We just kept making the music we liked and the fans liked it, too,” Valli says. “There was no real secret — just making good music.”

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