November 13, 2008

Frankie Valli Rated 80th in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time!

November 13th, 2008

Frankie Valli

The cover story in the latest issue of Rolling Stone lists what they have determined are the 100 greatest singers of all time. This list was determined by a panel of 147 insiders, including musicians, writers, and producers.

Where is Frankie Valli on this list of the Top 100 singers of all time? Frankie is number 80 on the list. Here’s what Rolling Stone had to say about Mr. Valli and his stratospheric falsetto and a style that was all his own:

In 1962, a song called “Sherry” blasted from AM radios with a facile falsetto vocal so impossibly precise, many thought it had “one-hit wonder” written all over it. Forty-eight Hot 100 singles later, Frankie Valli (born Francis Castelluccio) is still a giant of the male vocal pop of his era. He’s a complete singer, with a multi-octave range and the ability to handle a variety of styles: “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man” and “Rag Doll” showed off his doo-wop dexterity, with support from the Four Seasons. Valli’s solo hits, like “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” revealed his taste for more mainstream material, with a rich R&B influence. “Frankie Valli has become one of the hallmark voices of our generation,” said the Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb. “He created a style that we all still strive to emulate.”

Check out the Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Singers list. Top on the list is the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, followed by Ray Charles and Elvis Presley. While I’m thrilled that Rolling Stone has FINALLY acknowledged Valli’s extraordinary talent and contribution to the music world, how could this panel of insiders rate Chuck Berry, Iggy Pop, and Gregg Allman, and so many others above Valli? To quote Bob Gaudio, in Jersey Boys, “I’ve never heard a voice like Frankie Valli’s.” After reading the magazine’s list of 100 greatest singers of all time, I knew I needed to write about this list!


  1. If this list were truly representative of Frankie’s talent, he would at least be in the Top 10, and that’s taking into account the feelings of all the “B” Group fans that David (I think it was you anyway) eschews-Beach Boys, Bee Gees, Beatles.

    Rolling Stone is now forced to recognize Frankie’s greatness, and much of that force of recognition is due to Jersey Boys. Faint and insufficient praise, but praise nevertheless.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — November 13, 2008 @ 10:31 pm

  2. Ah yes Ted, Rolling Stone, the self proclaimed intelligentsia of rock’n'roll.

    I think it would be safe to say that if it weren’t for the success of Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli would not be on this Rolling Stone list. My guess would be that Frankie’s renewed popularity forced the artsy and craftsy crowd at Rolling Stone to begrudgingly put Frankie on the list lest they be looked upon as not being broad-minded and all-encompassing. I just love it when the elite have to pay respect to someone they have ignored over the years – that’s their way of saying we’ve made a mistake without saying we’ve made a mistake.

    Comment by David Cace — November 14, 2008 @ 8:05 am

  3. What’s even stranger, David, is that this list CLAIMS to be a list of the greatest signers of ALL TIME, and yet, if that were true, you would think that Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Gene Austin, Rosemary Clooney, and others would have cracked the list!

    I have to agree with some of the comments that were posted after the listing. Some of the singers, by both being listed or not listed, are strange choices to say the least. I won’t say which ones, but some of the listed singers are, in internet/texting lingo, “LOL”!

    Of course, we’ve had DECADES of seeing such lists on MTV and VH1 and such that did not include FV4S, so we have to give some credit to Rolling Stone for including Frankie Valli this time around.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — November 14, 2008 @ 9:20 am

  4. Nice try but not good enough Rolling Stone……..

    #80? Are you kidding me? Half of the people ahead of him I would barely call “singers”.

    Mr. Gaudio has publically refused interviews with Rolling Stone…I don’t blame him.

    Long time RS writer, Ben Fong Torres was forced to do a write up on Jersey Boys and opened the article by
    questioning a successful play about “The Four Freakin’ Seasons” He did, however, come around and praise the show.

    I guess we should be happy that he even made the list.
    But remember, not one Four Season song made the RS top 500 of all time.

    Comment by Ray Ricci — November 14, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  5. For decades the sole (pun intended) usefulness of Rolling Stone has been that of wrapping fish. They’ve
    proven again in the new century.
    Frank is Top 10!

    Comment by Pat Horowitz — November 14, 2008 @ 11:28 am

  6. Did Rolling Stone describe their criteria for how they developed this list? Just curious.

    Comment by David Cace — November 14, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

  7. If I find a free copy, I’ll look up the criteria, David. The library and the cheap haircut place usually have Strolling Roan.

    The ironic thing is that as I recall, the Rolling Stone Top 500 list had “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” by the Walker Brothers included. I’m sure no one at Rolling Stone knew it was a Bob Gaudio/Bob Crewe composition, or perhaps even who Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe were, or that Frankie Valli had done the original at that time. I may be wrong but that’s my recollection. I’d have to find the list to verify this.

    Similar to this would be if “Silence Is Golden” (Gaudio/Crewe) by The Tremeloes, “Working My Way Back To You” (Linzer/Randell) by The Spinners, “Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby” (Linzer/Randell) by Smash Mouth, or Cher’s version of “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” were listed on one of these types of lists.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — November 14, 2008 @ 4:21 pm

  8. Hey guys. If you think way back the Seasons did make RS .It was after the 1980 reunion concert came out . Not much said, only it was the best LIVE recording they had heard to date. Round about praise for Mr. Gaudio and his efforts. That was the only time I ever looked into RS. Maybe if they changed the name to Rolling Turd it would be more fitting. Dylan at #7 ??
    You would have to be in a coma to pick the 70 plus names ahead of Frankie Valli. Just my opinion, much like RT,oops, sorry RS.

    Comment by Bob Nelson — November 14, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

  9. I couldn’t find “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” by The Walker Brothers on the Rolling Stone Top 500 list. It must have been on another similar list I saw online somewhere.

    I guess you have to respect the Dylan fans for their idiosyncrasies of musical/lyrical tastes. FV4S did after all get a hit out of “Don’t Think Twice” as the Wonder Who. And Bob Dylan reportedly liked their cover version.

    When I look through a list of this type, I can usually only agree with 10-20% of the listings on a good day.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — November 15, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

  10. In reference to David’s comments, music critics never thought much of FV4S or the writing and production of Bob Crewe or Bob Gaudio. Not many artists have recorded and been around for over five decades. Why does Rolling Stone not mention that in their comments?

    Comment by Marty — November 17, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

  11. The blog has some info about how the 100 Greatest Singers list was put together: Each voter was asked to list his or her 20 favorite vocalists from the rock era, in order of their importance. Those ballots were recorded and weighted according to methodology developed by the accounting firm of Ernst & Young, which then tabulated and verified the results for Rolling Stone.

    Here’s the list of voters:

    Comment by Susie — November 17, 2008 @ 10:10 pm

  12. After all this time, I discovered that “Lady Marmalade” by LaBelle, written by MEAY and “Hickory” composers BOB CREWE and KENNY NOLAN, cracked the Rolling Stone Top 500 at #479. That is the closest FV4S connection I could come up with. Of course, I’m sure that Bob Gaudio and Charlie Calello and others were connected to some of the other artists in some way. I’d have to look through the list again if I can stand the slight.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — May 21, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

  13. I found another FV4S connection to a Rolling Stone Top 500 song. Artie Schroeck played the great electric piano solo break in “Summer In The City” (393) by the Lovin’ Spoonful. Artie arranged many FV4S tracks, most notably “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — May 8, 2011 @ 12:19 am

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