July 18, 2014

Friday Flashback: 50 Years Ago Today, ‘Rag Doll’ by The Four Seasons Topped the Billboard Hot 100 Chart!

July 18th, 2014

On July 18, 1964, The Four Seasons had their fourth Number One hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart! Written by Bob Gaudio & Bob Crewe, the song remained in the top position for two consecutive weeks.

What are your first memories of “Rag Doll”? Mine is the usual story–my older brother came home with the 45 & I played it non-stop–probably more than he did! Fifty years later, those brilliant drums, lyrics, vocal arrangements, and Frankie Valli’s stunning lead vocals never, ever get old!


  1. Hearing “Rag Doll” on the radio for the first time when it came out in June and then getting to hear it performed LIVE with Nick Massi on bass at WARM Day in Scranton, late summer 1964, probably before 25,000 – 30,000 people, or more.

    Comment by Jerry — July 19, 2014 @ 11:23 am

  2. WARM 590 was a station that played a lot of Four Seasons songs before bigger stations played them, and they often peaked higher on WARM’s charts than on large market stations. Promoters brought records to WARM because, like stations in Connecticut like WNHC, was on the outer fringes of the New York City market. The same was true in many other markets, where nearby markets picked up Four Seasons and other groups’ records first. Before I forget, let me point out again that the last line of the song is “I Love You Just The Way You Are” which must have at least subliminally influenced Billy Joel to come up with one of his first and biggest hits by the same name as the last line of “Rag Doll”. Where was I when Rag Doll hit in my home town in Michigan? Listening to the song on my favorite station at the time, WTRX, which according to Joey Reynolds’ and my recollection, broke “Dawn (Go Away)” a couple weeks before other stations picked it up, promoted on acetate before the official release on Philips late in January, but unfortunately, too late to get to #1 Hot 100 before the Beatles ate up most of the record business.

    Comment by Ted — July 19, 2014 @ 5:21 pm

  3. Though I have long suspected it, and have said so here before, Billy Joel fully admitted that the song “Just The Way You Are” was inspired by the last line of “Rag Doll”, on The Howard Stern Show in 2010. Here’s the Wikipedia link.


    So it wasn’t even subliminal! I just wish those inspired by The Four Seasons had just admitted it before and had not waited for the hit Broadway Show to finally admit they were fans, and INSPIRED fans!

    Comment by Ted — July 20, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

  4. “Rag Doll” inspired “Just The Way You Are”. Now here’s a Question for a Poll or Topic. Which JB/FV/4S song INSPIRED YOU most? I have one in mind, which I will reveal if such a topic is posted!

    Comment by Ted — July 21, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

  5. The Four Seasons sound had progressed so much since the VJ days with lush arrangements and more instrumentation, yet along comes Rag Doll..so simple yet so profound…could there be a more perfect record??

    It just reminds me of the city streets here in the Northeast on a hot summer day. Whether you heard it on a transistor radio or on the am dial of a passing Chevy convertible…it was magical.

    I think that I only began hearing it in pieces. Back then you had to catch it from the beginning, which was never easy as you clicked through all the station channels. You never knew when it was going to come on. No downloads back then.

    Then, to hear how it was recorded in such a helter skelter way even makes it more of an incredible record.

    No surprise that this one returned the group to the #1 spot.

    Comment by Ray — July 21, 2014 @ 1:31 pm

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