May 30, 2007

The 4 Seasons, Sopranos, & Jersey Boys

May 30th, 2007

On his Changing Channels blog, Miami Herald reporter Glen Garvin chatted last week with Steve van Zandt, the former E Street Band guitarist who plays family Silvio on “The Sopranos.” Garvin asked who was the Frankie Valli nut on the show. Not only has The Sopranos featured a lot of 4 Seasons’ tunes over the years, but Valli himself was a regular on the show for a couple of seasons before winding up No. 1 with a bullet, literally.

The question seemed silly to van Zandt. “The 4 Seasons were an extraordinarily important part of growing up in New Jersey,” he said, “particularly if you were Italian. Frankie Valli was the Frank Sinatra of our generation, the classy guy coming out of doo wop. And the records were so polished: Walk Like A Man, Rag Doll, those were beautifully produced. The 4 Seasons sort of reflect The Sopranos sensibility. And now the success of Jersey Boys has been a validation of that to the whole nation.”


  1. Thank you Mr. van Zandt for explaining this fundamental fact of Jersey life to Mr. Gavin.

    Comment by David Cace — May 30, 2007 @ 9:52 am

  2. Lucky I spent half of my high school years in New Jersey and New York. Seemed to be a world away from CA because my friends and I “did” hang out under a light post in the evening, played handball, spent evenings on the stoop, and since I can’t sing, listened to my friends mimic the Four Seasons and their greatest hits. This was when I hung out with them in Jersey City while I lived on Long Island. I’m fortunate to have some “Jersey” blood in my system while spending time there. I miss the great times I had there, but am reliving it through watching the Jersey Boys. Nothing but very positive flashbacks from the experience.

    Even though I was there in the early 80′s, the sounds of Jersey, especially the Four Seasons, never disappeared into the night like other artists and groups. It stayed strong and got stronger once it hit La Jolla and Broadway.

    I totally wish for a VH1 two hour special on both the Four Seasons and Jersey Boys. That would really be something for all of us fans. The bits and pieces we see on commercials, talk show teasers and awards ceremony are cool, but maybe not long enough to satisfy the fans’ thirst for more, not to mention something worth keeping on our TIVO or DVR’s, if VH1 decides to do so!

    Comment by Mike B. Magbaleta — May 30, 2007 @ 1:00 pm

  3. Wow, Mike! What a great idea! Since there are multitudes of Four Seasons fans all over the country who have heard about the Jersey Boys phenomenon but may not get the opportunity to see the show, they could at least share some of the exhiliration we feel each time we see Jersey Boys. A two hour special would also be very educational for people who grew up with their music but didn’t know the story. I, for one, was a great fan of their music but never really knew the struggles and glories of the forty+ year history of the group.

    Thanks for the great suggestion. IE

    Comment by irene eizen — May 30, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

  4. Few people knw that sometime Four Season (between Nick Massi’s departure and Joe Long’s addition) and longer time Four Seasons’s arranger Charlie Calello, had credits on Bruce Springsteen’s highly and critically acclaimed “Born To Run” album. It was not on the title track, but another track or tracks. If you web search for all the accomplishments of Charlie Calello, be sure to search both “Charles” and “Charlie”, and “Calello” and the frequent misspelling “Callelo”. The almost disco style “Dark Shadows” Theme Song Arrangement and performance by Charlie is one of the rarest and most entertaining net find samples if it’s still available.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 1, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

  5. I was just called out from my computer to look at this week’s Sopranos episode on HBO. BIG NEWS ABOUT SILVIO (STEVEN VAN ZANDT)! You’ll have to watch!

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 3, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

  6. Were my ears mistaken or did I hear another reference to Jersey Boys last night in the Sopranos about someone making a fuss at the Opening Night party?

    Comment by David Cace — June 4, 2007 @ 7:04 am

  7. You heard correctly David. There was a reference to the Jersey Boys right before all the Silvio stuff. I forgot to include that before I submitted. Can’t give it away. Don’t want to end up like Rusty.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 4, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  8. Let’s see. Can’t reveal the end of the Sopranos, but I don’t get it….

    I expected a Four Seasons song in the last episode! Closest was Four Seasons soundalike group Randy and the Rainbows singing “Denise”. Aren’t they from Jersey too?

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 10, 2007 @ 9:16 pm

  9. Well, it seems that David Chase sneaked in an addtional double entendre “Four Seasons” reference in the final epidode-playing Antonio Vivaldi’s (don’t think he was from Jersey though) classical “Four Seasons” at a wake. I’d say it was intentional, since Four Seasons fans had kind of adopted the series even before Frankie Valli appeared on screen as Rusty Millio.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 11, 2007 @ 8:57 am

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