December 17, 2009

The Four Seasons Rocked at The Roostertail in Detroit!

December 17th, 2009

(Photo 2 Credit: Tom & Diane Schoenith)

John Monaghan, Free Press Special Writer, notes that when “Jersey Boys” finally makes its Detroit debut tonight, local theatergoers may be surprised to discover that Detroit’s Roostertail is referenced in the show.

That’s because the venerable restaurant-club played a role in making “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” a hit.

Bob Gaudio, an original member of the Four Seasons, refers to “Eyes” today as “the one that almost got away” until local radio station CKLW-AM intervened.

In 1967, the record’s producers urged Paul Drew, program director at the legendary station, to consider the tune for rotation. For much of the ’60s and ’70s, CKLW was credited with launching hit records via its powerful signal, which emanated from Windsor.

Drew didn’t warm to the song at first, but accepted an invitation to hear it live at the Roostertail, where Frankie Valli was performing a weeklong stint with the Four Seasons. Drew liked what he heard and added the song to his station’s playlist.

“The switchboards lit up, and the rest, as they say, is history,” Gaudio recalls.

Read the full story on


  1. I’m from Detroit originally and the Roostertail was THE entertainment venue of its day. It was a supper club that hosted all the top acts of the day and the Supremes often performed there on the last leg of their very successful tours. Now, it is primarily a hall for weddings and prom dances. It would be nice to see that era resurrected again. It somewhat has in NY at the Hiro Ballroom and the Highline Ballroom. It’s a nice change from arena-style concerts.

    Comment by Gary — December 17, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  2. The unique thing about CKLW is that it had a directional antenna which favored the New York/New Jersey area at night, and at 800 on the dial, it was just far away enough on the dial from WABC at 770 that New Yorkers and New Jersey residents could hear it at night, sometimes by just by accidently bumping the tuning knob or while tuning to another station.

    People would hear a song on CKLW like CTMEOY, and call WABC to ask why they weren’t playing it. The tremendous audio quality and signal of CKLW was due in large part to the late Ed Buterbaugh, their chief engineer, who also worked later at WABC New York. Others who post here from New York and New Jersey have told me how they used to tune in to CKLW back in the 1960s and 1970s.

    Hence, it’s not surprising that CKLW plays a part in FV4S history.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — December 17, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

  3. One of my best friends was in the audience tonight, she was so excited to see the show — I’m awaiting her review! (I told her if she didn’t love it I wasn’t sure I could stay friends with her…haha.)

    Comment by Courtney — December 17, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

  4. awesome, I was near the front row and could see the eyes of the main man Frankie Valli,and all of the other cast members.

    It was so awesome, I would highly recommend it for everyone. My daughter and I are 22 years apart and she loved it as much as I.

    Just get to the performance here at our great Fisher Theatre…..

    Comment by Helen Ivory — December 24, 2009 @ 6:22 am

  5. My wife, Barb and I saw the Four Seasons at the Roostertail on our first date in 1967. Frankie Valli sang Can’t take my eyes off of you for the first time. We both loved the song and it has remained “our song” for all of these years. It was really fun having the Roostertail reference in the play and the movie.

    Comment by Bob Smith — December 30, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

  6. I also was in the audiance that night with my girlfriend Mary Kapostas. I asked her to marry my and gave her a diamond engagement ring at th Roostertail; “Oh, what a night”

    Comment by Jack Renauer — July 7, 2015 @ 10:48 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI

Please leave a comment