March 13, 2014

Today in Four Seasons Music History–March 13,1976–’December, 1963′ Topped the Billboard Hot 100!

March 13th, 2014

Thirty-eight years ago today,on March 13, 1976, The Four Seasons had their fifth Number One hit with “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” which was their first hit to top the charts since “Rag Doll” in 1964. The song, written by Bob Gaudio and Judy Parker, remained in the top position on the Billboard Hot 100 for three consecutive weeks and was also their only British Number One single. In 1994,”December, 1963″ became a hit all over again, peaking at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.


  1. This is actually the newfangled version that hit #14 Hot 100 in 1994. Though most of us FV4S purists were happy to see the song rechart, we much preferred the original from 1975, which hit #1 in 1976. Somehow, when I saw the title on the “Who Loves You”, I knew it was going to be a huge hit. It was agonizing for us to watch the relatively slow ascent to the top of the charts, and a lot of radio Program Directors thought it was going to “stiff” when it only went from #44 to #40 in its sixth week on the Hot 100. This slowed down chart adds on bigger radio stations. The upside is that it kept it from directly competing for #1 with “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon, which had been released at about the same time. Here’s an interesting “twofer” trivia question. Which backup singer on “50 Ways” was also a backup singer on which Frankie Valli solo Top 10 single?

    Comment by Ted — March 14, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

  2. I’ve probably mentioned before how slowly WABC added records, including “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)”. In fact, WABC only added it on the February 10, 1976 survey, debuting at #30. This was the week where it climbed from #28 to #18 Hot 100 in its 8th week on the Billboard Chart. I also mentioned that the first time I heard it was on WCFL Chicago on December 20, 1975. It debuted on rival WLS on January 10, 1976. The key to the early add on WLS was thus COMPETITION. Both WABC and WLS were being programmed by Rick Sklar, yet there was a one month difference in when the song was added. Sklar believed it was very bad to play records which might “stiff” and not become big hits. And apparently, there was no aggressive competition for WABC to add new songs. After an unimpressive move from 30 to 28, 12-63(OWAN) quickly climbed from 28 to 8, then 5, then 1, spending FOUR WEEKS at the top of the WABC charts. Nice save.

    Comment by Ted — March 15, 2014 @ 10:24 pm

  3. Hi, Ted-
    Trivia answer: Patti Austin, on “Swearin’ To God.”

    Comment by George O'Brien — March 16, 2014 @ 10:57 pm

  4. Correct, George. Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

    I would have given partial credit for another song that almost hit the Top 10 Hot 100, and hit #2 for two weeks Adult Contemporary, to become Frankie’s biggest Adult Contemporary chart success, according to Whitburn Publications. To win today’s trivia trifecta, what was that song?

    Comment by Ted — March 17, 2014 @ 2:55 pm

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