January 28, 2007

Before the Four Seasons Hit It Big

January 28th, 2007

Act One of Jersey Boys provides an amazing look into the early days of Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi, and Frankie Valli, before the whole world exploded when they became the Four Seasons and recorded “Sherry”. The guys were known as the Four Lovers, the Romans, and Frankie Valley and the Travelers. Of course, for a while, Frankie called himself “Frankie Vally” before he became “Valli with an I”. Along with so many names, the guys also sang backup vocals in the recording studio for artists produced by Bob Crewe.

Below are some fun facts about some of their pre-”Sherry” recordings:

I Go Ape: This song was recorded under the name “Frankie Tyler,” and was written by Frank Slay and Bob Crewe.

My Mother’s Eyes: This song, composed by Abel Baer and Gilbert Wolfe, was recorded under the name “Frankie Valley.”

You’re The Apple of My Eye: Written by Otis Blackwell, this Four Lovers’ song reached #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1956. The clip you will hear below was recorded from the Four Lovers’ 1956 appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show”.

Trance: Recorded under the name Billy Dixon and the Topics, you’ll hear the early signs of the Frankie Valli growl, on this tune written by Bob Gaudio.

An Angel Cried: This song, also written by Bob Gaudio, was recorded by Hal Miller and the Rays, with the Four Seasons singing backup. The Four Seasons recorded an incredible rendition of this song on their Rag Doll album in 1964.

I Still Care:The Four Seasons provided background vocals on this Gaudio composition, recorded by Miss Frankie Nolan.

Here are some clips of these amazing recordings from the 1950s through the early ’60s found on the Fantastic First Years CD:

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  1. After listening to these early recordings which you have posted, the Jersey Boys certainly improved dramatically on the renditions of these songs for the play!

    Comment by Beverley Micciche — January 28, 2007 @ 9:35 pm

  2. I e-mailed Susie, the Administrator of this website, asking her to maybe put up “Little Pony” by Alex Alda, aka Nick Massi. Being a hardcore Four Seasons fan, I was very pleased to hear that a clip of this song may come up in another post by the middle of the week.

    Comment by Harry S. — January 28, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

  3. The “Rag Doll” album cut of “An Angel Cried” is in essence a Frankie Valli solo number. It is indeed an incredible rendition. Frankie uses his entire range on this song from a deep baritone to a soaring soprano. It’s a must listen.

    Comment by David Cace — January 29, 2007 @ 8:08 am

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