July 29, 2007

Dawn and 11 Other Great Songs

July 29th, 2007

Did you ever have one of those torturous work project deadlines looming over a weekend? I’m sure you’ve all been there–being stuck indoors at the computer–rewrite after rewrite…Okay, that was my story for the last two days. However, I figured out a way that made the whole experience not all that bad. Trust me, next time you have one of these deadlines, start by listening to the Jersey Boys Original Broadway Cast Recording. Then, if you’re stuck on an all-day assignment, try some Four Seasons’ CDs from the ’60s.

Following my daily dose of the JB OBCR, I listened to “Dawn and 11 Other Great Songs” today. Wow! The title cut, written by Bob Gaudio and Sandy Linzer, peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in early 1964. The CD also features The Four Seasons’ covers of some great ’50s tunes including Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me,” The Crests’ “16 Candles,” and Neil Sedaka’s “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.”

Along with so many great renditions of ’50s tunes, you’re in for some other real treats on the “Dawn” CD–including Nick Massi singing lead on “Don’t Let Go,” and Bob Gaudio/Bob Crewe’s “Big Man’s World”–a song that I think could have easily been a smash on the charts!

Check out samples and vote for your favorite!

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  1. Me too! When I was working really hard to finish up the school year, I listened to the JB songs over and over… It was a LONG few days but in a strange way, really fun! Love the songs, by the way!

    Comment by Lauren — July 30, 2007 @ 10:45 am

  2. Speaking of Bob Crewe, I watched an interesting and informative show that’s currently on my DirecTV DVR. On the Ovation cable channel this past Friday and Saturday, their special programming of “Popular Music – The Atlantic Crossing” had a feature on Bob Crewe, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

    The show was focused on the British “Invasion” or “infusion” as renamed by Bob Crewe. He had no worries of getting dethroned like the other groups, he welcomed the overseas groups because they had their own identities and styles and knew that the Four Seasons were talented and strong enough to stay successful.

    His interview started like Jersey Boys:

    Story of Frankie Castelluccio singing “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” in a dive bar (possibly the Four Seasons Lounge at the bowling alley?), with Bob Crewe giving a short but “interesting” rendition of that song with his own “falsetto”.

    Footage of the group singing “Let’s Hang On” and “Rag Doll” on a rooftop patio during a variety show.

    Frankie’s amazing range and tone that blew him away, writing songs for the group to complement Frankie’s vocal range, and not to mention the Four Seasons being “white” but sounding “black”, which was a major selling point.

    Bob Crewe emotionally describing his involvement with Bob Gaudio on writing the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, the evolution of that song from simple “ditty” to finished product, how it’s the best selling song for the Four Seasons and last year’s announcement that it’s the “fifth” most played song in the US. The interview closed with footage of Frankie singing CTMEOY…..

    All in all, it rivaled CBS’s Sunday Morning’s feature on Jersey Boys/Four Seasons, and I totally enjoyed the sitdown interview with Bob Crewe. It’s great to see more and more shows paying tribute to Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons and recognizing their contributions to music!

    Comment by Mike B. Magbaleta — July 30, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  3. A great album, although their covers of “16 Candles” and “Earth Angel” need a little getting use to. Some classics are just not meant for significant re-dos.

    While Jersey Boys has its versions of “Silhouettes” and a “Sunday Kind of Love” which are faithfull to the 4 Seasons’ covers, Jersey Boys version of “Earth Angel” is entirely different.

    Nick Massi’s cover of “Don’t Let Go” is fabulous. He use to do this song, and his stage version of “Mack The Knife” (see VeeJay “Live” album), among others, in their concerts. What a singer! (As is Bobby Spencer. He really should have a solo in the show).

    The 4 Seasons did a live version of “Do You Want To Dance” on their Hullabaloo appearance in 1965 (see Jersey Boys Blog entry on July 18, 2007) at the end of the show in a sort jam session with all of the artists appearing on the show that week, which included Trini Lopez, Vicki Carr, Peter Noone, and Freddy of Freddy and the Dreamers. That Hullabaloo show is commercially available if anyone is interested. It was a good show beyond the 4 Seasons’ appearance and worth the investment if you can find it.

    Comment by David Cace — August 3, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

  4. I’ve played the Four Season’s version of “Do You Want To Dance” for some fans of Bette Midler’s version. I had a hard time convincing then it was the same song. Or maybe they were just being obtuse. Bette’s certainly is a lot different from the earlier covers.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — August 5, 2007 @ 7:10 am

  5. Ted, Bette’s version is far different from the Bobby Freeman hit version too. I was a big Bette fan in college and was disappointed that she chose that as her first single…I would have much preferred “Chapel of Love” (which she does in a fast tempo like the Dixie Cups), “Hello in There, “Superstar” or “Friends.”

    It might just be me, but I almost always prefer the faster versions of those old songs..like Neil Sedaka’s faster version of “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” and Esther Phillips “What a Dif’rence a Day Makes” to Dinah Washington’s.

    Interestingly, not many people know Bette’s career was rejuvenated by a remake…Lou Rawls hit #65 in 1983 with “Wind Beneath My Wings” but it was Bette who hit #1 and took home the Grammy in 1989.

    On the other hand, Bette was the first to record “Superstar”, which Karen Carpenter rode up the charts, supposedly beginning the feud between Karen and Bette.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — August 5, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  6. @ Howard Tucker – August 5, 2007

    Please get your facts straight about Carpenters version of “Superstar.” They included the Russell/Bramlett penned ballad on their 3rd album, CARPENTERS, which was released on 5/14/71. Midler’s version was included on her first album which released on 11/7/72. Also, the date Midler performed the song on The Tonight Show was 10/7/71 – five months AFTER the release of the Carpenters album.

    As for the “feud,” it was all Midler. She had an extreme dislike of Karen’s cleancut, girl-next-door image, and hounded her constantly. Karen, the class act she was, just let it roll – at least publicly. It took Karen’s untimely death for Midler to ever make any attempt of apology.

    Comment by NoahVale — November 27, 2011 @ 12:12 am

  7. NoahVale, there’s a lot of confusion as to who released song versions first, and it often takes fan research and a bunch of Whitburn and Goldmine publications to discover the truth. There are a lot of Carpenters fans who post here, judging by my research as to the song and album with the question about the mystery Golden Goodies Group on the “Now and Then” Carpenters album, where “the Four Seasons” was not the correct answer.

    Another example is that when Smash Mouth recorded “Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby” in 1998, most thought that Question Mark and the Mysterians, or the UK band Colour Field recorded it first. Actually, the Toys and the Four Seasons recorded it first in 1965. Denny Randell says the Toys were first in the recording studio by a matter of days, with the Charles Calello arranged song. However, research shows that the Four Seasons had the first charting TRACK of the song on the “Working My Way Back To You” LP, beating the Toys LP track by one week, and the uncharted single by a few months.

    And it is sad that eulogies are often where sincerely felt apologies finally occur. For all of the bad things that were said about Sonny Bono by Cher and others, her touching eulogy of Sonny cleared a lot of that up. Better that Bette apologized late than never.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — November 27, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  8. Thanks for the feedback, Ted. I will have to disagree with your Cher and Midler analogy, though. Until his untimely death, Cher hadn’t worked through all her anger issues with Sonny. That’s what it took to put things into persepctive for her. I believe Cher was truly, truly despondent about Sonny’s unexpected death and meant every word of her eulogy.

    On the other hand, Midler’s personal relationship with Karen consisted of contempt and put downs. To me, her “apology” was for PR and perception reasons only. Just one guy’s opinion.

    Comment by NoahVale — November 29, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  9. Another version of “Do You Want To Dance” that I really liked was the one by The Mamas and the Papas, who truly made it their own. If you liked them, you are sure to like it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3yYMMSG5f0

    Comment by stubbleyou — November 30, 2011 @ 12:40 am

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