October 23, 2010

Frankie Valli’s Reflections on the Music Biz & Being a Hitmaker

October 23rd, 2010

Frankie Valli

Prior to his big concert in the Motor City, Frankie Valli was interviewed by some newspapers in Detroit. Here’s a sneak peek to what Valli said about the music business and his life as a hitmaker.

Brian McCollum, The Free Press:
Q: You draw particularly well in Detroit. Why here?

Valli: We’re pretty much drawing heavily everywhere. But Detroit is just a very, very special place. Our career really started in Detroit — our first hit record started there and spread. And my first major solo record, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” broke out of Detroit. There’s something very special about Detroit as far as music is concerned.

Q: What’s your take on the state of popular music?

Valli: There’s so much stuff that’s exactly alike. Identity is what’s missing. When you heard a Nat King Cole record, you knew it was Nat King Cole. Or Johnny Mathis or Billy Eckstine — you knew exactly who it was. Now you almost don’t know. A lot of today’s music is almost four chords. Entertainers have become politically involved, and it’s just put-downs about everything.

We live in America. This is the greatest country in the world. Doesn’t anybody really get that? What do we have to do to make people get it?

Gary Graff, The Daily Tribune: Thirty-five years ago, Frankie Valli notched his first No. 1 hit as a solo artist — “My Eyes Adored You.” It was also the first single for the fledgling Private Stock Records, which released it under Valli’s name only even though it was recorded by his group, the Four Seasons.

And, Valli says, it could have been a hit for Motown.

“Originally it was recorded for Motown,” says Valli, 76, and it was Motown’s refusal to release it (the Four Seasons were signed to the subsidiary MoWest at the time) that led to Valli and company’s departure from the label, which sold the song back to the group for $4,000.

“I can’t put the blame on Berry Gordy,” Valli says now. “It was Berry Gordy and (Motown executive) Suzanne DePasse who really believed in us, and I’m not sure that the promotional segment of their company really understood where we were. We were a white group on a totally black label. They also had Bobby Darin without any great success.


  1. Three words describe Frankie Valli– A class act.

    Comment by Bernice — October 23, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

  2. Boy, do I agree with Frankie about the music of today. He is truly a class act and a gentleman. I want to thank him for opening up his life and giving us “Jersey Boys”. Got to see him twice here in Houston and it was phenomenal.

    Comment by gladys — October 24, 2010 @ 4:45 am

  3. I would really like to know more details about “Sherry” breaking in Detroit. I know a lot of later songs were played in Southeastern Michigan first, but I wasn’t aware of the story behind “Sherry”. Joey Reynolds worked in the area at times over the years beginning in 1963, and I know he brought a lot of Four Seasons records to light.

    As far as the music of today, I miss acoustic instruments, and the elaborate arrangements that Charlie Calello and others were responsible for with FV4S, and other artists.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — October 24, 2010 @ 10:37 am

  4. The Motown years never got the promotion or respect from the industry that they deserved. I was well aware at the time of this music and all the releases were ignored by the radio stations around the country.The only released single that to my knowledge on the Billboard chart was Hickory in 1974. I think it peaked at #47.
    When you listen to these recordings today, they sound just as fresh as back then.
    As far as what is coming out today, most of it sounds the same and there is no individualality to what is out there.

    Comment by Marty Hoffer — October 24, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

  5. I think the current crop of true Pop fare for the next few years will be dominated by clones of The Jonas Brothers (A New Jersey Band BTW), Miley Cyrus, and Taylor Swift. And that’s the better, uplifting stuff. The rest will be just depressing.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — October 24, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

  6. Frank and Bob’s persistence and determination has to be admired.

    The Motown years were bleak yet they led the way for
    the comeback “My Eyes”. A pure gut feeling on their part. Then, the great comeback of The Four Seasons.

    Decades later, even after continued failed releases, what did we get?….Jersey Boys!!

    There’s a lesson here way beyond the music that we should pass on to our children. Never give up!

    Without the Motown experience and Jersey Boys they could have ended up as just another 60′s Oldies band,
    forgotten over time.


    Comment by Ray — October 25, 2010 @ 11:12 am

  7. Saw J boys in Las Vegas, second time first on Broadway Seen Frankie 3 times recently.. He is a living legend !!! The 4 Seasons are almost at the peak of their existance leaving sounds for the next generation. JBoys Movie will be a huge hit. While FRANKIE is 73, or 76, whatever we need a NEW SHOW AND LIVE ALBUM called “CHRONICLE” fifty plus years of FV and the 4 Seasons. I’ve produced it in my mind numerous times. IT should be his next concert tour ! # 1 AAAAAAAA Fan!!!!

    Comment by Bob T — October 26, 2010 @ 11:55 am

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