October 12, 2007

Why Jersey Boys and The Four Seasons Matter

October 12th, 2007

Louis R. Carlozo of the Chicago Tribune states that The Four Seasons were the originals! He notes that it’s easy — too easy — to write off The Four Seasons as a passing whiff of the celebratory ’60s, a band with an impossibly high-pitched singer that got left in the dust of Beatlemania, now reduced to three surviving members trying to scrounge up a little late-life glory and lucre with the musical drama Jersey Boys.

On any point of that score, you’d be dead wrong.

Just as Jersey Boys welds personal drama onto music that remains lyrically and harmonically inventive, it also calls for revisiting just what made Frankie Valli and company so great in the first place — and why the show based on the group’s life story should cause music fans, the theater crowd and pop culture vultures alike to take serious notice.

If the roots of the Top 10 list come straight from the heart of the record charts (hey, even if it doesn’t), Carlozo’s gives us 10 reasons why Jersey Boys (and The Four Seasons) matter! Here’s a preview of his Top 10 List:

Finally, a musical men can love
As a guy, you might prefer synchronized swimming on ESPN2 over a musical. But rest assured: The unrepentant, sublime machismo of the Four Seasons music promises to reverse the order of things. West Coast previews of “Jersey Boys” drew men in droves — often more than once — to immerse themselves in the autobiographical stage show.

“This is the rarity — this is a guy’s show, and usually with theater, it’s the women who are dragging the men there,” Gaudio says.

It’s time Frankie Valli and company got their due
Though the Four Seasons made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, they’ve been snubbed by classic-rock radio. Still, they proved pivotal in the ’60s, bridging doo-wop and rock while innovating in sound (1965′s “Let’s Hang On” was one of the first hits with fuzz guitar).

“They were very important,” says Stu Shea, co-author of “Fab Four FAQ” (Hal Leonard). “They were very popular with their contemporaries — all the British groups were big fans, including the Beatles. They were very, very into R&B and soul. If you look at their mid-’60s records, they were very much showing a heavy R&B influence, the Motown influence.”


  1. Some of us were discussing the rumors about how “Please Please Me” ended up being released by Vee Jay in 1963 on another thread. It’s interesting to finally hear the whole story from Mr. Gaudio. Again, how ironic that the Four Seasons’ total chart domination would be cut short in 1964 by the group whose record the Four Seasons had brought back from England and left in the Vee Jay offices.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — October 12, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

  2. Wow, our Jersey Boys are getting terrific press in Chicago. I can’t believe all the in depth articles and interviews. They are gonna rock that town!!

    Comment by LindaL — October 13, 2007 @ 11:40 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI

Please leave a comment