Oh, what a story. Frankie Valli, who came to fame in 1962 as the lead singer of the Four Seasons, is hotter than ever. Thanks to the volcanic success of the Tony-winning musical Jersey Boys, which chronicles the life and times of Frankie and his legendary group. Such classic songs as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” are all the rage, all over again. As the play recently surpassed the 10 year mark on Broadway, with touring companies of Jersey Boys travelling around the U.S. and a hit movie based on the musical, the real Frankie Valli is packing concert halls coast to coast.
But please don’t say that Frankie is back. The truth is, he never went away. Sure, the majority of the 71 chart hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (including 40 in the Top 40, 19 in the Top 10 and eight No. 1’s) came during the 1960s, the music didn’t just disappear. He has toured almost continuously since 1962, and his songs have been omnipresent in such movies as The Deer Hunter, Dirty Dancing, Mrs. Doubtfire, Conspiracy Theory and The Wanderers. As many as 200 artists have done cover versions of Frankie’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” from Nancy Wilson’s jazz treatment to Lauryn Hill’s hip-hop makeover. In 1962, when the unknown Seasons sang “Sherry” on American Bandstand, they suddenly became the hottest band in the land, and after nine years as a recording artist, Frankie Valli became an “overnight” sensation with a No. 1 record.
The group released one smash after another: Big Girls Don’t Cry” , “Walk Like a Man.” “Dawn (Go Away),” “Ronnie,” “Rag Doll,” “Save It For Me,” “Big Man in Town”, “Bye Bye Baby (Baby, Goodbye).” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, Who Loves You” and “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night).”
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons sold more than 100 million records and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, only five years after the Hall opened. Jersey Boys continues introduce the music of Frankie Valli to new generations, and the man himself shows no signs of slowing down, entertaining sold out audiences near and far.
As his character says at the end of Jersey Boys: “Like that bunny on TV with the battery, I just keep going and going and going.”
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