In Season: The Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons Anthology

In Season: The Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons Anthology

by Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons gave doo-wop a backbeat, influenced the Beach Boys with their daunting harmonies, rocked the charts in two separate decades, scored some of the biggest sales in pop history, and possessed -- thanks to the stratospheric falsetto that loomed at the top of Frankie Valli's three-and-a-half-octave range -- one of


Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons gave doo-wop a backbeat, influenced the Beach Boys with their daunting harmonies, rocked the charts in two separate decades, scored some of the biggest sales in pop history, and possessed -- thanks to the stratospheric falsetto that loomed at the top of Frankie Valli's three-and-a-half-octave range -- one of the most ear-opening lead singers on the planet. But somehow, when lists of great pop bands are assembled, they never seem to make the cut. As Valli himself might put it, big stars don't cry. Still, the 51-song Fankie Valli & the 4 Seasons Anthology goes a long way to making a case for this groundbreaking pop group. The songwriting team of 4 Seasons member Bob Gaudio and producer Bob Crewe made the music deeper than the teen sheen of songs like "Sherry" and "Let's Hang On" might suggest. Revisiting these AM-radio staples, the ambitious vocals swirl like a perfectly choreographed game of Twister around Valli's astounding, gender-bending voice. And Crewe's ingeniously swelling arrangements -- such as the brassy chorus of "Can't Take My Eyes off You" or the ringing bells and sweeping strings on Valli's 1965 solo effort "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" (later a hit for the Walker Brothers) -- have a dramatic flair that would make Neil Diamond jealous. Of course, they had a sense of humor too, most notably reflected in the truly bizarre cover of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice It's Alright," which the band wisely released under the nom de rock the Wonder Who? But the hits make a mockery of the precious few lowlights here. Listen to the closing tracks -- "My Eyes Adored You" "Swearin' to God," the disco glory of "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)," and Valli's solo turn on "Grease" -- and you are hearing one of the greatest second acts in rock history. Like their onetime rivals the Beatles, Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons made music that cut across generational bounds. And like the best pop, it still does.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
For those who've lived under a rock for almost 50 years, this review will mean less than nothing. The rest of us have no doubt encountered -- on some television program, a commercial for a K-Tel oldies collection, or, in rarer cases, songs floating in the background on a film soundtrack -- Frankie Valli's shattering falsetto fronting his rock and doo wop band, the Four Seasons. As certainly as other artists of the period are known by their signatures -- the Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Miracles, the Shirelles, Dion and the Belmonts -- the Four Seasons are instantly recognized by Valli's lead vocal and flawless three- and four-part harmony, strung with lines of blue-collar American poetry. To the people of New Jersey and other parts of America, the Four Seasons were every bit as much a part of the early pop scene as the Beatles and the Beach Boys -- and preceded both of them with an original lineup that recorded chart singles as early as 1955 and made an appearance on Ed Sullivan in 1959! Rhino Records it seems is in agreement with this premise and has undertaken a crusade to convince critics and the general public that somehow a group that sold literally millions of records has not been given enough attention. To this end they've issued this two-disc anthology and a separate disc of B-sides and other underappreciated "golden nuggets" by the classic Four Seasons lineup of Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi. Evidenced by this anthology alone, there is no disputing that the Four Seasons were very special, a singular East Coast supergroup who managed to keep rock & roll exciting and surprisingly white bread at the same time. Parents dug 'em as well as teenagers, which is probably why "critics" at the time -- there wasn't any formal rock criticism yet -- hated them. They weren't dangerous enough. The music here contains all the hits: "Sherry," "Big Girls, Don't Cry," "Stay," "Walk Like a Man," "Dawn (Go Away)," "Candy Girl," "Let's Hang on to What We've Got," and so on. Disc one alone contains 23 essential Four Seasons sides from 1962 to 1966 -- all of which charted. That's a hell of a run. The story is a complex one: they had their own writers (Gaudio, Bob Crewe, Judy Parker, etc.); they were a trad rock combo with a killer producer in Crewe; and they later embraced material from outside their insular world from writers like Burt Bacharach ("Let's Hang On...") and Bob Dylan ("Don't Think Twice It's Alright"). But it doesn't stop there; after various members left the group, Valli -- at least as far as the labels and charts were concerned -- became a solo act though Bob Gaudio and Valli remained partners until the end, and the Four Seasons recorded under Valli's name variously, including the 1976 smash "December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)." The final five tracks of disc one and all of disc two -- 23 tracks -- follow Valli's career through until the issue of his final hit, "Grease," in 1978. The music and notation of where the singles were recorded, who for, date, and catalogue numbers would have sufficed. A history is also necessary, but Anthology producer Gary Stewart and his liner note scribe Pat Sierchio have insisted on beating us over the head with a Four Seasons apologia that at every turn claims to set the record straight by making endless aesthetic comparisons and making sure we know every single time the band charted as high as the Beatles, or recorded a riff or vocal worthy of Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards or Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson. After two pages it's boring, a chore to get through, and you find yourself thumbing to the back to find the label and chart position without reading any more of the pompous drivel that passes for liner notes. Valli's and the 4 Seasons' music stands on its own; it is classic and enduring in every sense of the word; it needs no apology and will be a necessary part of American popular music history forever. So, for the truly wonderful, innovative music on this collection, Anthology gets a solid ten, but because of its hopelessly embarrassing and tongue-wagging press release that passes for archival liner notes, as a package it gets only a seven. Yo! Frankie: Next time, leave the notes to someone who doesn't want to carry your slippers.

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Disc 1

  1. Sherry
  2. Sherry
  3. Big Girls Don't Cry
  4. Big Girls Don't Cry
  5. Connie-O
  6. Peanuts
  7. Peanuts
  8. Alone (Why Must I Be Alone)
  9. Alone (Why Must I Be Alone)
  10. Walk Like a Man
  11. Walk Like a Man
  12. Ain't That a Shame
  13. Ain't That a Shame
  14. Candy Girl
  15. Candy Girl
  16. Marlena
  17. Marlena
  18. Stay
  19. Stay
  20. Little Boy (In Grown Up Clothes)
  21. Little Boy (In Grown Up Clothes)
  22. Dawn (Go Away)
  23. Dawn (Go Away)
  24. Silence Is Golden
  25. Silence Is Golden
  26. Ronnie
  27. Ronnie
  28. Rag Doll
  29. Rag Doll
  30. Save It for Me
  31. Save It for Me
  32. Big Man in Town
  33. Big Man in Town
  34. Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)
  35. Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)
  36. Betrayed
  37. Betrayed
  38. Toy Soldier
  39. Toy Soldier
  40. Girl Come Running
  41. Girl Come Running
  42. Let's Hang On (To What We've Got)
  43. Let's Hang On (To What We've Got)
  44. Don't Think Twice (It's All Right)
  45. Don't Think Twice (It's All Right)
  46. The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)
  47. The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)
  48. (You're Gonna) Hurt Yourself
  49. (You're Gonna) Hurt Yourself
  50. Working My Way Back to You
  51. Working My Way Back to You
  52. You're Ready Now
  53. You're Ready Now
  54. Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me)
  55. Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me)
  56. I've Got You Under My Skin
  57. I've Got You Under My Skin

Disc 2

  1. Can't Take My Eyes off You
  2. Can't Take My Eyes off You
  3. C'mon Marianne
  4. C'mon Marianne
  5. The Proud One
  6. The Proud One
  7. Tell It to the Rain
  8. Beggin'
  9. Beggin'
  10. Lonesome Road
  11. Lonesome Road
  12. I Make a Fool of Myself
  13. I Make a Fool of Myself
  14. Watch the Flowers Grow
  15. Watch the Flowers Grow
  16. To Give (The Reason I Live)
  17. To Give (The Reason I Live)
  18. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
  19. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
  20. Idaho
  21. Idaho
  22. The Girl I'll Never Know (Angels Never Fly This Low)
  23. The Girl I'll Never Know (Angels Never Fly This Low)
  24. And That Reminds Me (My Heart Reminds Me) Patch of Blue
  25. And That Reminds Me (My Heart Reminds Me) Patch of Blue
  26. Patch of Blue
  27. Patch of Blue
  28. My Eyes Adored You
  29. My Eyes Adored You
  30. Swearin' to God
  31. Swearin' to God
  32. Who Loves You
  33. Who Loves You
  34. Our Day Will Come
  35. Our Day Will Come
  36. December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)
  37. December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)
  38. Silver Star
  39. Silver Star
  40. Fallen Angel
  41. Fallen Angel
  42. Grease
  43. Grease

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons   Primary Artist,Track Performer
Frankie Valli   Vocals,Background Vocals,Group Member
Dave Appell   Conductor
Jerry Corbetta   Keyboards,Group Member
Artie Schroeck   Conductor
Bob Crewe   Conductor
Barry Gibb   Conductor
Albhy Galuten   Conductor
Sid Bass   Conductor
Herb Bernstein   Conductor
Charles Calello   Bass,Conductor,Group Member
Vinnie Colaiuta   Guitar,Group Member
Paulinho Da Costa   Percussion,Drums,Group Member
Hutch Davie   Conductor
Bob Gaudio   Conductor,Keyboards,Vocals,Group Member
Robert Grim   Guitar,Group Member
Larry Lingle   Guitar,Rhythm,Group Member
Joe Long   Bass,Bass Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
John Paiva   Guitar,Rhythm,Group Member
Gerry Polci   Percussion,Drums,Group Member
Denny Randell   Conductor
Rex Robinson   Bass,Group Member
Robbie Robinson   Keyboards,Group Member
Warren Schatz   Conductor
Lee Shapiro   Conductor,Keyboards,Group Member
Tim Stone   Keyboards,Group Member
Hank Medress   Conductor
Don Ciccone   Guitar,Group Member
Tommy DeVito   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Nick Massi   Bass,Vocals,Group Member
Wonder Who?   Track Performer
Chuck Wilson   Percussion,Drums,Group Member
Ruzicka   Keyboards,Group Member
Joe Scott   Conductor
Clay Jordan   Guitar,Group Member

Technical Credits

Bob Dylan   Composer
Carole King   Composer
Maurice Williams   Composer
Dave Appell   Producer,Orchestral Arrangements
Dave Bartholomew   Composer
Gerry Goffin   Composer
Jake Holmes   Composer
Larry Santos   Composer
Artie Schroeck   Arranger,Orchestral Arrangements
Bob Crewe   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Orchestral Arrangements
Kenny Nolan   Composer
Richard Fariña   Composer
Barry Gibb   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Orchestral Arrangements
Albhy Galuten   Arranger,Producer,Orchestral Arrangements
Gene Austin   Composer
Sid Bass   Arranger,Orchestral Arrangements
Herb Bernstein   Arranger,Orchestral Arrangements
Charles Calello   Arranger,Composer,Orchestral Arrangements
Roy Cicala   Engineer
Gordon Clark   Engineer
Hutch Davie   Arranger
Michael Delugg   Engineer
Fats Domino   Composer
Tom Dowd   Engineer
Guy Fletcher   Composer
Val Garay   Engineer
Mort Garson   Composer
Bob Gaudio   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Orchestral Arrangements
Bob Hilliard   Composer
Bill Inglot   Producer
Sandy Linzer   Composer
Bill MacMeeken   Engineer
Steve Maslow   Engineer
Judy Parker   Composer
Gary Peterson   Discographical Annotation
Cole Porter   Composer
Billy Radice   Engineer
Denny Randell   Arranger,Composer,Orchestral Arrangements
Karl Richardson   Producer,Engineer
Robbie Robinson   Music Direction
Rick Ruggieri   Engineer
Warren Schatz   Arranger,Orchestral Arrangements
Lee Shapiro   Arranger,Orchestral Arrangements
Stillman   Composer
Hank Medress   Arranger,Producer,Orchestral Arrangements
Mike Petrillo   Composer
Doug Flett   Composer
Nick Massi   Vocal Arrangements
Maria Villar   Art Direction
Steve Woolard   Discographical Annotation
Morty Craft   Composer
Robert Gaudio   Memorabilia
Camillo Bargoni   Composer
Raymond Bloodworth   Composer
Selma Craft   Composer
Daniel Goldmark   Editorial Research
Joe Scott   Arranger
Nathaniel Shilkret   Composer
L. Russell Brown   Composer
Peggy Farina   Composer
Bob Guadido   Composer
Joe Cook   Composer
Cifelli   Composer
Lawrence Santos   Composer

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