by Robert Wilkinson
Today we wish Bob Gaudio a very happy birthday, and may you have many, many more. Though some who have lived on Mars from the 60s to the present have never heard of him, he was the musical genius behind the Four Seasons. While Taurus Frankie Valli held the spotlight with his 3 1/2 octave voice belting out hits like "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry, "Dawn (Go Away)," "Rag Doll," and "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You," (to name but a few of their many hits) it was Bob Gaudio who wrote these and more. Today I've found a few video clips of the group at their finest.
Bob Gaudio was a child musical prodigy who performed a Carnegie Hall recital at 7 years old and originally made his mark as founder, songwriter, and star of the Royal Teens ("Short Shorts"). Reintroduced to Frankie Valli by Joe Pesci (yes, THAT Joe Pesci of "My Cousin Vinnie" fame!) he became the musical director and organist singing harmony in many years of hitmaking with the 4 Seasons.
The music of the Four Seasons affected literally tens of millions of people for about a decade. His collaborator in the remarkable string of multi-million selling singles and albums throughout the 60s was fellow Scorpio Bob Crewe, who co-wrote most of the hits and co-produced and arranged the "sound" of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
These two Scorpios created songs that rivaled the best ever written. Their collaborations succeeded in topping the charts every few months in an era when most of the top spots were owned by the Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys, Supremes, Kinks, Animals, Four Tops, Temptations, Ray Charles, Mamas and the Papas, Stevie Wonder, Simon and Garfunkel, Young Rascals, Lovin' Spoonful, all the way to the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi, Janis, the Who, and other major competition. Remember - this was an awesome era in music.
So for your enjoyment, here are a few video clips of the band at their best. And yes, Frankie really IS hitting those unbelievable high notes! The medley may have been on "Hullabaloo" with other instruments hidden from the cameras and whatever primitive tricks and backing tracks they used in teevee music shows back then, but his phrasing clearly shows he wasn't lip synching! In the separate production of "Big Girls Don't Cry," you will note neither guitarist has cords, but they still at least act like they're playing and don't mug too much. Enjoy!
The Four Seasons - December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) - Written by Gaudio, performed with a different lineup than the original Four Seasons, and the first time anyone but Frankie sang at least part of the lead.
(On a final note, lest you think Bob Gaudio was a mere 30 hit wonder, he also went on to work with Peabo Bryson, Roberta Flack, Eric Carmen, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, and of course, with Frankie Valli wrote the Tony and Grammy award winning Broadway musical, "Jersey Boys," based on their life story with the Four Seasons.)
© Copyright 2007 Robert Wilkinson