by Robert Wilkinson
Today is the birthday of the amazing musical genius behind the Four Seasons, the great Bob Gaudio. Even though the world focused its spotlight on Taurus Frankie Valli 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 all these and more. Today we feature some video clips of the group at their finest.
As I've told you in previous birthday celebrations, Bob Gaudio was a child musical prodigy who performed a Carnegie Hall recital at 7 years old and originally made his mark as founder, songwriter, and star of the Royal Teens ("Short Shorts").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!
Here's Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons on the Popendipity tv program in 1967 performing a medley of their hits Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, I've Got You Under My Skin and Bye Bye Baby.
A 1965 Four Seasons medley on Hullabaloo of Dawn, Rag Doll, Toy Soldier, and Bye Bye Baby Goodbye The medley may have had 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!
A 1966 medley by the Four Seasons, including You're Going to Hurt Yourself and Working My Way Back to You
Last year I had a video of the 4 Seasons doing the major hit, "Walk Like A Man" but it's been pulled since then. So this year I have the original studio version with a collection of photos. If you want to remember this great hit as we first heard it almost 50 years ago, here's "Walk Like A Man."
Here's a great live 1966 performance of "I've Got You Under My Skin"
Frankie's first big one! Here's Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You in 1967. Another live performance by Frankie with the 4 Seasons of "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" here, and a solo performance by Frankie at this link.
Dawn (Go Away) - from the early 80s.
A strange staged "music video" of the Four Seasons not exactly performing Rag Doll lip synched all the way.
Another staged "music video" of Frankie and the 4 Seasons doing their hit "Opus 17 (Don't You Worry About Me)"
An interesting video remix of Beggin
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.
A great mini-documentary from VOA news, Singer Frankie Valli Going Strong at 74
(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 2010 Robert Wilkinson