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From the Land of Band Box Records

FROM ROYAL TEENS TO RECORDING ROYALTY

The Four Seasons’ roots began in 1953 with the formation of the Variations  which included Frankie Valley (spelling at that time) and Tommy DeVito, along with Frank Cattone, Hank Majewski and Billy Thompson.  They went through several name changes before settling on The Four Lovers in 1956 – settling in with a quartet adding Nicolas DeVito with “Frankie Valli, Majewski and and Tommy. (Other names included Frankie Valley and the Travelers, The Village Voices and the Topics (there were nearly 20 different names under which they performed).

In 1959 the Lovers worked along side of the popular Royal Teens a group which included 15-year old Bob Gaudio, composer of their smash hit
Short Shorts.  Gaudio was invited into the Lovers replacing Majewski.   In 1958 Nick Massi had been replaced by Charles Calello in 1958 and then in turn was replaced by Massi with Calello staying on with the group as an arranger.

Image result for hank majewski

Valli – Tommy DeVito and Hank Majewski

By 1960 the group adopted a new name, The Four Seasons, taking their name from a bowling alley located in New Jersey.  In 1961 the Four Seasons hitched their wagon to the services of producer Bob Crewe but still mainly as background musicians and still performing under an array of names.  The first magic stroke came with the Bob Crewe/Bob Gaudio collaboration, “Sherry” a true game changer.  It would be the start of a solid run, with the band leading all other American groups in record sales from 1962 into 1964 with the exception of the West Coast Beach Boys.

Gaudio was perhaps the most consistent hit writer who was a member of a group during his time with the Four Seasons, sometimes working alone – sometimes with others exceeded by a few others such as by Brian Wilson and Smokey Robinson of the Miracles.

Image result for Bob Gaudio and Royal Teens

Unlike many acts, a shift to a new label which was prompted by difficulties Vee Jay records experienced after enjoying a deluge of orders for their Beatles’ pressings – packaged over and over again to optimized the meteoric rise to fame of the Fab Four, did not result in a fading away from the pop spotlight..  During that time with Vee Jay the Four Seasons experienced royalty payment problems and so elected to make the move to Philips Records in 1964.

Vee Jay, much in the same spirit as with the Beatles’ catalog, would retain rights to the Four Seasons early materials and continued to release tracks during their time with Philips, and thus the band scored hits with both labels for a time.

Nick Massi would once again depart the band in 1965 replaced temporarily again by Calello.  Then they obtained the services of Joe Long in late 1965 who would remain until 1975.  The band made an unrewarding move to Motown in 1971.  Throughout the latter part of their Philips run, and during their time with Motown, Frankie Valli would often release solos many of which did quite well.

The band came storming back in in 1975 with a new lineup which included Valli, Don Ciccone who came from The Critters, and Gerry Polci – both of whom provided lead vocals when called upon.  They cashed in with two monster hits, “Who Loves You” which reached number 3 on Billboard and then in 1976, Gaudio teaming up with writer Judy Parker (who  he would marry) landed their fifth number 1 hit with “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)”.  That hit marked the charting years demise, with three more appearances in the Hot 100, and with December 1963 returning in 1994 with a disco mix, charting at number 14 – their final time on the charts.

Their were many, many “Four Seasons” over the years from the 1960’s all the way into 2015 – over 40 in fact.  Gaudio worked with many successful artists including Michael Jackson, Nancy Sinatra, Diana Ross and Neil Diamond to name a few.

BOB GAUDIO COMPOSER CREDITS (CHARTING SINGLES)

Vee Jay 456 – Sherry – #1 for 5 Weeks – August, 1962 Chart Entry

Vee Jay 465 – Big Girls Don’t Cry – #1 for 5 Weeks – October, 1962 Chart Entry

Vee Jay 485 – Walk Like A Man – #1 for 3 Weeks – January, 1963 Chart Entry
(co-composer Bob Crewe)

Vee Jay 539 – Marlena – #3 – July, 1963 Chart Entry (B side of Candy Girl)

Philips 40166 – Dawn (Go Away) – #3 – February, 1964 Chart Entry

Philips 40185 – Ronnie – #6 – April, 1964 Chart Entry

Philips 40211 – Rag Doll – #1 for 2 Weeks – June, 1964 Chart Entry
(Co composed with Bob Crewe)

Philips 40225 – Save It For Me – #10 – August, 1964 Chart Entry
(Co composed with Bob Crewe)

Philips 40238 – Big Man In Town – #20, November, 1964 Chart Entry

Philips 40260 – Bye, Bye Baby (Baby, Goodbye) – #12, January, 1965 Chart Entry

Philips 40278 – Toy Soldier – #64 – April, 1965 Chart Entry

Philips 40305 – Girl Come Running – #30 – June, 1965 Chart Entry
(Co Composed with Bob Crewe)

Vee Jay 713 – Little Boy (In Grown Up Clothes) – #60 – December, 1965 Chart Entry
(Co Composed with Bob Crewe)

Philips 40433 – Beggin’ – #16 – Chart Entry March, 1967
(Co composed with P. Farina)

Philips 40597 – Idaho – #95 – Chart Entry April, 1969
(Co composed with J. Holmes)

Philips 40597 – Idaho – #98 – Chart Entry March, 1969
(Co composed with J. Holmes)

Warner Bros. WBS 8122 – Who Loves You – #3 – August, 1975 Chart Entry
(Co composed with Judy Parker)

Warner Bros. WBS 8168 – December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) – #1 for 3 Weeks – December, 1975 Chart Entry
(Co composed with Judy Parker)

Warner Bros. WBS 8203 – Silver Star – #38 – Chart Entry May, 1976
(Co composed with Judy Parker)

Warner Bros. WBS 8407 – Down the Hall – #65 – Chart Entry July, 1977
(Co composed with Judy Parker)

Warner Bros. WBS 49597 – Spend The Night In Love – #91 – Chart Entry December, 1980
(Co composed with Judy Parker – Lenny Lee Goldsmith)

Curb 76917 – December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) – #14 – Chart Entry August, 1994 – Disco Mix
(The final Four Season Charting Record)

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