“Loneliness is a cloak you wear…
A deep shade of blue is always there.
Emptiness is a place you’re in…
With nothing to lose but no more to win”
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were the link between the golden age of vocal music (doo wop, vocal pop) and the pop/rock of the 1960’s and 1970’s. While they integrated aspects of all genres, their music featured intricate vocal arrangements and instrumental hooks that kept both Four Seasons and Frankie Valli solo singles on the charts for the better part of three decades. The Newark, New Jersey based group was founded on backbone of lead vocalist Frankie Valli, fellow Season and writer Bob Gaudio and producer Bob Crewe. After several years and many different incarnations, this dream team released the single ‘Sherry’ in 1962 on Vee Jay Records. The Four Seasons were the only white vocal group on the label’s roster and they began a string of hits unrivaled in pop music.
While the group continued, Valli released intermittent solo singles to radio. The songs were backed by the same production and writing team, the only difference being that Valli did not use his falsetto range on these tracks. The song ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)’ was released as a Frankie Valli solo single in the fall of 1965. It was his first solo effort since hitting the charts with the Four Seasons, and did not become a hit due to the amount of Four Seasons singles still in the U.S. top ten at the time. The song did reappear in 1966 as massive hit for The Walker Brothers, taking the Gaudio-penned classic to the top of the charts. Valli’s version was a very impacting production, and by keeping his voice in its natural register, set the stage for his solo smashes through the next decade, including the ethereal ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’.
The importance of the Frankie Valli catalog can be heard in the songs and production of many other New Jersey-based rock artists, most notably Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and Bruce Springsteen (compare “The River” album, ‘Your Own Worst Enemy’). This music has also made a massive impact on Broadway, with the “Jersey Boys” musical taking home multiple Tony Awards and playing to sold out shows nightly. While Valli continues to perform with a revamped Four Seasons, Bob Gaudio, his partner in the Four Seasons enterprise, is retired from stage work. The continued success of this material only proves the durability of quality material performed by expert musicians. While we continue to search for new artists to take up the torch, we can still enjoy the unearthed back catalog of pop masters like Frankie Valli.