The Four Seasons

This highly acclaimed New Jersey, USA vocal group first came together in the mid-50s with a line-up comprising vocalists Frankie Valli (b. Francis Castelluccio, 3 May 1937, Newark, New Jersey, USA), brothers Nick and Tommy DeVito (b. 19 June 1936, Bellville, New Jersey, USA) and Hank Majewski. Initially known as the Variatones, then the Four Lovers, they enjoyed a minor US hit in 1956 with "You're The Apple Of My Eye", composed by Otis Blackwell. After being dropped by RCA Records, they recorded a single for Epic, following which Valli departed in 1958. As a soloist he released "I Go Ape", composed by singer Bob Crewe. Meanwhile, the Four Lovers released several records under pseudonymous names, during which Nick DeVito and Majewski departed to be replaced by Nick Massi (b. Nicholas Macioci, 19 September 1935, Newark, New Jersey, USA, d. 24 December 2000, Newark, New Jersey, USA) and Bob Gaudio (b. 17 December 1942, the Bronx, New York, USA), a former member of the Royal Teens. After combining with Crewe and Gaudio, the group evolved into the Four Seasons, recording the single "Bermuda"/"Spanish Lace" for the End label, before signing with Vee Jay Records.

There, they released "Sherry", which reached number 1 in the USA in September 1962. A brilliant example of falsetto, harmony pop, the track established the group as one of America's most popular. Two months later, they were back at the top with the powerful "Big Girls Don't Cry" and achieved the same feat the following March with the equally powerful "Walk Like A Man". All these hits were underpinned by lustrous, soaring harmonies and thick up-front production, which gave the Seasons a sound that was totally unique in pop at that time. Their international fame continued throughout 1964 when they met fierce competition from the Beatles. A sign of their standing was evinced by Vee Jay's release of a battle of the bands album featuring the Seasons and the Beatles. Significantly, when the Fab Four held four of the Top 5 positions in the Billboard chart during early 1964, the Four Seasons represented the solitary competition with "Dawn (Go Away)" at number 3. The sublime "Rag Doll" brought them back to the top in the summer of 1964. Nick Massi left the group the following year and was replaced by Charles Calello and then Joe Long. It was during this period that they playfully released a version of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" under the pseudonym the Wonder Who?.

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