High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Monday, December 7, 2009

Valli's Peaks - The Very Best of Frankie & the Four Seasons!

In the 1950's a group of Jersey boys led by Franki Valli recorded R&B material as the Four Lovers and as Frankie Valli & The Romans.

In November of 1961 the group recorded two songs that would become their first releases using the name the Four Seasons.

Released on the Gone imprint “Bermuda” and “Spanish Lace” were refreshingly different pop songs with exotic themes and Latin rhythms. For record buyers steeped in mainstream rock ‘n roll the songs were perhaps a bit too different. Neither side of the single saw any chart action.

While "Bermuda" and "Spanish Lace" failed to attract nationwide attention the songs became minor hits in the
mid-Atlantic region and won the group enough of a fan following to warrant further recording opportunities.

Please listen now to these two sensational Four Seasons songs beginning with this clip which contains the two original 45rpm mono mixes:

Now, here is the remastered CD version of "Spanish Lace":

The lighter pop sound achieved by the Four Seasons on “Bermuda” and “Spanish Lace” would prove to be highly successful in the years ahead, netting the group a long string of hits starting with "Sherry," their first release on VeeJay.

In the spring of 1963, the Four Seasons released an excellent reworking of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t it a Shame.” With the title slightly modified to “Ain’t That a Shame,” the Seasons single went to #22 on the Billboard chart. "Shame" didn't pop the first time I heard it but after repeated listens it has become a favorite.

I couldn't find a clip of the entire song and that is a shame...but here's a sample:

As a solo act in the summer of 1967 Frankie Valli hit big with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” Yet, it is Valli’s recording of “The Proud One,” a non-hit single released the previous fall, that is my Pick to Click.

Reaching its Billboard zenith at a surprisingly modest #68
this majestic Frankie Valli recording is a solid candidate for the Shady’s Law Hall of Fame.

Up next, my favorite Four Seasons song. When I hear "Beggin'" I don't automatically think of the Dell. I remember the song being played on the jukebox at Bud's Drive-In, one of my other hangouts. Bud's was located across the hill from the Dell on George Street trail.

“Beggin’” was popular at Bud’s and across the USA during March and April of 1967 and finished in the top 20 on Billboard. The drama laden song has a haunting melancholy feel that I find irresistible.

Last but not least please listen to this smashing original version of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" - a song written by the Seasons' Bob Gaudio and producer Bob Crewe and turned into an international hit by the Walker Brothers.

In recent years the enormous popularity of the Jersey Boys tribute act spawned renewed interest in Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and introduced their music to a new generation.

Frankie and his group were cookin' with "Sherry" and it's intoxicating. Most of us are quite familiar with all of their
best sellers. Those who are willing to do some exploring off the beaten path, however, will discover Valli's peaks...the very best of the Four Seasons.

Have a Shady day!

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