CLOSE YOUR EYES. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. OPEN YOUR HEART.

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR
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
HELLO STRANGER ... IT SEEMS LIKE A MIGHTY LONG TIME!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sounds of the Seasons


It's that time of the year when we
enjoy the sounds of the Seasons.

No, "Seasons" isn't a typo.
I'm pleased to report that

THE FOUR SEASONS

are back on SDM&M and they
brought along some friends.

Let's play Six Degrees of

FRANKIE VALLI

and meet today's guests.
Wonder Who they are...


 THE FOUR SEASONS 

When "Sherry" became a chart topping hit in the
fall of 1962 and the follow-up, "Big Girls Don't Cry,"
reached #1 two months later, the Four Seasons
were well on their way to becoming one of the most
popular and successful recording acts of the decade.


The third single released by Frankie Valli and his
group was the top 25 charting Christmas record
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

 "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" - The Four Seasons 
 (Christmas 1962, highest chart position #23) 




Many people don't know that the now famous
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons made some
excellent records years earlier in the 50s.


 THE FOUR LOVERS 

In 1956 Frankie and his group the Four Lovers
became one of the first white R&B acts in the
record business. The Four Lovers specialized in
romantic ballads, but it was an uptempo recording,
"You're the Apple of My Eye," that first got them
noticed. The single went to #62 on the pop chart,
high enough to land the Valli boys a coveted
spot on The Ed Sullivan Show.


It's the flip side of "Apple," however, that thrills me
me to the core. "The Girl in My Dreams" was a cover
of a ballad recorded by Jesse Belvin and Eugene Church
using the stage name The Cliques. Listen to a young
Frankie Valli and the Four Lovers performing their
version of "The Girl in My Dreams."

 "The Girl in My Dreams" - The Four Lovers 
 (June 1956, uncharted B side of 
 "You're the Apple of My Eye) 




1964 was a huge year for the Four Seasons. 
The original Jersey boys landed seven top 40 
singles on the chart in that twelve month span 
including the #1 hit "Rag Doll."  Is it any wonder
a Brooklyn act calling themselves the Four-Evers
(aka Four Evers), one that produced a group
harmony sound that mimicked the Four Seasons,
was believed by some to be Frankie Valli and
company making records under another name?
Remember when the Four Seasons
were The Wonder Who?


 THE WONDER WHO? 

What originally began as a "joke" falsetto 
recording by Frankie Valli turned into the
release of four singles by the Four Seasons
using the name The Wonder Who?


The first and most successful single released by
The Wonder Who? was a rendition of the Bob Dylan
song "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," a top 10
hit for Peter, Paul and Mary in 1963.

 "Don't Think Twice" - The Wonder Who? 
 (December 1965, highest chart position #12) 




The third single released by the Four Seasons as
The Wonder Who? was "The Lonesome Road,"
a song first recorded in 1927 and subsequently
waxed by more than 200 name artists.

 "The Lonesome Road" - The Wonder Who? 
 (July 1967, highest chart position #89) 





 THE FOUR-EVERS 

Now let's hear some of the great recordings that were
made by those Four Seasons imitators, the Four-Evers.
With a few breaks along the way, the Four-Evers
might have rivaled the success of the Four Seasons.


Featuring Joey DiBenedetto on lead vocals, the
Four-Evers performed excellent white New York
vocal group doo-wop. Late in 1961 the Four-Evers
recorded an exciting up tempo arrangement of
"You Belong to Me" and released it early in '62.
 The Four-Evers' record actually predated by a few
months the ballad version of "You Belong to Me"
that became a hit for the Duprees. This, ladies
and gents, is the stuff of which dreams are made!

 "You Belong to Me" - The Four-Evers 
 (March 1962, uncharted) 




In 1963 the Four-Evers began working with
Bob Crewe, the man who helped write and produce
many of the hit records made by the Four Seasons.
Crewe enlisted Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons to
produce the Four-Evers' debut single for Smash.


"Lover, Come Back to Me" was released around
the time President Kennedy was assassinated.
Like many other great records that fell through
the cracks while a stunned nation was mourning
the loss of the chief executive, "Lover Come
Back to Me" failed to chart.

 "Lover, Come Back to Me" - The Four-Evers
 (November 1963, uncharted) 





The Four-Evers achieved their biggest hit with
"Please Be Mine," a song written by Bob Gaudio.
Less than 100 Smash singles were reportedly pressed
before the title was changed to "Be My Girl." The
record spent the month of June 1964 struggling up
the chart and finished at a disappointing #75.
Win, place, show or scratch, "Be My Girl"
is nuthin' but great Brooklyn doo-wop!

 "Be My Girl" ("Please Be Mine") - The Four-Evers
 (June 1964, highest chart position #75) 





My eyes roll back in my head when I listen
to the glorious harmony on this last featured
Four-Evers release. As one You/Tube commenter
raves, this record is "the pinnacle of white, NYC
doo wop in the early 60's. Magnificent lead with
great background vocals." I agree wholeheartedly!

 "(Say I Love You) Doo Bee Dum" - The Four-Evers
 (September 1964, highest chart position #119) 






 THE RAG DOLLS 

Meanwhile, Bob Crewe was also busy creating a female
version of the Four Seasons, and in 1964 the Rag Dolls
were born. Like the Pixies Three, our local girl group
stars, the Rag Dolls were a trio consisting of lead
singer and popular session vocalist Jean Thomas
along with Mikie Harris and Susie Lewis.


In the fall of '64 the Rag Dolls barely cracked
the Hot 100 with their first single, "Society Girl,"
an answer song to "Rag Doll."


In the winter of '65 the Rag Dolls again harnessed
the sound of the Seasons with their follow-up 
"Dusty" which made a convincing run at top 50.

 "Dusty" - The Rag Dolls 
 (Feb. 1965, highest chart pos. #55) 




Thanks for joining the fun!

The real sounds of the season

are coming up in my next post.

I hope to see you then, my friend!

Have a Shady day!

28 comments:

  1. Hi there 'Same Day Shady!' Poor you having to go Christmas shopping!!! Would you believe that my hubby has never done that. He just wakes up on Christmas morning and Christmas has arrived!! By the way, I saw on Karo's blog that you are a big fan of Brenda Lee. Me too dear Shadykins! Anyway, enough of this babbling on. I really must comment on this awesome post that you have prepared for us.;Oh, guess what my Christmas pressie is going to be this year? A retro 1950's record player/CD player/radio. It looks so cool! I loved the Four Seasons with Frankie Valli's very distinctive voice. I'm glad you're giving us a couple of Christmassy tunes here today. The Four-Evers is a bit of a corny name, isn't it. Good songs to bop to today. I do remember the Rag Dolls. It's strange how some girl groups did so well, and yet others just fell by the wayside. (Thinking of The Shirelles, The Crystals, The Ronettes, The Chiffons,( obviously The Supremes) How about me making a special request for a post on those girl groups, which I used to love. Have a good weekend over there in downtown Florida my friend. Smooches!

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    1. SMOOCHES SMOOCHES SMOOCHES, dear Thisisme! Thank you very much for donning your Santa cap and sailing 'cross the sea to sample some sounds of the Seasons! (There are a lot of 'S" words in that sentence. Remember the expression "Say it, don't spray it"? :)

      Your hubby is a lucky man (in more ways than one). Mrs. Shady dragged me through 6 or 7 different stores in a single afternoon, most of them ladies' clothing and cosmetics shops. I stuck out like a sore thumb. I desperately searched for a bench or chair to sit on whilst she conducted her shop-a-thon but never found one!

      I'm pleased to know that you are following Karo's blog. I'm tickled to find another male blogger who is discussing and presenting old music and he deserves our encouragement and support. (I noticed that both Suzannes are also following Karo :)

      I'm excited about the retro record and CD player you're getting for Christmas! It will surely enhance your enjoyment when you bop to the oldies.

      The Four-Evers (aka 4-Evers and Four Evers) might have had a corny name but I love their Four Seasons influenced sound. You'll be happy (or sad?) to know that I will be shifting the focus away from heavy metal In 2014 and devoting many posts to exploring Brooklyn Doo-wop and girl group sounds. You will definitely hear the groups you requested.

      Thank you very much for showing me your smiling face and heart again today, dear friend Thisisme. Happy Friday to you and enjoy your South Hams weekend!

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  2. We're the early birds today! Where is everyone?! I see you were the first one over at my place as well ;). I shall eagerly await the posts you mentioned above. I can just imagine you dragging around those shops. Keep smiling !

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    1. Hallo again, dear Thisisme! I'm beginning to think you and I are the only two people left in Bloggerville! :) As you might know, our friend Shelly has taken a few weeks off. She is usually the first to comment here. I was delighted to see you taking her place as the early bird.

      Yessum, it was very hard on my feet to spend hours trudging thru those women's wear shops. It would have been better if they provided a "man chair" or bench for weary husbands, but they use every square inch of space for merchandise. I prefer to do my shopping online, but Mrs. Shady and lots of other women LOVE the experience of browsing in actual stores. Bah humbug!

      Have a safe and happy weekend, dear friend Thisisme, and don't forget to hang a wreath on dear old Sandy! :)

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  3. a wonderful collection of seasonal songs. Hugs!

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    1. Thank you very much, Katie! It was kind of you to stop by. I wish you and Izzy a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

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  4. Hi Shady. Just happened to be in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by to say hello. I have to confess I wasn't as fond of the Four Seasons as most kids of the day were. I think I was just so focused on Elvis and Rick Nelson. But, the 4 Seasons were fantastic in their harmonies (something I know very little about). I let Suzanne take care of the harmonies, lol!

    Anyway, I did listen to the Four-Evers 'You Belong to Me', and, they were very good too!

    It's cold and windy here today...we're working on getting ready for Christmas, time's running out! Have a good weekend Shady!

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    1. Hi, Karo! It was sure nice of you to drop in, good buddy.

      You might have noticed that I have eclectic tastes. I honestly enjoy all the different types of music I present here throughout the year, from heavy metal to Elvis, Rick Nelson, soul, R&B, girl groups, Wall-of-Sound, white Brooklyn doo-wop, black R&B bird groups, teen pop, rock 'n' roll, Brit beat, sunshine pop, garage, New Wave, psychedelic, folk rock, alternative rock, novelty, crossover country - if I missed any other categories, I probably like them, too. My problem is I often get keenly interested in one or two styles for a long period of time to the exclusion of all others. Recently, a curious phenomenon has taken place. I find myself enjoying a mix of everything - all types of music - and don't find it jarring when a doo-wop ballad is followed by a bone crushing Led Zeppelin track.

      I'm shocked to learn it so cold directly across the Gulf from me where you guys live. We're in the upper 70s today and the mercury's on the rise again in the coming days. We're still waiting for our first genuine blast of winter.

      Thanks so much for checking in again, Karo, As you can see, you have fans on this blog - Thisisme, Suzanne and me. If you keep coming around you are bound to meet more quality people and expand your circle of friends.

      Say hello to Scooter Potter for me and come back again soon, good buddy!

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  5. Hey Shady-looks like I'm in good company tonite. Got the Four Seasons...who, I have enjoyed from the beginning with Sherry and Big Girls Don't Cry. All of us girls just swooned and crooned, and the dance beat to both songs was just mellow, I guess we danced the west coast dance to those. And, I like 'Rag Doll' and C'mon Marianne' that they did later. Seems like they could touch on any phase of love and serve it up with grace! Anyway, most of their stuff was good, yeah, even 'Here Comes Santa Claus'! I don't remember hearing of the '4-Evers', but I did like their song 'You Belong to Me'. 'Be My Girl' was good, they almost pulled off a 4-Seasons sound there, didn't they?

    Hmmm...not so much on the 'Wonder Who'. I just wasn't feeling it with their 'Don't Think Twice'.

    And, I hear you did some Christmas shopping this week-good for you! Nothing like yuletide activities in 70° weather. You're getting more sultry heat and we're getting more arctic blasts! We don't usually get this cold until January, oh well, just hope it kills off some of the mosquitoes!

    So, it's about 8:45pm here...hope I'm in the SDS zone! Yeah, I see Karo made it over. He can sign himself in now...we may be seeing more of him! Enjoyed your post Shady. Frankie Valli remains high up on my list, well, at least in the upper 50%, lol! See you soon! Have a great weekend! ♫

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    1. Howdy, Suzanne! Yessum, the gang's all here - Thisisme, Karo and Same Day Sadie. Thanks for hustling over, dear friend.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the Four Seasons. You didn't say whether you liked their earlier incarnation as the Four Lovers in the mid 50s, but they were one of the first white rhythm and blues vocal groups. By the way, The Four Lovers waxed a rendition of "Jambalaya" in 1956 along with covers of "Honey Love" and "Shake a Hand." Keep in mind also that Frankie and his Jersey boys also recorded as Frankie Valli & the Romans, releasing "Come Si Bella"/"Real" in 1958 before becoming the Four Seasons in 1960 and later the Wonder Who? If you didn't like the Four Seasons posing as the Wonder Who?, remember that it all started as a joke but the singles Frankie produced in that exaggerated falsetto sold pretty well nevertheless.

      I'm stunned to learn that it's so cold over in Ft. Worth! We just can't seem to get a cold front this far south. I'm sure winter will get here sooner or later, hopefully in time for Christmas.

      Thank you again, dear friend Suzanne, for your kind visit and comments. Take care of yourself, Karo and Scootie and have a great weekend!

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  6. Sorry Shady, I had to come back for 'Dusty'. I never heard of the Ragdolls either, but I must say I did like 'Dusty', and the girls were quite in line with the Four Seasons. Those guys sure made a good impression, I believe they contributed in a big way to our pop/rock history! Thanks again, see you!

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne! The male vocal group the Four-Evers adopted a sound they hoped would appeal to the many fans of the Four Seasons. The Rag Dolls were assembled in the hope of becoming a female version of the Four Seasons. Both acts were excellent in my opinion, but they just didn't click with record buyers as much as expected. Today, the recordings of the Four-Evers and Rag Dolls are available on CDs and I've been purchasing them for my collection.

      Thanks again for being so sweet, dear friend. Take care and I'll talk to you again soon!

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  7. Hi Shady, Again some good trivia on Doo Wop groups and surprise, surprise that I look forward to the Brooklyn Doo Wop posts. I think I told you before that I agree with Suzanne that the 4 Seasons screwed up a good Dylan song. Really liked the Four Ever version of You Belong To Me. Yes, there were some very good Vanilla doo wop groups. Have a great holiday.
    Jerre

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    1. Hi, Jerre! You are so right, good buddy. There were many excellent white doo-wop groups (along with the black ones) and in 2014 I will be presenting the best recordings in that category, some of them obscure.

      I figured you'd like the Four-Evers. My favorite of theirs is "Doo Bee Dum" which only reached the Bubbling Under chart but should have been a major hit. Just the other day I ordered the 33-track Four-Evers CD compilation and am eagerly awaiting delivery.

      Stay tuned for much more great doo-wop in 2014, Jerre. Remember my guarantee. You can expect 90% fresh content in the coming year or double your money back. You heard right. DOUBLE your money back!

      Merry Christmas, good buddy. I hope to see you back here soon.

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  8. While the Four Seasons were a constant in my household back in the 60's, I must confess I have never heard of these other bands. What a great music lesson you have enlightened us with yet again. Excellent choice for a post Shady! Go Jersey Boys!!

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    1. Hi, Bouncin' Barb! Yessum, we have New York represented here by the Four-Evers and the Rag Dolls and New Jersey represented by Frankie Valli and his groups the Four Lovers, the Four Seasons and the Wonder Who?

      I'm pleased to see you here at SDM&M again today, Barb, and glad to know you enjoyed your music lesson. I hope your weekend's going well, dear friend, and that you'll have a super week ahead!

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  9. Tom my friend, thank you for your lovely comment on my blog earlier this week. I hope you're keeping well this holiday season!

    Emma x

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    1. Hi, Emma! You're very welcome, and it always brings me joy when you come here for a visit. I can tell you've been a busy bee - traveling, writing posts about Paris and preparing for the holidays. I hope you and Donnacha are both well and in good spirits.

      Thank you again for coming, dear friend Emma, and have a safe and happy week ahead!

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    2. Hi, Shady!

      Wow! Frankie was a busy boy! I learned something new with this post . I didn't realize he was in other bands or that the Four Seasons were aka the Wonder Who! I also never heard of the Four Evers or the Rag Dolls . I did enjoy the tune, "Dusty" a lot along with Frankie's classic oldies. Makes me wanna go see Jersey Boys! Enjoy the heat down there in sunny FL, Shady!

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    3. Hi, Toni! Thanks for sampling my sounds of the Seasons, dear friend!

      It's fascinating how so many artists, groups and bands recorded under different stage names, some successfully, some not. Let's not forget Frankie Valli's popularity as a solo artist. One of the most interesting aspects of the music business were the behind the scenes session singers who floated around and lent their voices to the recordings of other artists and sometimes made records of their own. Jean Thomas is best known as the lead singer of The Rag Dolls, Bob Crewe’s female Four Seasons act featured here, but she also made records with other singers using the names the Powder Puffs, the Beach Girls, the Beach-Nuts, the Calendar Girls and Angie and the Chicklettes (Jean recording with the Angels). Jean also waxed "Midnight Mary," the hit duet with Joey Powers and released solo recordings of her own under the names Jean Thomas, Jeanne Thomas, Jeannie Thomas, Jeanne Fox and Jean Thomas-Fox. Jean, like many others, also kept busy doing credited and uncredited session work with well known girl groups like the Ronettes.

      I'm so happy to see you and to know you enjoyed yourself today, dear friend Toni. Don't miss my next post starting Friday when I present the real sounds of the season (singular). Have a great week!

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  10. Hi Tom! Back from my quick family trip and I've been trying to catch up with blog buddies..so I hope you're ready for this "season"! I needed a score card to keep up with who was who and who is who with this post! I'm a bit slow witted on the music scene..however I do know who Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are and that makes me feel better! I do like Peter, Paul and Mary's version of "Don't think twice" better than the Four Season's/Wonder Who version...sorry, that's just how I roll! Have a great week and thanks for introducing me to the other groups here and please don't give me a pop quiz! Oh, we're expecting a heat wave of 50de at the end of the week..not quite Florida but I'll take it! My brother just left for Fort Myers yesterday...hopefully he'll find some comfort and peace after his wife's passing. Have a good week!

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    1. Hi, dear YaYa! Thanks for coming over for a look and a listen. You're right, my friend. This post is like Abbott and Costello's classic comedy sketch "Who's on first, What's on second." (Did I lose you already with that dated reference? If so, ask your brothers. Better yet, ask your mother. Better yet, ask Eddy :)

      I find the fluidity of the record business fascinating. In many cases a group or band's name stayed the same while personnel came and went. A different lineup resulted in a different sound. In other cases the personnel stayed the same and the group or band changed their name to test the waters with a different sound, style and audience. You need not apologize for liking somebody else's version of "Don't Think Twice." Please remember that I am presenting this material for educational purposes as much as for entertainment. "To each his own." "To thine own self be true." "A penny saved is a penny earned." :)

      You folks in Ohio call 50 degrees a heat wave? Why shucks, down here we don't even keep our ice cubes that cold! :) Seriously, we're in the midst of a nice warming trend and Fort Myers should have delightful weather in the 70s to low 80s in the days ahead, just what your brother needs to find comfort and peace. Please know that I think about him often.

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, dear friend YaYa! Give Eddy a pat for me and enjoy the rest of your week!

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  11. I thoroughly enjoyed this post Shady, The Four Evers are new to me and I loved listening to the songs you posted here - thanks for introducing me to a new (old) band!

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    1. Hi, Sarah! It's so nice to see you, dear friend. Truth be told, I never heard of the Four-Evers until a couple of months ago when I did research for this post. Wiki, The All Music Guide and YouTube are sources that helped me connect the dots and play Six Degrees of the Four Seasons as I did here. I'm pleased to know that you enjoyed learning along with me.

      I hope you're having a great week, Sarah, and again I thank you very much for popping in!

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  12. Tom, when I read "Four Seasons" I immediately thought "Dirty Dancing"!!! I know by heart every single dialog and song of that movie because I watched it at least 20 times, no exaggeration, and I remember "Big Girls Don't Cry" very well; thanks for sharing, it makes me think that has been a couple of months since the last time I watched it , I have to repair immediately!!

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    1. Hello, dear Katia! Dirty Dancing is also one of my favorite movies, mainly because of "Baby" Jennifer Grey. :) You're right, the movie has an exciting soundtrack that includes the Ronettes, Otis Redding, The Contours, the Shirelles and Mickey & Sylvia. As you mentioned it also includes "Big Girls Don't Cry" performed by the Four Seasons. The holidays are a great time to watch your old favorite movies and I hope you get a chance to watch Dirty Dancing soon.

      Thank you very much for coming to see me, dear friend Katia, and happy Thursday to you!

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  13. P.S. I find very interesting that Frankie Valli has italian origins, his real name is Francesco Castelluccio and he's another great singer , like Frank Sinatra for example, that we can remember as part of our italian history , even if they're far from their land of origin

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    1. Yes, Franki Valli was born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio but that name wouldn't fit on a 45 rpm record label or roll off the tongue as well as Frankie Valli. For years there was debate about Frankie's actual age but most agree he was born in 1934. If that's true it means he will turn 80 next spring!

      Thank you again for coming, dear friend Katia, and Merry Christmas to you, your husband and your families!

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