The first time I heard The Four Seasons, I was a little girl in my dad’s van. We were on our way to my softball game, and I remember being so excited—I was pitching that night.
“Dad,” I said as I caught the softball I had tossed in the air with my glove. “Who is this girl?”
“What girl?” he said.
“The girl on the radio,” I said.
“Nat, you really are a piece of work,” my father said. “That’s no girl. That’s Frankie Valli, man!”
He opened his center console and held up a CD.
“There’s no way that’s a guy,” I said, grabbing the CD and studying the cover.
“He’s not just a guy. He’s the guy.”
“Well, why does he sound like a girl?”
“That’s his voice. Different, ain’t it?”
“So he doesn’t do it on purpose?” I said.
“Oh, Nat, what am I going to do with you?” my dad said. “No, he doesn’t do it on purpose.”
“But Dad, I can’t even sing that high. Ready, listen,” I said as I tried to imitate my voice in the way of Mr. Valli’s in “Working My Way Back to You.”
We laughed the whole way to my game. I had 12 strikeouts that night. I’ve listened to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons ever since.
For the younger generation who may not know of The Four Seasons, they were a popular rock and pop band back in the 1960’s. This group’s done it all; internationally recognized, #1 on the Billboards, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They even have their own musical based off them in Jersey Boys.
And if you still need a briefing, chances are you’ve heard a lot of their songs without even knowing, popular ones including “Walk Like a Man,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” a song made popular by Heath Ledger in the movie Ten Things I Hate About You.
I have all of the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons CDs. I’ve seen Jersey Boys twice on Broadway. I’m practically obsessed with Ten Things I Hate About You (who isn’t), so when my mom called me and told me she had tickets to see Frankie Valli on Saturday night at the Borgata in Atlantic City, the choice was a no-brainer. I was going.
We made it a family affair—all eight of us. After grabbing dinner at the Borgata Buffet and drinks at the entrance of the theatre, my brothers and I realized we were the youngest ones in the audience by 20 years.
When the lights dimmed and the tiny man walked out on stage, my heart soared. There he was standing a few feet in front of me in his black suit and red shirt, a man of no more than 5 foot five inches. But that voice—that voice soared. And he sounded exactly like he sounds on his records. Even better, in fact.
He opened with some fast songs from the 60’s and transitioned into such ballads as “My Eyes Adored You” and “Fallen Angel.” He sang some hits from the 70’s. He gave such a heartfelt, riveting performance that, by the end of the night, the audience was on its feet during “Beggin’” and “Sherry.” We were singing along when he closed the show with a medley of “Who Loves You,” “Let’s Hang On,” and “Bye, Bye, Baby.”
I looked down the aisle at my dad when Frankie came back to sing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” for his encore. Only this time, it was he singing along to Mr. Valli. And it reminded me of that day in his van, back when I was a little girl, with the main man in my life who taught me to throw my first strike.