skip navigation
Frankie Valli

Frankie Valli

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

(1978). The Four Seasons¿ new label, Philips, quickly generated a Top 40 solo album, The Four Seasons Present Frankie Valli Solo, which compiled previously released singles with new takes on standards like "My Funny Valentine" and "My Mother¿s Eyes," his first-ever single.But as Valli¿s fortune as a solo artist began to rise, the remarkable, near-decade-long run of the Four Seasons as a popular act was on the wane. Like so many acts in the music business, the group had hewed to the model of building its success around singles. But the arrival of the Beach Boys¿ Pet Sounds (1967) and Beatles¿ Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) and the psychedelic movement in general signaled a shift towards artistic expression through complete albums, which was a largely alien concept for the Four Seasons. The group, which was already undergoing internal strife due to several personnel changes and Gaudio¿s growing interest in studio work over touring, responded to the market shift by releasing more singles. Valli netted two more Top 40 solo tracks, "I Make a Fool Of Myself" (1967) and "To Give (The Reason I Live)" in 1968, but his follow-up album, Timeless (1968), which centered around covers of modern pop...

(1978). The Four Seasons¿ new label, Philips, quickly generated a Top 40 solo album, The Four Seasons Present Frankie Valli Solo, which compiled previously released singles with new takes on standards like "My Funny Valentine" and "My Mother¿s Eyes," his first-ever single.

But as Valli¿s fortune as a solo artist began to rise, the remarkable, near-decade-long run of the Four Seasons as a popular act was on the wane. Like so many acts in the music business, the group had hewed to the model of building its success around singles. But the arrival of the Beach Boys¿ Pet Sounds (1967) and Beatles¿ Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) and the psychedelic movement in general signaled a shift towards artistic expression through complete albums, which was a largely alien concept for the Four Seasons. The group, which was already undergoing internal strife due to several personnel changes and Gaudio¿s growing interest in studio work over touring, responded to the market shift by releasing more singles. Valli netted two more Top 40 solo tracks, "I Make a Fool Of Myself" (1967) and "To Give (The Reason I Live)" in 1968, but his follow-up album, Timeless (1968), which centered around covers of modern pop standards like "Sunny" and "Eleanor Rigby," saw only modest success.

By the early 1970s, Valli and the Four Seasons were no longer viable as recording artists, though they remained a popular touring act with their older material. A name shift to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and a move to Motown failed to change their fortunes, and in 1974, they left the venerable soul label. Before departing, Valli purchased a single master, "My Eyes Adored You," which he brought to Private Stock Records. Released as a Frankie Valli solo track, the lush, street-smart track shot to No. 1 in 1975, bringing the singer back to the spotlight. A follow-up, "Swearin¿ to God," broke the Top 10 that same year. By 1975, Valli had brokered a deal with Warner Bros. to sign the Four Seasons ¿ now comprised of Gerry Polci, John Paiva, Don Ciccone and Lee Shapiro ¿ and their label debut generated the No. 3 hit "Who Loves You" (1976) and the disco-flavored "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)," which rose to No. 1 and spent six months on the charts. Though fans celebrated the return of Valli and the Four Seasons to the airwaves, many noticed that Valli was no longer taking the lead on many songs. The reason for his reduced presence was two-fold: Valli and Gaudio had planned to establish the Four Seasons as its own entity while rebuilding Valli¿s solo career. The singer was also struggling with otosclerosis, a debilitating condition that resulted in hearing loss. After performing while virtually deaf for many years, the condition was corrected by surgery that restored most of his hearing.

Valli struggled to endure the mid-1970s. His efforts as a solo artist and as a member of the Four Seasons were barely finding an audience, and by 1978, he had announced his retirement from the group. His life was already in deep turmoil due to the death of his daughter, Celia, in a car accident, which was followed six months later by his daughter Francine¿s accidental overdose. The lone bright spot of the period was his rendition of the new title track for the film version of the musical "Grease." The Barry Gibb-penned single shot to No. 1 and saw platinum sales. The remainder of the decade saw Valli release occasional easy listening singles and albums for MCA while reuniting with permutations of the Four Seasons for tours and the occasional live album. He also began flirting with an acting career. A onetime student of acclaimed character actor William Hickey, he took supporting turns as mobsters and other criminally inclined figures in several low-budget and independent films and TV-movies.

In 1990, Valli and the Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The honor generated a string of new Four Seasons LPs, as well as the return of "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)" to the charts in remixed form in 1994. A decade later, Valli was suddenly again at the forefront of pop culture. After receiving numerous tributes on "The Sopranos" as the vanguard of New Jersey/Italian-American achievement, he joined the cast in 2004 for a successful run as Rusty Millio, a major player with the Lupertazzi crime family who attempted to usurp power from its new chief, Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent), and in turn, was assassinated at the behest of its former capo, Johnny Sack (Vincent Curatola). While working on "The Sopranos," Valli and Gaudio conceived a musical based on the life of Valli and the original Four Seasons. "Jersey Boys" opened on Broadway in 2005 to near-universal acclaim and swept the major theater awards, including the Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier for Best Musical. Its runaway popularity naturally revived interest in Valli¿s life and career, and in turn, generated a recording contract with Motown. 2007 saw his first solo album in 27 years, Romancing the 60s, which featured Valli¿s covers of popular songs from the decade. A massive 3-CD box set, Jersey Beat, was heavily promoted by Valli and the Four Seasons in a hugely successful tour, which outsold the likes of Jay-Z and the Jonas Brothers. In 2008, the Four Seasons¿ "Beggin" was revived by a pair of European covers that scraped the top of the Continental charts. It was subsequently featured in a popular ad campaign that marked the 60th anniversary of the Adidas label.Seasons, all carried the legend "Featuring the `Sound" of Frankie Valli."

Between 1962 and 1968, Valli and the Four Seasons scored a remarkable string of Top 40 hits and albums on the Hot 100 charts, and between 1962 and 1964 alone, the only group to challenge their record sales was the Beach Boys, whose leader, Brian Wilson, both admired and feared the work being done by Valli, Gaudio and producer Bob Crewe, who oversaw most of the group¿s material. Furthermore, the Four Seasons were the only American act to land a No. 1 hit during the height of the British Invasion. After topping the charts in 1962 with "Big Girls Don¿t Cry" and "Walk Like a Man" in 1963, the Four Seasons returned to the No. 1 position in 1964 with the epic "Rag Doll," and would have enjoyed a second No. 1 with "Dawn (Go Away)" that year had it not been for the combined effort of three Beatles tracks in the top three Billboard slots.

In 1965, Valli, Gaudio and Crewe launched a unique situation in the pop world: they wrote and recorded material for Valli as a solo performer while still producing songs for him with the Four Seasons. The intention was to dominate the charts with material by both acts, but it took some time to establish Valli¿s identity outside of the group. For one, Valli sang his solo material in his natural tenor voice and eschewed his trademark falsetto. The solo songs also hewed closer to the pop material sung by performers like Neil Diamond than the soulful, dance-friendly tracks by the Four Seasons. The gambit was often hard-fought; while the Four Seasons continued to score major hits with "Let¿s Hang On!" (1965), "Working My Way Back to You" (1966) and "Beggin¿" (1967), Valli¿s solo material often landed with a thud on the charts. 1965¿s "The Sun Ain¿t Gonna Shine (Anymore)" died upon arrival, and added insult to injury when the Walker Brothers turned it into a Top 20 hit just six months later. Its follow-up, "(You¿re Gonna) Hurt Yourself," broke the top 40, but 1966¿s "You¿re Ready Now" and "The Proud One" failed or barely made the Top 100.

But in 1967, Valli found his signature solo tune: "Can¿t Take My Eyes Off of You," a swooning romantic ballad punctuated by blasts of brass. The track shot to No. 2 on the Billboard chart and generated some 200 covers, including hit versions by Andy Williams, Nancy Wilson and Lauryn Hill, and became a staple of film and television soundtracks, most notably "The Deer Hunter"

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 And So It Goes (2014)
2.
 Modern Love (1990) Mr Hoskins
3.
 Eternity (1990) Guido/Taxpayer
4.
 Dirty Laundry (1987) Matty
5.
 Ebony, Ivory and Jade (1979) Himself
8.
 Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop (2001) Host
9.
 Italian Passion For Life, The (1999) Interviewee
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute