The final performance, after 9 years, will take place on Sunday 26 March 2017.
Full details here:
There will be a second national UK tour of Jersey Boys starting in December 2017 at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.
The final performance, after 9 years, will take place on Sunday 26 March 2017.
Full details here:
There will be a second national UK tour of Jersey Boys starting in December 2017 at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.
Oh What A Night! Hyde Park, London, Saturday 10 September 2016 – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons headlining at the patriotic Last Night Of The Proms in the UK with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by the very talented Robby Robinson in front of 40,000 people. Unbelievable!
Live on Radio 2 and also streamed live across the world “Grease” started although only instrumentally at first due to something being wrong with the sound system – it would appear the microphones were not working - and then there were great cheers from the crowd when they could eventually hear Frankie singing!
Next was “Dawn” and then “My Eyes Adored You”. The live stream unfortunately for some reason cut out “Grease”, “Dawn” and also later in the show “Rag Doll”.
BBC Radio 2 fortunately has all 12 songs plus the short interview between Michael Ball and Frankie Valli after his spot and before crossing live to the Royal Albert Hall for the traditional “knees up”!
You can hear the whole show here on Radio 2:
The songs in order were
Grease (starting at 3.56.21)
My Eyes Adored You
Who Loves You
December ’63 Oh What A Night
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
Sherry/Walk Like A Man/Big Girls Don’t Cry Medley
Bye Bye Baby
Let’s Hang On
Frankie Valli Interview with host Michael Ball (starting at 4.36.00)
You can watch the video of Frankie Valli in Hyde Park again on BBC iPlayer here:
(Frankie on stage around 2.15.17)
It as good to see Landon Beard back in the line-up but sorry Larry Lingle was not there.
Those at home certainly had a better view than the VIP guests who unfortunately were right at the back of the park – they said watching Frankie and the Four Seasons on stage was like watching ants in a jar!
A bit disappointing at £408 a ticket but as least they all have front row tickets for the up and coming shows in April next year when Mark Garvey is hoping Frankie Valli will sign his Jersey Boys tattoo he has recently had done – ouch!!
Some of them were lucky enough to meet with Frankie Valli, the Four Seasons and the band back at their hotel on the Friday evening and had a lovely evening chatting to them all including Bill DeLoach – a former member of the Four Seasons in the 1970’s. They were even treated to a rendition of "Surfer Girl" by the Four Seasons, a track from their new CD – details here:
It looks like the guys had an awesome time too meeting Michael Ball, Alfie Boe and James Galloway.
Comments and Reviews:
Somehow watching 40,000 people singing along to Frankie brought tears to my eyes, only 40 minutes but well worth it. We left after Frankie's set but not before Mylo, our 7 year old Grandson, heard that there was a tour in April, he immediately asked if he could go, luckily thanks to Lynn we have front row seats in Manchester so now Mylo is working out how to shake Frankies hand and get his autograph!
It was a good set but first couple of mins Frankies mike was dead. I did think a couple of times there was some heavy vocal enhancement going on electronically. Just once he missed a cue at it was noticeable that he wasn't singing but his vocals were there. Not complaining because for 82 he is doing really well.
I watched things from home in an armchair with a glass of whisky. I didn't care much for any of the support acts, so I was looking forward to the headline act, and as Michael Ball said the show was going to end on a high note, and it sure did, mind you I felt Frankie struggled on the first two numbers, especially Who Loves You, but after that it was top gear all the way and like Brian I got emotional halfway through just thinking of the times when the songs were released and also all the wonderful people I've made friends with through the music.
Ray, Tyne & Wear
By Lynn E Boleyn MBE
We have been informed by Kenney Street Enterprises – many thanks Nikki and Flick – that Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons are to tour the UK again next year and they have arranged special front arena tickets for the fan club. Details are as follows:
Thursday 20th April - Birmingham Genting Arena
Friday 21st April - Bournemouth BIC
Sunday 23rd April - London - The O2 Arena
(Tuesday 25th April – Edinburgh Playhouse – Please see below re this event by DF Concerts)
Wednesday 26th April - Leeds First Direct Arena
Thursday 27th April - Manchester Arena
Fan club tickets for the above shows (except Edinburgh) will be ring fenced and are £75 and the link to purchase tickets will be sent out to fan club members. Tickets to the general public will go on sale on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. but the fan club tickets will be available until sales have either slowed down or sold out!
Frankie is also playing Edinburgh on 25th April but we do not have special fan club tickets for that show as this through DF Concerts and not Kennedy Street – sorry! Tickets for Edinburgh go on sale on Thursday morning 8 September at 9 a.m. and can be booked here:
Tour dates for the rest of this year and next year are on his official web site and can be seen here:
Link For Fan Club Tickets
FRANKIE VALLI UK TOUR 2017
The link to order special front arena fan club tickets is:
If anyone wishes to purchase cheaper tickets please use the following link (however this is a general link and not ring fenced – these tickets are listed below the front row tickets mentioned above so you will need to scroll down to those tickets to order them:
Last Night At the Proms
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons will be headlining the BBC Last Night At The Proms celebrations at Hyde Park in London on Saturday 10 September which will be broadcast live on UK TV on BBC.
They will be performing some of their best known songs at this open air concert accompanied by the 75 piece BBC Concert Orchestra.
Full details and how to order tickets - from £40 each - can be found by clicking this link:
Coverage on the BBC TV - Viewers can watch extracts from all four Proms in the Park via the Red Button and at www.bbc.co.uk/proms on the evening of Saturday 10th September from 19.15 p.m, as well as highlights from all of the events afterwards online, for 30 days.
One Show/This Morning
Frankie will be on the One Show on Thursday 8 September at 7.00-7.30pm
He will also be on This Morning on Friday morning - the show is broadcast from 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 pm.
and on Chris Evans on Friday morning:
By Lynn Boleyn MBE
Telephone: 01384 830862 or 07747 563623
It has already been a summer of news for Four Seasons fans as Lyn Boleyn MBE reported already. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons picked up a top booking as the headline act for the Last Night at the Proms. Lynn will obviously lead the UK fans in the VIP section.
But other news and rumours are bubbling this summer which will interest fans.
In a surprise turn of events in the on-going litigation between Donna Corbella and Tommy DeVito et al, “Plaintiff and DeVito have asked the Court to approve their stipulation for voluntary dismissal of Plaintiff's remaining claims against DeVito,”
This it appears is partly accepted by the other co-defendents although they are concerned as “since the Settlement Agreement appears to call for DeVito's cooperation with Plaintiff, .... their trial strategy may now change.”
The case will now proceed to trial with the remaining defendants having to win a jury decision against Corbello's(and presumably DeVito's) claim for breach of copyright. They could conceivably be called as witnesses. There may be a delay and whether this strengthens the plaintiff's case against Valli/Gaudio and others remains to be seen, but Donna had won the right to 50% of Tommy's JB earnings.
But from a fans perspective what it may herald is a joint decision by Donna and Tommy to publish the biography Rex Woodard wrote with Tommy back in 1990. A rumour recently was that Frankie Valli was working on his own bio?....Coincidence or competition?
And whilst the Four Seasons Motown Unreleased Campaign continues to gather membership, more than one reputable sources suggest that the salvaged versions of 50+ unreleased tracks in the Motown vaults could be made available for Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli to assess if they wanted. They may just need to phone Vice President of Universal Motown Enterprises Harry Weinger and ask to hear them. Apparantly Harry has allowed this with other artists catalogues and so step one would be for Bob Gaudio to pick up the phone!!! We will continue to research and publish research re these 'unreleased' tracks into 2017 as our campaign for release continues.
And with news of a proposed 'Seasonal' album....'Tis The Seasons' supposedly coming out from Rhino confusion abounds. We hear this is not Frankie Valli with his current stage backing group nor is it the 'Christmas' album he was reputed to have recorded with Charlie Calello 2 years ago and was shelved. So we all wait with baited breath!!!.
With lots to happen this fall a new marketing strategy for the Four Seasons Partnership is clearly needed and new and old and written material looks like being on the agenda for 2017.
Is this the 'post' Jersey Boys era we see emerging.
More when we have it.
FRANKIE VALLI AND THE FOUR SEASONS
TO HEADLINE BBC PROMS IN THE PARK 2016
Many thanks to Brian Brigham for the heads up on this event!
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons will be headlining the BBC Last Night At The Proms celebrations at Hyde Park in London on Saturday 10 September. They will be performing some of their best known songs at this open air concert accompanied by the 75 piece BBC Concert Orchestra.
Full details and how to order tickets - from £40 each - can be found by clicking this link:
If anyone would like to order the VIP tickets (£420 each) to include food and complimentary bar with terrace overlooking the stage please contact Charles Webb who will do his best to ensure that the fan club members all sit together.
Charles email is: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01484 539432 (please remember to mention that you are part of the Fan Club).
Full details re VIP hospitality here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/5zfqMPmrj4dzScYdT4bb41b/proms-in-the-park-2016-london-vip-hospitality
Gates open at 3.00 p.m.
Entertainment on the main stage starts at 5.00 p.m.
Event ends 10.30 p.m.
Further press coverage here:
See you there!
Lynn E Boleyn MBE
It is somewhat ironic that The Four Seasons success story started with litigation and is finishing with a trial more than 50 years later!
After The Four Seasons burst onto the pop music scene with three Nr 1's they ended 1963 in litigation with Vee-Jay .The 1963 litigation over non-payment of royalties gave them control of their original master recordings which has provided an income stream throughout their careers whilst now they face potential losses of many millions of dollars if the current trial goes against them. Over 50 years later they find themselves once again locked in litigation after the second major success of their lives 'Jersey Boys', the show of the story and music of their lives . In a unique breach of copyright trial over their own story as compiled by fan Rex Woodard with Four Seasons member Tommy De Vito they find themselves in a trial for alleged breach of copyright of Rex's joint work.
Badly behaving record companies failing to pay royalties and abusing artists rights is a familiar story from the earliest days of the music industry but it was rife during the 60s. The Four Seasons with Bob Crewe took on Vee-Jay with such a claim in 1963.
And again in the 1970s with recording companies charging the cost of recording sessions against artists royalties it is claimed that during their stay at Motown in the 70s when they had no hits but recorded over 70 songs they ended their association (after a 3 year contract )after receiving no record label royalties in 1974. But at least they had their reputations intact and long-standing fans buying their early litigation proceeds and a new line-up setting the charts alight.
This current litigation puts those past money arguments into the shade though. The long running litigation over the Jersey Boys claimed 'source' document 'The Work' has been in and out of court for as long as Jersey Boys has been a major hit with some amazing revelations as Eriq Gardner summarises in his 'The Hollywood Reporter' article
That explains (with links to the court papers) how the case has developed and it is now coming to a jury trial in September . Several of us in the UK Society knew Rex Woodard as a fan, collector and writer since the 1970s and his articles re the Four Seasons 'history' provide more detail and inside knowledge of the group than any articles that have appeared in the history of the group. He was the fountain of knowledge re The Four Seasons along with Ed Engel and Walt Gollender. But Rex is the only man to write the history of The Four Lovers and The Four Seasons. He did this in Billboard magazine in the early 1980s. These articles remain the most in-depth description of their history. No biograpies have ever emerged of anyone 'connected' with the group. For many decades deliberate concealment was a policy.
Looking at the forthcoming trial,and the presentation of the facts and arguments from the long-standing fans perspective there are some observations that stand-out.
Firstly, it always seemed obvious that Rex was the main(or ghost writer) of 'The Work'. His notes and in-depth study of the group goes back to the 1950s and clearly Tommy De Vito was not skilled enough as a writer to produce the 'bio'. Frankie and Bob knew Tommy and must have known he did not posses the literary skills. So when Tommy changed the cover of 'The Works' to delete Rex's name was he being anything other than he is portrayed as in the Jersey Boys play.? Well Rex had passed away so what is the harm he may have thought? Even though there was a written contract saying profits from the story would be shared by both parties and their 'heirs'. But when Jersey Boys emerged Rex's widow (and lawyers) established the identical work had been handed to the scriptwriters. Rex's contribution has happily been confirmed by the copyright office and Rex's royalties share of Tommy's rights will (if this case confirms 'The Work's use in the play script) pass to Rex's widow.
Secondly, the consideration of 'thin' copyright due to the facts of the Four Seasons history being in the public domain is an arguable point. It suggests the 'story' within Jersey Boys was factual-historically and such facts are not subject to copyright but the judge does state that the story within 'The Work' did not exist before the collaboration by Rex and Tommy. Any long-term fan will confirm many aspects of this bio were not known or in the 'public domain' until the premier of Jersey Boys a fact that may see 'The Work' as a whole to have been utilised by the writers. Take for example the links to Gyp Di Carlo. The Four Seasons had for decades hidden any association with the mob for fear that this would damage their reputation with fans and subsequently record sales. In our study of the story of the group through the 1970s(The Rise and Fall of The NEW Four Seasons) we noted the one and only published reference in our huge collection of articles going back to the 1960s republished in UK fan club Newsletters since the 1970s(Nrs 1 to 68) . Even Rex in the 1980s helped cover it up.
I'm quoting now......“Rex Woodard again re 1973...”On 13 July convicted felon and “stoolie” Gerald Zeimanowitz testified before a US Senate Sub Committee that the Four Seasons were connected with the Mafia. Allegedly, according to Zeimanowitz, mobster Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo of New Jersey owned a “piece” of the band. DeCarlo had been imprisoned in 1970 but pardoned by President Nixon in 1972. Zeimanowitz, however, really had his facts mixed up judging from his testimony, and probably confused the Four Seasons with another act (Valli, when asked about the charge kept his humour: He just wanted to know why his career was going so lousy despite these so-called friends in influential positions!).” Valli was very sensitive to this news and was concerned it would alienate his fans if found to be true. Now he admits involvement in the ‘Jersey Boys’ play and the association seems of little harm to him. In fact it is a core part of the play's storyline and success.
So any connection was covered up then and kept that way. It even extended to censoring the fans. Since the 1970s any connection with The Four Seasons Partnership was always fraught and during the 1990s their lawyer sought to control fan contact with former group members particularly during the early days of the internet when Frank Rovello, Stuart Miller and I were 'banned' from speaking to former members of the group if 'official' recognition of the fan club(s) was to be granted. Was this to suppress potentially damaging stories about links with the mafia?. Well they were suppressed and 'The Works' was the first time that the relationship was explored......but never published. That is until the Jersey Boys play was written. Did Valli and Gaudio tell the scriptwriters the story or is it derived from 'The Work'? That will presumably be the jury's job to identify.
Whether the 'story' told by Rex in 'The Work' was 'copied' in Jersey Boys and was a breach of copyright remains to be seen but the reputational damage caused by this case may be far reaching. Did Valli and Gaudio and De Vito rip-off a dead fan?.
The fact is that Rex did the most in-depth writing of any Four Seasons fan to tell the group's story and every 'true' fan will appreciate that. And Frank Rovello and Stuart Miller did their part in getting what they could into the public domain. Though they have all passed away now they remain to me the real heroes who wanted the truth for the fans. With one objective. To put the music recorded in the hands of the true fans and enable them to understand the context of it's creation and appreciate everyone's contribution. That has been the objective of the UK Appreciation Society and this blog. The music is all that counts....the rest is the back-story. The choices in life Valli, Gaudio, De Vito and Massi made are how life went for them and they are accountable for.
And ironically that back-story has made the 3 surviving members of the group multi-millionaires and earned them more than their music ever did in the previous decades before the launch of 'Jersey Boys'. The show however remains a wonderful entertainment and this case will show everyone's contribution.Without doubt that success has changed Valli and Gaudio as they have been heralded now as music 'icons'. Do they think a jury would never find against them? Did they know of Rex Woodard's contribution to 'The Work'?. And was this shows major success in good part on the back of a fans research? Whatever happens this case will be a sobering close to their amazing lives We'll watch and listen with great interest . Casey Chameleon
For some people 'Pet Sounds' is the 'ultimate' album....the best ever mixture of songs, sounds, melodies, harmonies and arrangements they have ever heard.
For me though it is the 'changing colours' Bob Gaudio saw in the 'Chameleon' sessions that match anything that Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys conjure up. Love them though I do.....'Chameleon' is just....'me'
I didn't feel it at the time (late 1972)......I didn't 'hear it' till 1975.....well not quite.!
I rejected it first time after hearing the 'Prelude-A New Beginning' and the opening chords of 'Sun Country'. I'd popped into Boots The Chemist in Runcorn Shopping City to sound test it in their record booths(yes they still had them back then). It was not the Four Seasons I knew from my 'Dawn' and 'Rag Doll' albums. They had moved on to adulthood and left me behind!!
But by 1975 I had changed and like a growing child I was taken by the 'changing colours' Bob Gaudio saw in the magnificent music on this album.
Watching the film 'Love and Mercy' based on the life of Brian Wilson this weekend and the traumas of Brian's life made me realise that Bob Gaudio may feel that the traumas they suffered during the Motown Years make re-visiting the 'unreleased' tracks from the period too much. The whole period from the end of their Philips tenure through Motown and the re-birth of Valli's solo career and the rise of a NEW Four Seasons 'sound' is almost another film script in itself. From the depression at Philips to the broken promises of Berry Gordy it was a rough ride. And with Bob Crewe's bankruptcy and aftermath, Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli's marriage break-ups, Frankie's battle to save his hearing and the collapse of the group in 1973 it was a downhill spiral. But also a period of re-birth with Frankie's new love and marriage, Bob Crewe's return and Bob Gaudio's partnership with writer and soon to be wife Judy Parker…....together with a new and musically talented band …....it is all a great back-story to the music.
But the music largely remains unheard 'lost masters' sitting in an air-conditioned vault in NYC. Trapped and without the love of doting fans. Unlike The Beach Boys music!
How can this be.?
The reason why Brian Wilson is 'iconic' is because of his motivation. There is clear evidence he was pursuing music for spiritual reasons, for the art and for the love of creating, to make a valid contribution to the world of music. Is there any evidence that this was the case with Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio?
Some would argue 'yes' as evidenced by 'Genuine Imitation Life Gazette' and 'Chameleon'. Whilst the former is a 'social/satirical commentary', 'Chameleon' explores human and adult perspectives on love and relationships with great perception. And it is shaped by experience. Things didn't get to be an easy ride at Motown. Are the traumas of the time still too painful or are there so many legal and commercial barriers that art and creative talent can't surface to tell the story of the re-birth of what we see as an 'iconic' artist and group.
What we have we genuinely treasure. Well I do. The Motown Years remain my 'companion'.....my 'Pet Sounds'.....the 'unreleased' the equivalent of 'Smile'.
Gradually people are discovering these lost 'connections' hopefully through our 'facebook' group although so much remains unheard. Someday their time will come and people will wonder how so many great tracks remained lost for so long.
And it remains a mystery how artistic gems like this are not given a much higher profile.
Larry Lingle’s Last Show With Frankie Valli
The show on the 1 May 2016 in Cleveland Ohio will be Larry’s last show with Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons.
A former Four Season, he told us “My tenure is up and I'm looking forward to enjoying my Summer hangin’ out with family, chillin’ on the beautiful beaches on Hornby Island BC, salmon fishing, composing and recording music, producing, doing the occasional local gig, finishing some overdue home projects, and most of all just appreciating life. For those friends that have perhaps already bought tickets in an effort to re-connect with me when in your area, sorry I couldn't have alerted you earlier to a last minute decision and I truly wish it could have worked out but things being as they are, it won't happen this time around. If you have purchased tickets, I still encourage you to see the show as it's not only a well put together show, but also features some of the absolute best musicians and friends that I've ever had the privilege to work with. I mean, every player in the band are some of the best in the business and the singers are stellar. The sound crew is also the best, having worked with some of the biggest name artists over that last couple of decades. I'm gonna miss these awesome guys ! That said, I hope all my friends and very supportive fans enjoy a great summer of fun, family, friends, and appreciation for all the positive things that make life so absolutely awesome “.
Thanks for the wonderful music and memories Larry – it was really great to see you back in the UK with Frankie Valli last year. Enjoy the fishing!
The Modern Gentlemen
The new CD by the Modern Gentlemen – Brian and Brandon Brigham, Landon Beard and Todd Fournier - is now available to pre-order on their web site here:
Brought together by Frankie Valli to provide all the background harmonies and choreography on his concert tours they have developed their own signature sound performing worldwide from Broadway to The Royal Albert Hall with The London Symphony Orchestra, to Asia and down under in Australia and New Zealand. They've shared the stage with The Beach Boys, Manhattan Transfer, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett and many other greats, as well as performed for presidents of the United States and the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William in London. This dynamic quartet feels fortunate to have worked alongside most of the artists they celebrate. When The Modern Gentlemen take the stage, they perform with high energy, tight dance moves and spot on vocals with harmonic perfection – you can check out their tour dates on their web site - we are looking forward to seeing them perform in the UK soon.
By Lynn Boleyn
I was walking around Waitrose today and was amazed to find the Ultimate Music Guide to The Beach Boys in the magazines. An album by album guide to their music and back-story(warts and all) and I thought.......”what a tribute!!” Having made it an essential buy, perfect to read on the flight back to Spain, I started thinking how it would be impossible to do one on The Four Seasons.....as the story is incomplete and distorted with Jersey Boys creating the myth and the masses of unreleased material being the unheard part of their story.
I reminded myself that Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli have never felt able to claim their music was truly inspirational.........until the phenomena of 'Jersey Boys'. And even now I don't think they realise what they were to popular music and their long-term fans. But they have never had a strong enough brand or rapport with their fans. Oh don't get me wrong....their fan base have loved them even though poorly served with releases and bio material for many years, and that probably won't change. Leopards don't lose their spots. But it could be much better for them and us. They are going to find all the exposure in the courts in May. Why not capitalise on it whatever the result. See the big picture.! Apologise even!
Ironically their biggest 'commercial' success(JB) owes it's achievement (in part)to one of their biggest fans, (the late) Rex Woodard, as their long-drawn out legal action with his widow comes to a head in May. Whether Donna Corbella succeeds or not in her copyright infringement law-suit over her husbands co-written bio is irrelevant. It is to me testimony to how they(The Partnership) have been unable to escape the 'control' mentality to protect their 'roots' and their commercial ownership. So much so they have failed to credibly establish their 'Anthology' both musically and literally.....With credit to all the contributors. This History v Hollywood sums up how they will never convince anyone with the JB storyline and this just scratches the surface of what really happened.
There are no 'official' or 'unofficial' bios of their life and the most comprehensive documentation of their recording history is contained in fan sites like the GILG web-site and the UK Appreciation Society archives. I reckon there are somewhere in the region of 80 tracks unreleased by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (which probably include some with The Beach Boys). That is as many tracks as they recorded in 1964 and 65 at the height of their 60s success.
And not talking about your mistakes and bad periods honestly is not going to enhance or sell your image and brand. When the Beatles 'Anthology' was being put together and Bob Smeaton was gathering clips of the groups arguments that led to their dissolution, George Harrison was quoted as saying....”Oh we don't want to say that.... I hate that, I hate that period.”. To which Bob replied, “Yeah , but the fans want to see it!” and Bob prevailed and the Anthology sold 6 million copies within weeks.(it's still selling) It didn't harm their image or commercial 'brand'. The true frictions and conflict, the mistakes and errors of judgement are all sellable. The Motown period remains the great untold 'buried' history. Our research has exposed that. Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys 'Uncut' magazine tribute shows what their brand represents .The 'Four Seasons' brand is and should always have been the thing (even if it was Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons for many decades). Sell everything, all the stories...all the unreleased. It will all come to light eventually after were all dead and gone. Life is too short. And you can't hide in the internet world.
Here's another failure that has had little or no exposure. But it sounds and makes you feel 'good'.
Every Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons fan will have a specific memory of or relationship with the Motown period. For existing fans in 1971 after the excitement of the UK tour it was from all accounts a time of great optimism. By 1973 it was a time of perhaps great frustration at the lack of releases and promotion and a cancelled tour.....but by 1975/76 it was the most enthralling of times with the co-existence of so many Four Seasons identities. It was by far the most exciting time of their careers and the best of all times to be a fan. We had the 1960s Vee-Jay and Phillips sound being re-visited from 10 years before in The Four Seasons Story, The Close-Up album and The Who Loves You album with the NEW Four Seasons Sound and squeezed in we had the 'Chameleon' and 'Inside You' albums from Motown.
Truly an unbelievable and diverse range of styles and performances but all truly great music. That was the time to discover or re-discover the uniquely varied sound of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. And the 'Inside You' album was an amazing look back into the vaults at Motown to sample some of the unheard 'experiments' to find that 'hit' sound and the handful of singles that had been released since 1971. And to hear 'The Night' and 'Who Loves You' coming out of our radio's as they climbed the charts was fantastic. This was the peak, the moment, Top 10 again....and then along came December 63(Oh What A Night) to make them Nr 1 again. The culmination of years of dogged hard work and pain.
And that, it appears, is what Mowest/Motown was.
But we didn't know what had happened at the label(s) and we didn't know the musical journey. We still don't. But now we do know of and have heard a lot more, than back then. When we first heard 'Inside You' and 'With My Eyes Wide Open' which even Frankie and Bob Gaudio had not heard for 2 years and which was released without their permission/approval in 1975 , we were rightly blown away. Simply superb Crewe/Gaudio writing and producing at a new level and sound to anything before with Motown's superb studio and musicians and the most advanced 16 track recording.
But by 1975 they and Bob Crewe had moved on and they didn't want to go back. They had developed NEW material and signed to new labels so really couldn't look back with no ownership rights to the material. But fortunately for them, we hadn't forgotten this timeline, and like 'sweets' we relished the then 'recent relics' from the vault. Frankie and Bob hoped the Motown Years would just fade away and be consigned to the 'non-hit' era best forgotten. But 'The Night' (a Nr 7 UK chart hit and Northern Soul anthem) and The UK Appreciation Society have never let that happen.
And now (with us finally persuading The Four Seasons Partnership and Motown Universal to release their Motown 'released' material on CD for the first time in 2008 ) our latest research finds have provided the clearest picture ever of the 'Lost Motown Masters' by Frankie and The Four Seasons in their most diverse and most prolific experiments still in the vaults....unheard for 44 years.
We now have all the Master Nrs list completed from Motown records. It shows 53 Masters of which a massive 31 remain unreleased. And there are a rumoured 20 plus tracks not researched.
How differently fate might have been if Motown had realised what they had and been better at promoting and selling it. That 1975/76 euphoria may not have happened like it did? But it would have sometime as quality will always rise to the surface in music as long as someone cares enough to make sure it does. Well we are doing that in our Four Seasons Motown Unreleased Campaign on Facebook as we demonstrate the Motown Treasures being neglected in the Motown Universal vaults. What had been rumour has become fact. This is the unheard and unappreciated creative work from 1971 to 1973 which we now know exists. And our Campaign aims to generate enough interest and enthusiasm to make someone agree, the 'Lost Tracks' are the 'missing link' back to fame and glory. They should be preserved and RELEASED.
Below are just some of the songs we want to hear properly re-masterd from the vaults....BY FRANKIE VALLI AND THE FOUR SEASONS ...the fight for this goes on!!!!!
When I saw Michael Lomenda’s tweet I had to post this cute clip – who ever would have thought that Jersey Boys would feature in a school play especially with pupils so young, talk about little boys in grown up clothes – another great Four Seasons song too.
I hope you have all managed to take a look at the Four Seasons Motown Unreleased Campaign on Facebook to try and get these tracks released – there are some great unreleased tracks there including Hymn To Her; I Wonder Why and Lovers - and also a wonderful clip of a rehearsal of the group singing Hickory – Frankie’s voice is just superb. You can check out the site here:
One of my favourite songs from the Motown era is “Your’re A Song” and The Night, of course, is the most famous song from the Motown era. A superb cover version was done by The Franks – the original London cast of Jersey Boys – one of the best casts too accordingly to not just me but Frankie Valli too.
The Hitmen are proving to be a fantastic hit too – a good review here plus some great photos too:
The Modern Gentlemen are also doing very well with a second visit to the UK planned for next month. Full details and shows are on their web site
USA Tour Dates
No news yet for a UK tour next year but you can view Frankie’s USA and Puerto Rico tour dates here:
Check out the revamped GILG web site too here: http://gilgweb.com/indexbdayJP.html
I hope you all have a great Easter.
By Lynn Boleyn MBE
When I joined the UK Four Seasons Appreciation Society in 1976 I would not have believed that by 2016 George Ingram would still be finding articles re Frankie Valli and the group or that the Motown period of the group’s history would keep me researching their music some 40 plus years later, but as George has said “all good things come to an end” and after 40 years of publication this is the end of the newsletter era and our regular web site uploads. Frankie Valli has outlasted us as he continues to tour at 81 albeit with technology enhancing his voice. This has for most fans been enough to enjoy the great legacy of his music in recent years. But inevitably a Four Seasons tribute band will be the only way in future to enjoy the past music ‘live’. Alternatively there is the Jersey Boys musical.
For most of us who kept this fine organization going for 40 years it is a milestone moment and so we bring you the final library of articles and research from George Ingram’s Archive. Ray Nichol our top vinyl and CD expert collector has retired to dispose of his collection (something us older fans will all have to consider unless we can leave it to our children), George Ingram has retired and no longer has access to the print technology needed for his scrapbook style publication design and Ken Charmer who has single handedly been our web publisher since 1997 has a moved onto a final project/campaign
The web site and previous blogs will all remain on the WWW for any researchers into the history of the group. Unfortunately over time so many distortion and inaccuracies have arisen in the story of the group and hopefully our data provides important reference points for any interested party. The web site will continue to be a good reference point and its longevity now depends on the continuing support our web space sponsor Rik Williams. But until the plug is pulled on us some of our activities will go on albeit changed.
The good news is our secretary Lynn Boleyn will continue to keep in touch with friends and fans through her network and Ken Charmer will through his facebook page. This is the last update to the web pages we will do and the blog will close in the near future making this one of our last posts.
There are dozens of great articles in these last downloads of Newsletters 63 to 68 and we hope this last set of information will be of interest to the 250/300 fans that have found us or followed us over the last few years via the blog and web site and it is a pity we failed to achieve our objectives. Never recognized by The Four Seasons Partnership as being of benefit we know the fans have appreciated our Newsletters and research and we have had on average 50 hits a day from web searchers over the last decade.
We had hoped to achieve a complete collection of Four Seasons recordings available to fans before our closure but as Bob Gaudio in a 2000 interview confirmed he is ‘adverse’ to going back and although he has a ‘dozen or so’ unreleased recording in his ownership from the late Philips and Warner/Curb period it would take something major to get him to release these. But there are the 40/50 unreleased tracks that Motown own that remain in their vault and the campaign to get these released will continue.
Losing Stefan Wriedt and Frank Rovello before this milestone was achieved left me as a lifelong ‘music detective’ – disappointed, disheartened and dis-illuissioned at the Four Seasons Partnerships lack of appreciation for what the UK and USA web sites have done to support the group over the years. But, I can put that aside as the friendships made amongst enthusiasts and collectors has been ‘priceless’.
The Jersey Boys trial in May will signal a new chapter in the group’s history and we will observe that with interest. All fans owe a huge debt to Rex Woodard who collected so much factual data re the group’s history and the eventual publication of his co-written book with Tommy De Vito would be a fitting tribute.
Oh !!!!!and as Lynn Boleyn MBE reminds me there is the 2017 tour to look forward too. Live long and prosper! But for now enjoy this last set of articles. Casey Chameleon
Keep the web site in your ‘faves’ as the dicog page is an essential reference point for all of the releases.
The Newsletter Download Page Is here
It's been a long time since I was able to write anything for this blog regarding research into the history of the Four Seasons and their rise to fame and to review what remains to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of their history.
Since the arrival of our internet presence(circa 1997)and 2012 we collected and collated a huge amount of data that can be found on our web site that documents the musical recording history of Frankie Valli/The Four Lovers and The Four Seasons from 1953 to today. Back in the 1970s we were novices and knew only 60% of the story. Now we know so much more. And continuing touring by Frankie Valli and the success of Jersey Boys has kept the music and our data research alive.
But as 2016 started and I received the very last Newsletter from George Ingram who officially retired last year I thought about changes necessary to our web based sites given that the prospect of adding factual data re the groups work seems remote. But is it time to wind things down or should we strive to fill the gaps we know remain.? And with the loss of great researchers like Rex Woodard, Frank Rovello and Stefan Wriedt do we have the resources and support to do any more?.
So at the start of 2016 what is left to find out.?
Big gaps in the groups music and history still remain unless we can collectively dig out unreleased music, articles and peoples memories: facts or stories they haven't disclosed or can even remember. On the face of it this does not seem realistically possible. There has always been a reluctance to talk about or publish stories re the history of the Four Seasons outside a bland storyline, firstly because back in the 60s/70s the Partnership worried about negative connections damaging Frankie's reputation as a celebrity.
Off course all that changed with the development of Jersey Boys in 2007 and these mafia connections were used to add grit to the story helping to make it the hit it became. Now the focus is on maintaining that as their story and continuing it's commercial longevity and financial success.
As fans since the 60s we've always sought to uncover the true stories and in our research over the last 40 years we've found out lots of personal stuff that we’ve not published as it is not relevant to the music's creation. But it has made us sensitiveto the effect on relationships between past members of the group and Valli and Gaudio and the often difficult circumstances in which the music was created.
Looking broadly at what has appeared in our newsletters we have a mixture of what PR the Partnership wanted to portray in the 60s and 70s and in our E-book The Rise and Fall of The New Four Seasons we feature quotes by group members which often reveals frictions and issues typically encountered by groups in the history of 60 and 70s pop music. I guess I never did forgive Frankie and Bob for sacking the Four Seasons in 1978 despite a subsequent short lived 're-union'. But life and the brand of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons has gone on. In recent times we've had the benefit of the emergence of 3 former members from then in The Hit Men. It has been good to celebrate their sound with them in recent years. The conflicts happened and that is part of their life story. A background to the most important thing.....the music.
In Jersey Boys the writers selected the elements of the group history to create a musical drama........but who where the real writers? This years Jersey Boys Court case may lead to us understanding this more....but more re that later.
So what are the areas where we still would like to know more and what could we write about. Well firstly it would be speculating what happened between 1959 and 1961 before 'Sherry.' Rex Woodard in his Billboard articles said The Four Lovers had done some backing work for Bob Crewe (possibly with Freddie Cannon) before he signed them to a 3 year contract in 1960. But verifying this has been difficult as has identifying the recordings they did backing work on from 1959 to 1961. Our Master Tracks Section 2 on the web site contains the result of several years music detective work (thanks to all who contributed)which recently revealed a Bob Crewe 45 on ABC Paramount from 1961 “Come To Me/Another Day” with the Four Lovers on backing (thanks to Mike Miller). But memories and data are now very hard to uncover and those involved who might have contributed have passed away or can't remember clearly. Record Company records are very limited. The dates when Crewe released the Topix 45s remains a bone of contention as to whether they started in 1960 or 61, but some would say, 'Does it really matter?'....we know what came out.
So maybe what we have from this period with its little bit of guessing and speculation is the limit of what can be found. ?
The Philips period is pretty comprehensively documented (see Master Tracks Section 4) with data surfacing re late 60s unreleased recordings with Artie Schroeck found in recent years. But we haven't heard some of these recordings and there is no published record of the remaining recordings(like the previously discovered 'One Man' from the last Philips sessions) and a rumoured number of perhaps unfinished recordings from this period.
Now as we have known for sometime Bob and Frankie do not appear to take any interest in the large volume of research (in our blog and web site ) contributors have made over the years. And then there is little or no chance of us hearing the unreleased material given Bob/Frankie's attitude since Jersey Boys. Strangely this is reputed to be an aversion to 'look back' when Jersey Boys is just that. The aim now is clearly to protect the JB brand and perpetuate it. The unreleased tracks are judged not to do that.
I never did get Chapters 2-4 done of my E-book The Rise and Fall of the NEW Four Seasons. The period from 1967 to 1970 is hard to document as the story behind the music is hard to get in enough depth. I got a lot of notes re 1967 from sound engineer George Schowerer and interviews with Charlie Calello, Artie Schroeck and Larry Brown and our research has also uncovered some personal facts about drug and marital problems during this time which makes documenting the period hard to balance. And then 1969 and the Philips relationship is a bit strange. Philips appeared to totally dump the group after GILG and the master tracks list shows experimental/rogue recordings for other labels and unreleased material which eventually resulted in Half and Half coming out. Then there was the Northern Soul scene pushing 'You're Ready Now' to UK re-release and then the two UK tours and the move to Motown. I needed help to document and verify facts for this period as few articles disclose what was going on....and in this period the debt problem portrayed in Jersey Boys surfaced but exactly when?. Presumably this was before Tommy DeVito left the group before the UK tour of 1970.......hence the subsequent need to go where the opportunities for money arose. So I still see lots to be fully established and although I'd have liked to finish it. The work remains a 'might have been/could have been' wish.
The biggest musical gap though remains the Motown period from 1971 to 1974 because we now know as a result of an anonymous donor with access to Motown Universal data that only 21 tracks where released and up to 50 tracks remain in the Motown Tape Vault. We know the detail of what was recorded(Master Track section 5) and were able to verify and document this in 2012 but since then there has been no interest or expression that any record company would attempt to negotiate with the Four Seasons Partnership lawyer (still Peter Bennett as far as we know). Those we have corresponded with have not wished to take on what they regard as too difficult a process. Peter in the past has indicated that these recordings are 'not owned by the Partnership' and as a result are a matter of financial dispute. They are he alleged to be 'unfinished' or 'may not exist' on tape anymore and he asked how these could enhance the reputation of Frankie and Bob?. Having heard the demos of 'Hymn To Her' and 'Lovers' now on You Tube and given the quality of what was found for the Motown Anthology CD release by Hip-O-Select in 2009 we have evidence that some completed lost gems remain. How many has still to be established but certainly enough for an album/CD. But it has seemed impossible that these will see release within Frankie or Bob’s lifetime unless they had a change of heart.
And then there is the confirmation from Lee Shapiro that at least another album of material was recorded for the 'Helicon' sessions with several tracks remaining in the Warner-Curb vault and again there appears no interest or prospect of release. There are later tracks from the 80s that we know remain unreleased and there is likely to be other material only Bob and Frankie know about. So musically there is much Four Seasons fans can feel aggrieved that they have never got to hear. Unfortunately the Four Seasons catalogue does not have the sort of research and ownership or interest that the `Beach Boys' master tapes has allowed and how lucky are their fans as a result.? A good example of long-term market management.
And finally the long running saga of the Jersey Boys court case is still to reach a conclusion. Tommy De Vito's copyright submission has been overturned and Rex Woodard's co-authorship of the bio used by the JB writers has been confirmed but the decision of whether Rex's copyright was breached by the use of the book in the script has still to be decided.
The case is still scheduled for a May 2, 2016 trial. A decision in the meantime about what is protectable in Rex's book and what is not is awaited next month
The May trial, which will take 4 weeks, will be strictly about whether the Defendants are liable for copyright infringement and/or an accounting to Donna(Rex's widow). Depending on the result there could be a second trial a few months later that will focus strictly on damages (i.e., how much Donna is owed). Of course, these trials may not end the case entirely, because the losing party is likely to appeal, unless a settlement is reached. So there should still be some news about the case, at least through the summer, and possibly thereafter. Whether Rex's co-written story with Tommy De Vito ever appears in print remains simple speculation but if it did it would be a major event for fans.
So this is a summary of the most significant areas of research and interest we've focused on with our music detectives but my plans are to focus everyone once again on the Lost Period at Motown. What we have musically from 1970 to 1974 is not enough. There is a huge set of unheard and unreleased music by Valli and the group from this period and that will be our focus as we freeze the UK web site, and close the blog during this year. We plan to move our efforts to a new platform. Facebook
The web site and blog involve costs that we have carried for many years and given the prospect of 'no goodies in the cupboard' for the fans it seems time to 'draw a line' and 'park the bus' as far as the web site and blog are concerned. Personally I can't see any prospect of us receiving any more useful data or of writing of anything positive for fans based on the current status of things. But what we have published will remain on the www for some time and be accessible through search engines and our 'parked' web site. And we have a mass of data re what happened at Motown that we plan to share.
We're working on a final web site update to make the final Newsletters (Nrs 63 to 68)available for download. These feature the last of the 1970s articles in George Ingram's archive and the latest edits to Discographies featuring the primary releases on vinyl and CD over the years.
We'll be back in due course during this proposed final year of research and but as webmaster I felt it was fair to provide all fans and collectors a full status report of what we have achieved(and still hope to achieve).I'll not retire till the Motown Unreleased is in our hands. Join our campaign on Facebook discussing just what happened and might have happened at Motown and beyond 1971 to 1976
Plans are for Lynn Boleyn MBE to continue to maintain her role as news contact and secretary. She has become the public face of this group once again with the recent years get-togethers and concert tours and we could not have had anyone better. Over the last few years thanks to her contact with Dean Egnater. Frankie Valli’s Road Manager she has managed to get priority booking for the true fans at the UK concerts and indeed to actually meet Frankie and the "Seasons". Hopefully she can do the same and arrange to meet up with Frankie and the band again if the promised 2017 tour to the UK happens.
On-going fans of the Current line-up will still be able to push Valli to never retire!!
For now my best wishes to you all. Ken Charmer
Many music artists from the 1950s to the 1980s with maybe only one hit or a handful of albums in their career have had their original recordings researched and compiled such that the art of their creative talent has appeared on CD in the last 15 years. So how could an artist with in excess of 80million records sold have around 45 studio recordings still languishing in storage vaults nearly 50 years after their creation?. This remains one of the enigmatic mysteries of the Four Seasons history.
Maybe because we have worked so hard as an Appreciation Society committed to research and the documentation of Frankie Valli's musical history we have been the benefactors of music data that others have stumbled upon and gifted to us which the creators strangely wanted to ignore. That seems to be the case with the story of the Four Seasons period at Motown. It seems we are almost the best equipped to tell the story of that period.
During the 1990s information was leaked from Motown UK that there were a number of unreleased tracks from the group and Valli in Motown's huge collection of tapes. This was confirmed during the noughties when a UK Motown CD compiler established these existed and proposed a UK CD release. The Four Seasons Partnership quickly reacted to quash such a project and it was not until 2009 that Motown Universal's CEO negotiated with the Four Seasons Partnership for a release of the Anthology CD collection of the 22 recordings by Frankie and the group that had been released on vinyl only during the period 1972 to 1974.
That was it.! Or so we thought. The tracks from the 1990s listing and the UK compilers project still remained unheard....unreleased. Why? It is a reasonable question. Do they no longer exist as the Partnership's lawyer has contended.?. Or are we to believe they are unfinished and not appropriate for release as has been contended by Bob Gaudio and accepted by Motown Universal?
Certainly not......because since then as a result of anonymous donations of data we have been able to document a long list of tracks, tape references and master numbers which we have made available via our website in the Motown Tape Index. The 2009 release itself confirms the quality with two previously unreleased versions replacing the vinyl versions. This data creates more questions than answers and as we finish our research we are able to share questions and analysis which makes the suppression of this music even more strange. We plan to do this over the next year.
Back in 1971 Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli accepted Berry Gordy’s commitment to work closely with them and bring back the success they had achieved in the 60’s with a new sound. The deal signed with the label in the fall of 1971, following negotiations between Gordy and Valli himself, involved Gordy taking personal charge of guiding them back to the top, with his team of writers and producers, collectively known as The Corporation.(made up of Berry Gordy, Freddie Perrien, Alphonzo Mizell and Deke Richards)
There are four distinct phases of the groups contract at Motown. Originally signed to Mowest they worked intensely initially with existing producers A Valli solo album appears to have been considered too before the second phase and Bob Gaudio's own penned songs reflecting his thinking which resulted in a progressive adult contemporary album (he had failed to achieve commercial success at Philips with Genuine Imitation Life Gazette albeit some artistic acclaim) That album was to be titled 'Chameleon'. Not intentionally it became regarded as a 'concept' album. Single releases failed and Motown seemed to lose sight of this masterpiece’s strengths with failed promotion and mis-management. Such failure oft repeated during the 1970s by the company would contribute to the failure of the Mowest label. In 1971 when Motown moved to LA they had 9 Top Ten hits in the UK. By 1973 this was down to 4. Mowest’s failure to achieve much market success led Gaudio to somewhat abandon the group for his Motown in-house producer role whilst the group was troubled by internal conflict and changing personnel by 1973.
Phase 3 laid the seeds for potential success when Bob Crewe returned having signed as a writer/producer following recovery from financial troubles and nervous exhaustion after the collapse of his Crewe labels. He re-generated a new anthemic Seasons sound briefly before Valli sacked the group and started again recruiting a new line-up.
Phase 4 was the new album project Crewe and Gaudio seemed to have established with Motown which would lead to several top quality songs being demo'd in late 1973.With a quality 45 release in early 1974 success should have followed.
The failure of Motown executives at this time wasn't to be tolerated by Valli, Gaudio and Crewe as they saw potential being ignored or being under-promoted yet again. Leaving the label was the only option with a gem of a track and some potential tracks under consideration by Gaudio and Valli and the new highly skilled group line-up.
New deals for Valli's solo identity and the groups emerging new sound needed companies and Execs with insight and the distribution/marketing potential to create the success their talent deserved. Hence the Private Stock and Warner-Curb contracts that followed in 1974.
Quickly realising the error of their ways Motown rifled through the vaults to issue the 'Inside You' album as they owned all the tracks now left in rhe vaults. Two albums and a handful of single sides the legacy for3 years hard work
Nothing has appeared since with over 45 tracks now known to be recorded and on Tapes listed in our Motown Tape Index. A more detailed profile of all the work they did at Motown where they left 45+ tracks sitting in the vaults has been described in our Motown History of the group Parts 1 and Part 2.(see below) Check out the links. As we said initially, this is a most amazing situation in 2016 when the group's legendary status has been so reinforced since 2007 by the hugely successful musical Jersey Boys.
Would a release of this material prove successful?
If Bob and Frankie stepped back to look at the big picture of their career they would see this period as part of a journey from the desperate days of the debt crisis at Philips and their experimental attempts to revive the group and Valli’s reputation which led to the formation of a NEW Four Seasons band that gave the group their most successful hit ever and the finale to Jersey Boys. They will never be able to deny this fact or to have the world not recognise the achievements of Gerry Polci, Lee Shapiro, Don Ciccone and John Paiva. We just won’t let this happen.
Celebrating the rise from those desperate times was largely at Motown and we.can’t see how with the right Record Company and promotion that this would be a milestone collectors set. The quality of material has been demonstrated by the 'Inside You' album and the few demos that have surfaced since 2009. But more importantly this is a hugely important part of the groups and Motown history. It is musically a lost period.....'the missing link'. But whilst it would perhaps rekindle just what troubles surrounded the people involved during the period it would show how the individual brilliance of Valli, Gaudio and ultimately Bob Crewe created the second coming for two separate and brilliant acts, Frankie Valli AND a NEW Four Seasons which forms the finale of Jersey Boys.
But as with a Chameleon this group is changing colour as we close our focus on the history of the group in the 60s and start our CAMPAIGN TO FREE THE FOUR SEASONS FROM THE MOTOWN VAULT. Join our soon to be facebook group and help create the pressure necessary to bring this long overdue set of music to a deserving public. The fight to hear these lost productions is just beginning.
Read our detailed story of the time at Motown in our two articles
Our Facebook Free The Four Seasons Unreleased from the vaults Campaign page is now up and running
A good year for all UK fans with the tour back in June/July and the hope that there will be another UK tour in 2017 with talk of possibly four shows at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
A year also tinged with great sadness at the loss of our good friend Frank Rovello. However our wonderful memories of Frank will live on with his GILG website which will be maintained in the New Year in his honour following talks between Charles Alexander and Mary Rovello. http://gilgweb.com/initial.html
George Ingram, Ray Nichol, Ken Charmer and myself would like to wish all Frankie Valli & Four Seasons fans across the world a very merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.
I’ve been thinking for a long time how the collecting hobby of Four Seasons sounds was pretty exhausted and that with the passing of older fans that interest in their music and sound will ‘fall of the cliff’ as no-one younger seems to coming forward with interest and technical skill to carry on the research that we have been doing for the last 40 plus years. Keeping the sounds of harmony alive today and into future. How refreshing it was therefore to get the chance to speak with Kyler Schwartz in Philadelphia.
Kyler is a 23 year old avid 60s vinyl collector who is part of the Teensville Records team ‘bringing 60s rarities to the world’. I was sent for review one of their latest project releases on CD…… ‘A Sound For All (Four) Seasons –A selection of Jersey Harmony Sound-Alikes 1963 – 1967’. It’s a 32 track collection of Four Seasons imitators and contains many sides not heard before by even the most avid of Four Seasons collectors.
And the sound quality is excellent with tracks scoring generally DR10/11 on the Dynamic Range meter with RMS at or around -11 db loudness making it the best sounding set of such tracks since the ACE Laurie Sixties Vocal Groups CDCHD 346. The re-masters of even the well known tracks is an essential listen for any collector
The interview runs 25 mins and features clips from some of the tracks discussed and some of the rarer sounds. I can’t speak too highly of this set , if you like Four Seasons sounds and harmony groups generally. It’s a truly great set of rarities.
The UK fans have always been able to call on the friendship, help and support of Frank Rovello. Although we have always had independent web sites for UK and USA(GILG) fans since 1997ish we have never had to compete we just complemented each other and he did it all himself as did we. All Officially ‘Unofficial’. The Four Seasons have never appreciated what he did for them. Not really…..but it has been that way since the 70s as far as the fan base is concerned. It was 1997 back in the early days of the internet ’experience’ when I first corresponded with Frank Rovello. Frank wanted his data to be available to us and we were happy to return the complement.
He followed George Ingram’s Newsletters and contributed. We collaborated to get the CD set of The Adrian Baker Story compiled into ‘Harmony Gold’ and he mastered a few live show CD’s. He was always there for you………..always there to help verify a fact or a track and like us he always collected everything he could find and we were happy to add to his collection whenever we found any new ‘unreleased’ tracks and ‘live’ performances.
I got to meet up with him in 2007 when we had a ‘mini’ 4Seasons collectors get-together at the Roger Williams Hotel in NYC. He helped me compile the memories of the final Four Seasons show at Radio City before the now infamous ‘sackings’ for The Rise and Fall of The NEW Four Seasons e-book for our web sites with key photos of that performance. And like us he wanted the Motown Unreleased by Valli and The 4 Seasons to ‘escape’ from the vaults and now he never will. (nor may the rest of us until circa 2022-more re this in due course) He helped George Ingram and I with articles for the Newsletters tracking published articles through the years. Our UK fan club team hold fond memories of him.
George Ingram recalls…. “Frank did help me get two tickets for JB in NYC for Easter 2007 when the tickets were sold out. Apparently he managed to get Phil Ochs’s seats (don’t know how) because they were not being used at that time. Also he has been very helpful re releases, general information and related over the years. He will be sadly missed. I have dedicated newsletter no. 68 to him!”
Lyn Boleyn and Ray Nichol remember the convention he helped organize in Raleigh…..”What an absolute pleasure it was to meet Frank Rovello for the first time at the Four Seasons International Convention Weekend 24 – 26 October 2008, in Raleigh, North Carolina where the guests of honour were Joe Long and Demetri Callas. Our hosts were Frank Rovello, Johnny Hornsby, Russ McClelland and Charles Alexander who ensured that everything was just perfect for the whole weekend. Frank did a magnificent job on his web site covering the convention in his own unique and humorous way with not only photographs but audio footage as well. You can access this here: http://gilgweb.com/Raleigh.html Such very special memories of, as Joe Long described him “one of the good guys”; Demetri told us “he will be missed by many”. He was a gentleman, very kind and funny and he will certainly be missed by everyone whose lives he touched. A review of the convention can also be found here: http://www.seasonally.co.uk/News52.htm”
Ray recalls….”.I met him when I went to Raleigh and spoke to him for quite a while. You know we all have a degree of knowledge on the Seasons and Frank was quick to acknowledge this, I felt he was really into the music of the Seasons more than anything else as I gave him a piece of memorabilia which he appreciated and also a Motown double cd which(feat.The Night)was a freebie from the Daily Mail and that was most appreciated. He was an important part of the Season's email group and will be sadly missed by everyone.”
Well said all and thanks Frank for …..being there. Ken Charmer
Frankie Valli, along with other celebrities, has signed a glass plaque with a “doodle” which has been made into a unique piece of glass by glass artists to be auctioned off on the 24 October 2015 at Fieldings Auctioneers in Stourbridge, UK, for The British Glass Foundation, a local charity which is raising funds for a brand new glass museum in Stourbridge following plans by the local Council to close the existing Broadfield House Glass Museum which is second only to the Corning Museum in New York, the largest glass museum in the world, where 70% of the glass comes from Stourbridge!
Other celebrities who have done “doodles” for the project include Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet); Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin); Dave Hill (Slade); Steve Bull MBE(former Wolves and England footballer); Raymond Blanc; Emma Thompson; Beverley Knight; Sir Trevor Brooking and Sir Lenny Henry.
For more information, to see all the “doodles” by all the celebrities and to watch Frankie’s “doodle” actually being made into glass (to “Walk Like A Man”) go to: http://www.britishglassfoundation.org.uk/home/celebrity-doodles/
If you are interested in bidding on any of the pieces information on how to do this is on the Fieldings web site: http://fieldingsauctioneers.co.uk/auctions/the-buying-guide
GlassCuts 67 "Hot Stuff" Making The Frankie Valli Vase:
Details of all the Doodles are here:
ROBBY ROBINSON NOW ON THE MEND
Good to hear that Robby is now on the mend. He has told us ”I had the 1st surgery 2 weeks ago on July 15. After a couple of early "hiccups", and a trip to the Emergency Room, I'm happy to say that I'm on the mend. More surgeries will be down the road, but not as invasive as this 1st one. We go back on the road next week which will be our first tour since UK. This past UK tour was certainly memorable.....ESPECIALLY the Royal Albert Hall shows.....O What a couple of nights! Big thanks to you and all the fans who could not have been nicer. You really know how to make things special. God's blessings to you and yours! Robby.”
WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
AN INTIMATE EVENING WITH RYAN MOLLOY - 29 August 2015
Ryan Molloy is appearing at the Electric Carousel, Piccadilly, London, on the 29 August following his return from playing Frankie Valli on Broadway in Jersey Boys. Ryan will open up the New Jersey Songbook, a Hollywood inspired extravaganza, featuring great artists such as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Shirelles, Carol King, The Drifters The Ronettes and Frank Sinatra, taking you on a journey through the downtown streets where these legends were made following the sound they created from the boardwalk all the way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Songs include Can’t Take My Eyes Off You; Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow; This Old Heart of Mine; Be My Baby and Come Fly With Me. Ryan is currently working on his new album due out later this year.
Full details here:
First of all many thanks to Dean Egnator, Kennedy Street Enterprises and MCD Productions for arranging the special fan club tickets which enabled the fans to have front arena seats at the shows which was much appreciated by everyone – a million thank you’s from all the fans. It was a real pleasure, in conjunction with Frankie, Robby, Dean and Brian to make so many dreams come true for so many fans who wanted to meet with Frankie and the band.
What a terrific start to a fantastic and very special UK tour in Manchester on Friday 26 June at the MEN Arena – the fans were on their feet dancing at the front of the stage and in the aisles after the first song “Grease” at times singing louder than Frankie and the Seasons! Never seen that happen before and I think even Frankie and the band were a bit shocked at the fantastic welcome they received! The atmosphere was terrific and Frankie sounded better than I have heard him for quite a number of years, he looked great too and was happy and relaxed.
Robby Robinson had walked onto the stage on crutches with his left leg clearly strapped up. We were told Robby had fallen down some steps whilst carrying sheet music for the London Symphony Orchestra and needed surgery on his leg for damaged tendons. However, rather than cancel the UK tour Robby had delayed surgery until he returned to the US when he would be on a four week break before starting to tour again in the US. Like the true professional he is he got on with the job in hand, always happy and smiling, and no-one would have known he had such a serious injury if it were not for the cast on his leg. On behalf of all the fans we would like to wish Robby a speedy recovery following his surgery and hope he is soon up and about again.
The song list was similar for all the shows and included:
Grease; Save It For Me; Dawn; Under My Skin; Beggin’; My Eyes Adored You; Swearin’ To God; Fallen Angel; Spanish Harlem; Let It Be Me; My Girl/Groovin’; Stay; Working My Way Back To You; Opus 17; Tell It To The Rain; Silence Is Golden; The Night; Perfect Harmony; Who Loves You; December ’63; Can’t Take My Eyes Off You; Hit Medley (Sherry; Walk Like A Man; Big Girls Don’t Cry and Bye Bye Baby); Rag Doll and Let’s Hang On.
Frankie did a wonderful acapella start to “Sherry” with the Seasons and a very emotional portrayal of “Fallen Angel” – you could almost see the tears in his eyes - with a beautiful guitar solo from Larry Lingle and “Let It Be Me” was just perfect for Frankie’s voice. Great too that the 2012 version of the classic Northern Soul hit “The Night” was included again this year with the wonderful re-arrangement by Robby Robinson and beautiful harmonies by Brian, Brad, Brandon and Todd. “Tell It To The Rain” with some great guitar playing by Yarone; “Dawn” with the brilliant Craig Pilo on drums and Rick Keller’s superb saxophone solo on “Silence Is Golden” showed what fantastic and talented musicians Frankie has with him along with the Heart of England Horns who were with him for most of the UK tour.
The Bolton News reported “Showman Frankie Valli Storms The Manchester Arena” ending with “Despite being 81 years old, Valli has lost none of his showmanship and he strolled up and down the stage, shaking hands with the fans whilst producing that amazing falsetto voice that we all know and love for the two hours he was on stage. Twenty seven great songs, as sung by one of the best and most distinctive vocalists that popular music has ever produced. Oh what a night!”
The full review can be read here:
Before the show the fans had met up at The View Bar at the MEN Arena where Frankie Valli mugs and 50th Anniversary Tour brochures were distributed by Lynn Boleyn and then Mike Taylor from Exeter distributed hats and pens to the fans, retaining some for the Four Seasons and the band of course – many thanks to Mike for his kind gesture in supplying these mementoes for everyone.
The next Fan Club Meet Up was at De Hems in London on Sunday 28 June where again mugs, tour brochures, hats and pens were distributed to the fans. Guests of honour were Johnny Hornsby from Louisiana, Bill Bozeman from Florida, Jim Davis from New York and Ark Rickless from Longmeadow, Massachusetts and his friend Glenn Keedy from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Dutch fans Hennie Van Zutphen and Feibe Zweers were also there along with former Fan Club President, Malcolm Grace. Other attendees included George and Jackie Ingram; Ray and Avril Nichol; Bryan and Beryl Lomas; Mark and Alison Garvey; John Pingree and his girlfriend Lisa Murphy; Dawn Gates; Mick and Jan Holloway; Cath Carlisle; Gerry Forbes and his daughter; Roy and Diane Court; Lynn Boleyn and Andy Kyriakou and new member Keith Stevenson, all looking forward to the various shows.
The shows at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 29 June and Tuesday 30 June were made even more special playing with the London Symphony Orchestra – something Frankie Valli had always wanted to do and Robby Robinson had worked extremely hard with the Orchestra to ensure everything was just perfect for the two hour shows. It was good to see the Orchestra singing and swaying along to the hits and obviously thoroughly enjoying themselves too. Ray Nichol and Paul Tavernor were obviously chuffed to bits that Frankie was doing such a special show for their Birthdays on Tuesday 30 June!
At the opening show in Manchester and at the first show at the Royal Albert Hall Frankie had mentioned about his Mother taking him to see his idol Frank Sinatra when he was 7 years old where he had “never seen so many women” who were screaming and throwing underwear on the stage! New Fan Club members, Sue Mitchell and Mariette Chellew from Cape Town, South Africa, turned up for the second show with about a hundred pairs of ladies panties which were distributed to the fan club members on the first and second rows and when Frankie mentioned about the ladies showing underwear on stage we all stood up and threw the underwear at him. It was so funny! Frankie, the Seasons and the band also found it highly amusing – we couldn’t stop laughing! We were then treated to the very beautiful “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” which included the Frank Sinatra instrumental.
Much to our surprise and great delight whilst we were waiting to meet with Robby Robinson after the first show on the Monday evening Frankie Valli strolled onto the stage alone, drink in hand, and chatted with the fan club members. He was very relaxed and happily signed autographs and posed for photographs. He told us that he is working on a couple of songs, possibly for future shows, and mentioned doing “Please Don’t Break My Heart” and also “As Long As I Still Have You” by the Alessi Brothers reciting some of the lyrics “When all my hair turns grey, enter our twilight years and our friends slip away, finding it hard to hear, no, I'll never be afraid, as long as I still have you”. He was later joined on stage by Robby Robinson and Dean Egnator. We also noticed that Frankie’s twins Emilio and Brando and their older brother Francesco were sat down to the side of the stage so we took the opportunity to go and say hello. The last time I saw Emilio and Brando was on the red carpet at the opening night of Jersey Boys, London when they were 14! They have certainly grown into extremely handsome and lovely young men.
It was a shame that the deal to record the shows at the Royal Albert Hall fell through due, we were told by Frankie and Robby, to licensing problems. Everyone was very disappointed and even Bob Gaudio would have made the trip over to the UK had the recordings gone ahead. A great shame but thank goodness for YouTube for anyone who missed any of the shows and for those of us who want to watch the shows again!
Larry Lingle met with the fans after the second show on the Tuesday evening, posing for photographs and signing autographs. It was good to see him back in the UK again.
The Express did a good report of the shows and this can be read here:
The next show I attended was Birmingham on Thursday 2 July at the Genting Arena (formerly the LG Arena). I have to admit that I am not a fan of these big arenas and would much prefer to see Frankie playing somewhere like the Symphony Hall in Birmingham where he has played in the past. However, when speaking to Frankie and the Seasons they did say they enjoyed playing the big arenas as they can reach out to more people and certainly they did this again at Birmingham where there was an audience of around 5000. There was a slight problem with one of the pianos and whilst this was being fixed Frankie told the audience they had played two dates in London at the Royal Albert Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra. The problem was soon fixed and the show went on with the beautiful “Silence Is Golden”.
We had a fan club meet up at Crowne Plaza in Pendigo’s Bar before the show and after the show where we were lucky to meet up with the Seasons, Robby and the band at the hotel for drinks. Robby chatted with us for quite a while and said again how disappointed they were that they were not able to record the shows at the Royal Albert Hall. It was also good to meet up and chat with Larry Lingle again after all these years – it was a shame he was not singing this time around but he said he preferred to concentrate on playing the guitar which he loves. He said he will be doing lots of fishing for three weeks when he gets back to Vancouver Island! We also met up again with long time members, and close friends of Frankie Valli, Sir Greg and Lady Janet Knight – many congratulations on your Knighthood Greg – you must both be very proud.
There is a review of the Birmingham show here: http://nativemonster.com/music/review-frankie-valli-and-the-four-seasons-genting-arena
The show at Bournemouth was on Friday 3 July and I can do no better than to echo the comments by Darren Hirst in his excellent review here:
And before you knew it it was American Independence Day at the First Direct Arena on Saturday 4 July in Leeds! Armed with our American flags, sat on the front row the crowd again were terrific, dancing and shaking hands with Frankie after the first couple of songs.
We were lucky enough to meet with Frankie Valli again after the show where he signed autographs – including Ray Nichol’s tee-shirt and Dawn Gates’s hat – and we also met with Francesco, Emilio and Brando again. We had noticed Emilio earlier in the evening taking photographs during the show along with the official photographer. He told us that he plays drums and sings and Brando told us he plays guitar and writes music. Who knows, maybe one day we might see them on stage together! We were also told that Frankie’s Granddaughter, Olivia Polci (daughter of Toni Valli), also has a wonderful voice and has sung with her Dad (Gerry Polci) and his group The Hitmen and does a very good “Sherry”. This was Francesco’s last show as he was returning to the USA on the 6 July.
Monday 6 July was the Glasgow show at The Clyde Auditorium. There is a really excellent review of the show here by Stacey Auld:
and also some stunning photographs from her here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/musicboxunwinds/sets/72157653232065714
And to finish it all off the final show was at the 3 Arena in Dublin on Wednesday 8 July 3 Arena. Frankie had already said that he wanted to return to Dublin having played there some 20 years ago and they purposely stayed an extra few days so that they could do this. What a fantastic show. Again, Frankie was in superb voice and the audience were terrific. Frankie said he was so pleased to have finished off the UK Tour in Dublin. I think that this was possibly the best UK tour I have seen!
We met with Frankie after the show both backstage and later at The Gibson Hotel where he joined us on the terrace for drinks. We then moved inside the hotel as Frankie was feeling a bit cold – Emilio laughed and said his Dad always feels the cold and even wears a jacket in Los Angeles! Frankie told us Emilio and Brando are hoping to go into the film industry.
So it was time to say Bye Bye Baby to Frankie, Robby, Brian, Brandon, Todd, Brad, Larry, Rick, Craig, Yarone, Steve, Dean, Allan, Emilio and Brando and the Heart of England Horns. There is talk of another UK Tour in 2017 and the possibility of four shows at the Royal Albert Hall. We will keep our fingers crossed and hope to see all you guys again then. Hope you had a safe and enjoyable journey back to the US.
Brian and Brandon were staying on for an extended holiday in Ireland and we hope you had a fantastic time touring around Ireland – hope you remembered to drive on the left Brian!
Whilst in the UK Frankie Valli was also interviewed on the Loose Women Show on the 1 July:
USA Tour Dates
For those that can’t wait for the next UK Tour we thought we would let you know about some USA tour dates that are coming up!
USA Tour Dates can be found on Frank Rovello’s web site: http://gilgweb.com/initial.html and also on the official Frankie Valli web site http://www.frankievallifourseasons.com/index.html dates until the end of the year are below:
August 5 Grand Rapids, MI DeVos Performance Hall
August 7 Arcadia, WI Ashley for the Arts
August 8 Onamia, MN Grand Mile Lacs Casino
August 9 Madison, WI Overture Hall
August 16 Colorado Springs (Private)
August 18 Richmond, VA
August 19 Vienna, VA Wolf Trap
August 20 Youngstown, OH (Private)
August 22 Florence, IN Belterra, Casino
August 23 South Bend, IN Morris PAC
September 2 Richmond BC
September 3 Woodinville, WA
September 5 Saratoga, CA The Mountain Winery
September 24-26 Nashville, TN
October 7 Hartford, CT The Bushnell
October 9-11 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata
October 16-18 Westbury, NY NYCB Theater
November 6 Boston, MA The Wilbur
November 8 Boston, MA The Wilbur
November 20 Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Center
November 21 Charleston, WV Clay Center
November 22 Charlotte, NC Belk Theatre at Blumenthal PAC
December 2 New York, NY (Private)
December 4-5 Phoenix, AZ Celebrity Theatre
December 12 San Diego, CA (Private)
Of course you can still book to see Jersey Boys to hear all the great hits again. Jersey Boys is playing at The Piccadilly Theatre, London where tickets are from £25 and can be booked at www.jerseyboyslondon.com
Jersey Boys UK Tour
Also, highly recommended is the Tour Seasons – Tim Driesen has an amazing voice – they will be playing Wales (from 21 July to 1 August); then Southampton; Plymouth, Sunderland; Aylesbury; Sheffield; Manchester; Llandudno; Eastbourne; Glasgow; Dublin; Northampton and Wolverhampton (9 – 20 February 2016). You can book tickets here: www.jerseyboysuktour.com
And finally - they say a picture says a thousand words, so here is a small selection taken during the UK Tour:
We are really excited and looking forward to seeing Frankie, Robby, Dean, the Seasons and the band once again and also meeting up with all the fans, especially those who are making the trip from USA and Holland. We understand that if things go as planned Larry Lingle will also be with the band so it will be great to see him back in the UK too.
MANCHESTER GET TOGETHER
This Get Together will be at the MEN Arena in Manchester on Friday 26 June at The View Bar. Meet from 6.30 p.m. The View Bar is normally a members only bar but Ben Morgan at MEN has very kindly agreed that we can use this bar. If you require food then this will need to be pre-ordered and I will forward a menu nearer the time. You will need your concert tickets to get into The View. http://www.manchester-arena.com/hospitality/laurent-perrier/
The London Reunion will be at De Hems Dutch Café Bar in Soho – 11 Macclesfield Street, London, W1D 5BW on Sunday 28 June. Meet up in the first floor bar from 6.00 p.m. onwards. Your hosts for the evening will be Lynn Boleyn and Ray Nichol. Johnny Hornsby, Bill Bozeman and Art Rickless from USA will be our Guests of Honour!
We will be meeting up before the shows at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 29 June and Tuesday 30 June in The North Circle Bar from 5.30 p.m. onwards. The Circle Bar, overlooking The Albert Memorial, is located on Circle Level 3 (door 6). Don’t forget to wish Ray Nichol a very Happy Birthday on the 30 June! You will need your concert tickets to get into the North Circle Bar.
BIRMINGHAM GET TOGETHER
Meet in Pendigo’s Bar at the Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC Hotel, Pendigo Way, B40 1PS on Thursday 2 July from 600 p.m. The Crowne Plaza is next to the Genting Arena (5 minutes walk away). http://www.crowneplaza.com/hotels/gb/en/birmingham/bhxpw/hoteldetail/dining
LEEDS GET TOGETHER
Meet at the FD Bar at the First Direct Arena from 6.00 p.m. on Saturday 4 July to start off the American Independence Day celebrations! The FD Bar is located to the far left of the main Arena doors next to the Box Office. You will need your concert tickets to get into the bar.
DUBLIN GET TOGETHER
Meet at the Hemi Bar at The Gibson Hotel, Point Village, adjacent to the 3 Arena from 6 p.m. on Wednesday 8 July for a Guinness or two! The Hemidemisemiquaver Bar is on the 3rd floor with a terrace. http://www.thegibsonhotel.ie/food-and-drink.aspx
Enjoy the shows and do let us have all your concert reviews and we will publish a selection on our Blog and in the Newsletter.
UK TOUR DATES – STILL A FEW TICKETS AVAILABLE
The tour dates are below. If you still don’t have your tickets you can book them here:
Friday 26 June Manchester MEN Arena
Monday 29 June Royal Albert Hall, London
Tuesday 30 June Royal Albert Hall, London
Thursday 2 July Genting Arena, Birmingham
Friday 3 July International Centre, Bournemouth
Saturday 4 July First Direct Arena, Leeds
Monday 6 July Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow
Wednesday 8 July 3 Arena, Dublin
JERSEY BOYS, LONDON
Jersey Boys is playing at Piccadilly Theatre in London – To book your tickets to see the show click here: http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com/
Compiled by Lynn Boleyn
Contact Details for Lynn:-
170 Beachcroft Road
West Midlands DY6 0HS
Tel 01384 830862 (home)
Tel 07747 563623 (mobile)
UK Four Seasons Appreciation Society
Ken Charmer—George Ingram
Lynn Boleyn and Ray Nichol
Lynn’s Top 10 Things To Do In London!
1. A cruise down the River Thames from Westminster to Tower Bridge and back! A great way to see the sights of London and to find what what they are.
2. Take a walk along the South Bank and see the sights from the other side of the river
and all the street entertainers…. And its’s free!
3. Take a Duck Tour and see the sights of central London and the river without leaving your seat! £24 Adults; £16 children. http://www.londonducktours.co.uk/
4. London Eye—fantastic views from the top of the Eye—don’t forget your camera! https://www.londoneye.com/
5. Take a trip back in time and visit the Tower of London and see where Anne Boleyn got her head chopped off! Ooops! http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/
6. Covent Gardens is a great place to see and shop and don’t forget Harrods!
7. London’s newest attractions—The Harry Potter Studio Tour—see behind the scenes and Hogwarts Express! http://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/ and The Shard http://www.the-shard.com/
8. The changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace 11.30 a.m. daily. http://www.buckinghampalace.co.uk/changing-the-guard.php
9. Take a walk through Hyde Park and visit the Diana Memorial http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde-park/about-hyde-park
10. Visit the West End and see a great show like Jersey Boys!
Special Fan Club tickets can be purchased by clicking on the following link which will go live on Wednesday 18 February for 48 hours:
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday 20 January at 9 a.m.
Many thanks once again to Dean Egnator and to MCD Productions for arranging the special Fan Club tickets which is very much appreciated.
The 2015 UK Tour dates are now as follows:
Friday 26 June - MANCHESTER Arena - Monday 29 June - LONDON Royal Albert Hall - Tuesday 30 June - LONDON Royal Albert Hall - Thursday 2 July - BIRMINGHAM Genting Arena (formerly the LG Arena) - Friday 3 July - BOURNEMOUTH BIC - Saturday 4 July - LEEDS First Direct Arena Monday 6 July - GLASGOW Clyde Auditorium - Wednesday 8 July - DUBLIN 3Arena.
By Lynn Boleyn
It has taken a while to catch up with George Ingram who has been ‘motoring’ through his archive of articles and news of releases re The Four Seasons this winter. This is not ‘Jersey Boys’ but the real history……of the real group and their producer Bob Crewe. It celebrates their work and the teamwork that was necessary at all stages in their career and the success this brought.
Below are links to our Newsletters 61 and 62 and our web site is also updated to provide links to updated UK discographies and to Bob Crewe’s SOLO discography which now includes the recent discovery by Musicologist Mike Miler of a lost ABC Paramount 45 of Bob backed by the 4 Lovers on Come To Me and Another Day. Both are Bob Gaudio compositions the latter appearing by Chuck Jackson on his 1962 album ‘Encore’. It is amazing that even today unknown songs can surface like this. We hope to get these rare sides onto You Tube soon.
The Newsletters focus on late 70s articles and the last great ‘original’ hit band line-up of the group as well as obituaries and articles re Bob Crewe who passed away last year. Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio have got a lot to thank George Ingram for as in his Newsletters there is a very collectible scrapbook of many articles not available on the internet. This record of articles interfaces with Frank Rovello’s page at the GILG web site and in Newsletters 47 to 62 we have a published library dating back to 2006.(and a digitized archive going back to 2000) This like all internet data is ‘transient’ and may not be available for too much longer in this digital form. Grab it while you can.
There will be a couple more Newsletters this year before George ‘officially’ retires having left the most comprehensive review of the group’s history and releases ever. We are all indebted to him.
And see our web site for even more on the groups history in The Rise and Fall Of The NEW Four Seasons as well as Master Track information for the groups recordings from 1953 to 1974 and a CD discography upto 2011 compiled by the late Stefan Wreidt.
Special Fan Club tickets can be purchased by clicking on the following link which will go live on Wednesday 28 January:
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday 30 January.
Many thanks once again to Kennedy Street Enterprises and Dean Egnator for arranging the special Fan Club tickets which is very much appreciated.
The 2015 UK Tour dates are now as follows:
Friday 26 June - MANCHESTER Arena
Monday 29 June - LONDON Royal Albert Hall
Tuesday 30 June - LONDON Royal Albert Hall
Thursday 2 July - BIRMINGHAM Genting Arena (formerly the LG Arena)
Friday 3 July - BOURNEMOUTH BIC
Saturday 4 July - LEEDS First Direct Arena
Monday 6 July - GLASGOW Clyde Auditorium
By Lynn Boleyn
28 January 2015
Lewis Griffiths, Tim Driesen, Sam Ferriday and Stephen Webb - The Tour Seasons
The very first UK Tour of Jersey Boys kicked off at the Palace Theatre in Manchester on 4 September and last night I attended the performance at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, with my partner Andy and long time fan Mark Garvey and his wife Alison. What an absolutely fantastic way to start the Christmas festivities – the show was brilliant. Being a huge fan of the original four West End Jersey Boys, Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield, Glenn Carter and Philip Bulcock I did not think anything could come close to their performance and the close camaraderie they showed on stage but I have to say this came a very close second.
The cast are terrific with Tim Driesen playing Frankie Valli. Tim has a really amazing voice and a superb falsetto. Stephen Webb was outstanding as the lovable rouge Tommy DeVito and played the part extremely well. Local lad Sam Ferriday was just brilliant as Bob Gaudio and Lewis Griffiths was an incredible Nick Massi. Matt Gillett was excellent as Bob Crewe and it was quite poignant to watch his scenes following the recent death of Bob Crewe “I’m seeing it in sky blue”. They well deserved the standing ovations they received. If you have not seen the show then I would highly recommend it. The show at the Alex runs until the 4 January and then will be playing at Canterbury, Milton Keynes, Southend, Aberdeen, Woking, Dublin, Bradford, Oxford, Bristol, Liverpool, Norwich, Wales Millennium Centre, Southampton, Sunderland, Sheffield, Llandudno and Glasgow. To book tickets or for further information and dates click here:
So a great end to what has been a great year with the start of the Jersey Boys UK Tour, the announcement of the 2015 UK Tour by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and the release of Jersey Boys the Movie. Another movie in the headlines this year is the Story of Northern Soul which features the original version of “The Night” a massive UK Northern Soul hit in the 1970’s. The 2012 version of this song, with superb arrangements by Robby Robinson, was done especially for the UK tour that year with Brian Brigham (who has been with Frankie almost 12 years now) performing the background parts with Frankie. A wonderful version of this popular song.
A short film done by Ryan, Glenn, Philip and Stephen featuring a song that was not played in Jersey Boys although the lyrics “If you’ve got a home and family you’ve got much more than me” were. The song “Everybody Knows My Name' (from the 'Working My Way Back To You' album December 1965) captures the desolate creativity of being on the road can be heard here:
Check out also the ‘Unforgettable’ CD which features Frankie Valli and The Fours Seasons Joy to The World Medley: Deck The Halls/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/Away In A Manager and Joy To The World available now from Amazon.
So it just remains for me, on behalf of the UK Appreciation Society, to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year.
Friday 26th June - Manchester Arena
Monday 29th June - London Royal Albert Hall
Tuesday 30th June - London Royal Albert Hall
Thursday 2nd July - Birmingham LG Arena
Friday 3rd July - Bournemouth BIC
Monday 6 July – Glasgow Clyde Auditorium
Looks like Frankie is doing another Birthday bash this time for Ray Nichol next year on the 30 June! Ken Charmer seems to have started a trend here! Fantastic news that they will also be playing with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall – what an awesome live concert DVD that would be! Let's hope that Frankie will decide to do just that. We would like to say a very warm welcome to the Four Seasons new singer Brad Sharp who has replaced Landon Beard who left the Seasons in the Summer. Brian Brigham tells us that Brad is a very talented Broadway and recording artist and we very much look forward to seeing him.
Kennedy Street Enterprises very kindly agreed to reserve front arena seats at all the venues for the Fan Club (apart from Glasgow which is being promoted by D F Concerts) – and the link to order tickets is below. Sincere thanks to Kennedy Street for organising this for us and also to Dean Egnator.
Please order the special fan club tickets by Friday 14 November as any unsold tickets will then be released to the general public.
If you require tickets for Glasgow then these can be ordered from the folllowing link:
If you have any problems ordering your tickets please contact Lynn Boleyn at email@example.com
By Lynn Boleyn
We've had Jersey Boys and lost Bob Crewe.....both events left me completely numb but for entirely different reasons. The tenuous link with the past may have been created with 'The Movie' but losing the 'iconic' Bob Crewe was a reminder that none of this......Four Seasons Appreciation Society is forever. But then we still have some Newsletters to go.........
The latest Newsletter from George Ingram’s extensive archive of published articles is motoring through the 1970s and it is clear that control of the image and media for fans is sanitized and restricted. We shine the limelight on Gerry Polci, Lee Shapiro, Don Ciccone, and John Paiva as as well as Frankie Valli and Bob Crewe as their musical contribution is recognized. Our legacy for a great group.
PS Please note at present this Newsletter is NOT ACCESSIBLE VIA OUR WEB SITE.........ONLY VIA THIS LINK.
We knew it was coming after his accident and dementia a few years ago but the passing of Bob Crewe (my real music hero) in a way brings an end to an era. Our deepest condolences go out to brother Dan and all of Bob’s family and friends. Personally as a man and a producer I respected him, his talent and work more than any other 60s producer.
For 15 years we have researched his career and discovered little known tracks that show his immense talent. As a reminder of Bob’s skill read the blog of Don Charles…by clicking …..THE POP CULTURE CANTINA. His career was awesome. It captures what we have been saying about Bob’s achievements in his production/writing career. He taught the Four Seasons how to make not just records…..but hits…he made Bob Gaudio a consistent musical genius…..he enabled Charlie Calello to become a top producer. He created success for others and gave hits to so many artists who will remember him with great affection
Despite the success of Jersey Boys his breadth of work remains relatively unknown and his achievements very much under appreciated.
With 8 bootleg volumes of 'Seasons' Connections compiled from our collection of his work it is such a pity a record company working with Bob couldn't have helped us celebrate this great producer with official collections of his work. Don Charles blog post is currenly the most comprehensive bio and sets the record straight for those who don't know of his work.
Our past posts on the blogs have paid tribute to him in many ways and below are just a few:-
and the work he did with Bobby Darin is legendary…(he spoke about it here)
But the research we did into his female answer to the Four Seasons for me showed the great man and producer he was. He picked the lady who was to become a dear friend ‘Jean Thomas’ to be lead singer of The Rag Dolls and the result was a string of great girls sound 45s. Jean's bio contains a quote by Ellie Greenwich which captures their special relationship……”Jean’s good friend Ellie Greenwich had met Bob Crewe before Jean got to meet him. Ellie had a good relationship with Bob Crewe and commented on his ability in an interview before her untimely passing in 2009….."I'm not exactly sure when I met Bob Crewe, but we always saw each other around the business from the very beginning. (We) had an affinity for each other (and) still do! He was a joy to work with on all levels . . . he's a perfectionist, he's open to any outside ideas, he really knows what he wants and gets it, and most of all, he is passionate about what he does. He puts all of himself into everything he touches . . . I always loved and still do love Bob! I can go on and on about this talented gentleman, and he is just that: A 'gentle man'."
I like to think that now Bob and his great friend Ellie Greenwich are together in Heaven’s Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame and they are watching over successive generations discovering their music and stories.
Maybe his bio which we know he worked on will now surface. We know he completed many interviews and notes for this a few years ago. We can only hope that brother Dan can pull this together his wonderful life deserves this and we could all cherish his achievements and stories.
Finally to hear what Bob achieved with the Four Seasons and we didn’t get to have released catch Bob’s unreleased DEMO ‘Lovers’ which actually features images of Bob posing with a beautiful unknown girl. Bob Crewe at his best.
More re Bob and his legacy soon. Casey Chameleon
Joe, as we all know, played bass and sang with Frankie Valli as one of the legendary Four Seasons for 11 years from 1965 following Nick Massi abruptly leaving the group in late 1964.
Born Joe LaBracio he grew up in the Peterstown section of Elizabeth, a neighbourhood of Italian-American families. Joe, whose family lived on High Street just off Third Avenue, said in an interview “Peterstown — we called it the Burg — was the greatest place for a kid to grow up. I am deeply honoured, I can’t imagine a higher compliment than to have your home town honour and recognize you in this way, I am flabbergasted, I am speechless" Joe said of the honour.
"To meet him is to love him," Walt Gollender said, "He’s got a tremendous personality. He makes you feel very comfortable." How very true – the UK fans have very special memories of Joey Long. Joe toured the UK with the group, often MC-ing the show and doing improvised comedy routines with Tommy DeVito (who he still sees frequently). He made a lot of British friends, and has fond memories of performing at the London Palladium, a gifted musician who clearly retains the sharpness of wit and generosity of spirit that continues to endear him to fans the world over.
Congratulations Joe – very well deserved and you should be very proud.
Click here to see a copy of the scan of the tribute pamphlet associated with Sunday's Joe Long street naming event and other stories and videos of the day – with thanks to Frank Rovello:
By Lynn Boleyn
After the disapointment of Jersey Boys – The movie and Casey's review of the (mainly) UK press I found a big lift and reminder what being a Four Seasons fan is all about. My long-time friend from New Jersey(we became pen pals in 1976 when I joined the UK/US fan clubs) sent me this video featuring two of my favourite members of the group. It reminded me what a great 'LIVE' group they were and getting the chance to hear Gerry sing the lead on 'December 63' once again was magic.
And then along came the 4th of July and Frankie Valli's performance in Washington to celebrate with the nation. It is interesting to see 2 such different Four Seasons bands present the music that they have entertained us with over the years.
Back in 1976 if someone had suggested these two alternate venue's to them or us we would probably have dismissed it as impossible.....but they remain top entertainers.
According to The Telegraph it is “a film so grey and musty, it should probably be inspected on public health grounds for mildew.…. ….I entered with low expectations….and came out thinking “ some nice moments but Clint Eastwood rushed the film too much and missed/sacrificed the group's magic”
On the positive side I had to agree with The Independent’s assessment…..”One of its pleasures is its recreation of post-war America. It is shot in widescreen. The early scenes are in desaturated colours which give the sense that we really are back in the 1950s…..There are quiffs, cars with fins, and scenes set in bowling alleys but the film never lapses into Grease-like caricature. The device of having characters talk direct to camera, commentating on events in which they themselves are participating, isn’t as jarring as might have been imagined. As in House Of Cards (in which Kevin Spacey’s rogue politician tips the audience the wink) we quickly become accustomed to this style of storytelling.” (it happens in every episode of ‘Modern Family’)
But I did realize that this may not be enough to hold the attention or create the excitement of 1960s music for a big audience. As The Guardian says…”this version of the Four Seasons story appears to take place in a vacuum; for all the period detail (good to see a solid '56 Dodge Coronet in the street scenes alongside the more camera-friendly car cliches), there's scant sense of the pop world outside the boys' own four-part bubble.”. This is to many fans I am sure entirely unfair. Given the story context and length it would not be possible to do justice to the 1960s music scene. The theatre and audience appearances are authentic and the studio scenes are well matched to photos we have of Bob Crewe and the group in the studio.(even to Bob Gaudio's 1967 goatee- although he never had hair that long till the 70s.)But some of the key stage show effects are sadly missed.(The 'Dawn' stage climax before the intermission for example)
Some critics have panned the film and anticipating seeing it I was asking….”what should I expect ?”……a story of four guys trying to succeed as the 50s crossed over into a changing 60s?….or a portrayal of the music scene of those early years of the decade?…….well, Clint Eastwood went for the former …..but seeing that I recognized missing aspects of the 60s music making that no-one has tackled. The NYC music scene is becoming increasingly difficult to capture and the unique style, creativity and personality of those times......but at least Bob Crewe's portrayal was visually accurate and his dynamic production style was partly achieved...and they included his infamous Dakota Building parties....wonderful stuff. Perhaps the film falls between two stools achieving neither an effective piece of entertainment or a portrayal of musical development. But I didn't like the lack of credit 'musically' to Bob Crewe......he only did the lyrics.....and no production credit?. Same old problem with The Partnership......lack of credit to the teamwork. Others seem to agree. Eddie Rambeau who worked with producer Bob Crewe and wrote for the group had a valid perspective….”having lived through it myself, although the film will appear entertaining to most, it really wasn't that factual”..It is also clear from information received that Bob Crewe's family will not be too thrilled with the film. They and we, I am sure, recognise that Crewe “ was the real brains behind the success of The 4 Seasons”. Eddie, I and many others believe Bob was the driving force behind their career even if Gaudio's music was an integral part of the success. Jersey Boys doesn't capture this but the movie goes further than the stage show. Crewe was far from perfect but he did teach them their craft and this doesn't come over enough.
The Independent review also focuses on how the storyline is too predictable…....” Eastwood can’t escape the clichéd nature of films about bands. Inevitably, there are the years of struggle. Then comes the giddy period of early fame and success. Next follow the recriminations, broken marriages and unpaid tax bills. It’s at this point that the band splits up and its members tell each other they won’t perform together until hell freezes over. Then, in the final reel, the band is bound to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame amid scenes of semi-sincere reconciliation. You can’t blame the screenwriters for following a hackneyed old formula. This is simply the way that it always seems to happen.”
It is easy to agree that…..”The film is structured a little untidily. There aren’t climactic moments”….something the show never suffers.
The film does have a major problem according to The Telegraph…”The problem is immediately and heartbreakingly apparent. Rather than embracing the jangling song-and-dance numbers that made the live version box-office catnip, Eastwood sheepishly tidies them into the background, treating the project instead like a standard music-industry biopic” And unlike the show, the MUSIC loses out…”On screen, they (the songs) feel a tad flat – not something you could ever say about the records (look at the electrifying use Philip Kaufman made of them in The Wanderers).” …says The Guardian…..”Instead, it’s the band’s fantastically tedious internal squabbles that the film obsesses over”. “This is Eastwood’s major mis-judgement.” ….observes The Telegraph. Not an over-whelming approval from the UK quality press.
But we know it is a false storyline and didn’t happen(we accepted this in the stage show back in 2005)……..in many ways this 'inaccuracy' is where it works for its target audience. Whilst the early portrayal of a struggling band is backed up by some fact and research ….the later story line is some facts and fictions strung together in an out of sync timeline for theatrical effect……..” based on an almost true story’ is I guess the label it needs. But this has always been Jersey Boys ‘entertainment strength’ and ‘historical weakness’. You either accept the entertainment or feel cheated….I guess? Perhaps the most successful dramatic effect was the Francine storyline. It is well done throughout and although the adaptation was sensitive to the loss of a child, it is just not the real timeline
Personally I can't forgive the music production. Here was the chance to recreate ‘the sound’ of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in ‘surround sound’. But this production fails to realize Bob Crewe’s majestic productions of the unerring vocal harmonies of the 60s hits. And even worse, as Rolling Stone says ” the immediacy(of the show) is lost. The camera keeps the music at a distance, a bitch when you're aiming for raw vitality. The result is a golden-oldies valentine sent by a well-meaning tribute band.”.The opening Prelude fails to capture any energy or excitement.(as the stage show does)...and I wasn't comfortable with the ending as the whole cast pranced around as part of the closing credits resembling the end of 'Shrek'.
But inevitably the conclusions of the USA's Daily Variety perhaps hit the spot….” Though Eastwood didn’t have the best of luck with musicals as an actor, this property ought to have been well within his directorial wheelhouse. As a helmer, he’s always had an astute ear for music; he excels at regionally specific ambiance and period studies, and here he avoids the music video shooting style that has turned so many recent film tuners into brightly coloured slurry. But as handsome as his compositions are, Eastwood’s filmmaking simply doesn’t have the snap or the feel for rhythm that the script’s rapid-fire theatrical patter requires, and the relative dearth of prominent musical performances turns what could have been a dancing-in-the-aisles romp into a bit of a slog.”
For many perhaps the film works as a piece of entertainment. A well staged and well acted drama with music......and although 5 songs are missing from the stage show it still almost worked....as a drama. ..not a music portrayal. And what happened to give us the 'crazy' trombone in 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You'?...I was embarrassed that it was sooooo bad. Significantly I found myself staying for all of the credits to hear Sherry and Rag Doll....the 'original sound' in surround sound. A highlight. It is no surprise the 'original hits' CD's are selling like hot cakes
But I do agree with John Hornsby… “the film nonetheless has its own peculiar charms”
As he says…”I think the big difference is that the play is like a live concert with the story of the group tying it all together, while the movie is the story of the group with the music tying it together. I have heard people coming out of the stage show saying "I could sit through that again"......because it's live music, like re-living a Seasons concert in the 60s. There is a difference. The two entertainments aim for different things.”
But my mixed feelings come down to one serious failing apart from the presentation of the music. The film suffers from a lack of time spent with attention to detail.......'8 track' recording was not available at the time of 'Sherry' and the recording sessions are not correct in several respects....and neon signs denoting 'Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons' above their heads during 'Walk like A Man' are simply wrong. They were 'The 4 Seasons' at that time.......but this to many is just technical detail. The acting by all the main characters is quite strong, and John Lloyd-Young is as good as anyone has got to Valli. ….but could a film actor have caught the drama better? Some stage show fans will be outraged because 5 songs are completely dropped,'Big Man In Town', 'Let's Hang On', 'C'Mon Marriane', 'Beggin' and 'Fallen Angel' but the drama doesn't suffer, even if the excitement does. Again that points to the lack of musical impact highlighted by The Telegraph comments above
But final judgement goes to two ladies in their 60s coming out of the cinema who spoke to me and I asked them if they enjoyed it......'Yes' they said...'Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio seemed like nice people'. So....notwithstanding my and others mixed feelings re the movie.....perhaps mission accomplished guys.?.......Surely most people who have seen it and the Stage Show will agree...The Stage Show rules!!
We don't write about cover bands.......but one band we have experienced in recent years was something special......You may remember a Four Seasons sound-alike group that briefly appeared as 'The Franks'.. and their awesome version of 'The Night'...it is the best ever 'cover' version of that song and proved what we thought back in 2008...... that they are the best Jersey Boys cast members...EVER..notwithstanding the JB movie. Well you don't have to believe us even if you haven't seen that long lost video on our London JB tribute DVD. Although their JB contracts finished....and they disappeared from You Tube.......they haven't disappeared totally.
Back in April 2013 Philip Bulcock who played Nick Massi in Jersey Boys, London production, told us he had produced and directed a short film with the rest of the guys who played along side him when the show opened back in 2008, (Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield and Glenn Carter). He told us then that whereas Bob Gaudio was inspired by a film to write a song, Philip was inspired by a song to make a short film.
That song is 'Everybody Knows My Name' (from the 'Working My Way Back To You' album December 1965) and the film bears the same title. Although none of them had the opportunity to appear in the current Jersey Boys feature film, they all feel his film kind of makes up for that in a small way. Not only did Bob Gaudio really like it but now we and the world have the opportunity to see it . NOW we can reflect on their extraordinary acting and musical talent as the film goes public. Click the link text above or here....
The film is so much more than the music in it and it captures perhaps 1965 and the desolate creativity of being 'on the road' as The Four Seasons.
Well perhaps it was a promo ahead of casting for the film....and even if it was it remains a stunning visual and vocal promo. But we believe this performance is vocally so good that they should complete their role as portrayers of `That 'Four Seasons' Sound' with a CD album. Their own sound is such a close modern alternative that captures the emotion and intensity in a way no-one has done in any sound-alike bands. Experience and judge it for yourselves. Some very authoritative music business people agree with our reaction.
This movie makes you want more....just like their London JB performances did.....their creativity and personality shines through......whatever they want to call themselves we want more
You know as I get older I am amazed at how much we forget.....well me really.
After all of the excitement of Charles Alexander’s compilation quiz and the final release of the track listing…….I stumbled across something I wrote back in 2011 whilst Charles was still thinking his project was a dream.
Funny thing is it is still very relevant to Charles project.
The fact that so many artists regarded his songs as worthy of their interpretation is for me a key point in this collection and the 4Seasons songs chosen illustrate my contention that his best material was in collaboration..
But look back at this article as it is not my words but those of some of the people who worked with him that dominate. You can doubt them and their perspective but it is totally credible. I am sure Charles notes and explanation of the 7 year odyssey will also provide further insight into the extremely hard job of writing great songs and Gaudio was a master even though it was hard work . It certainly paid off…..and this collection only scratches the surface.
and I also back then had the effrontery to compare Crewe-Gaudio as producers. I'd forgotten about this as well.
Of course I am not taking back a word of it….otherwise I’d have deleted or corrected it. I really should archive such great stuff.
We’ve been running the Four Seasons blog now for several years and our team of music detectives have un-earthed a mountain of data which is mind-boggling in comparison with what we knew about the group during the 70s when the fan club was at it’s peak as was the group’s music. Looking back through George Ingram’s recent newsletters has been a fascinating window on the past and as we reach the end of the articles library it again reminded me of the joy and the pain of being a fan during the 1970s. The joyful success of The Four Seasons and seeing them for the first time and the complete dismay when they broke-up (they were unceremoniously sacked – as had happened to Joe long back in 1975 after 10 loyal years).
Some people have commented recently about a ‘negativity’ in the blogs I post and is maybe something they don’t like to see. Maybe it is uncomfortable reading. I’ve always been careful to be supportive of the fans needs for accurate data and the contribution of the group/band members and of the Jersey Boys show and actors. But hey let’s get real and look at what you may want to praise or criticize …..lets ‘Walk Like A Man’!!!
Here’s some alternative perspectives from fans on their forums…….
Quote…..”I must say that your site has been a godsend for many of us fans who have begged for releasing older material albeit Motown or anything else. Your research and persistence in this area is truly amazing. As an American, I wish that this pursuit was heavier in this country where you would think that the resources would be greater.
Without your efforts we would never have been able to have access to some of these gems. (I Wonder Why, Lovers, Hymn To Her, Make Your Tomorrow Tonight, etc.) I only hope that it continues.”
“I know that it’s been frustrating that the partners(The Four Seasons Partnership) haven’t been any help in this pursuit. “
Response….”When we set up the web site back in 1997 we tried in vain to establish some sort of relationship with The Partnership to help the fans learn more about the past history of the group. That failed due to the Partnership’s wish to control what was said re the past,,,,,,,after all we now KNOW the past was to some extent (dare I say) ‘shady’and it was their right to control disclosure. They have done this as they wish in ‘Jersey Boys’. What was inexcusable was sending out ‘cease and desist’ orders when we were trying to communicate and accommodate them back in 1997. We at that time withdrew any support for the Partnership and have since focused on The Four Seasons as a group and all the members and collaborators who played a part in their story……independently of anything in the ‘fiction’ of Jersey Boys. What we have achieved has been for me truly amazing thanks to collaborators all over the world. A network of music detectives and collectors. I thank them all on behalf of anyone who benefits in the future from our research.
Question…Do fans have a right to hear the unreleased tracks?
Quote received….”I must take issue with this. Artists have the right to approve the release of their work. Apparently, they don’t think that any of these tracks are worthy. If I didn’t feel that if I produced a product that wasn’t good enough…I wouldn’t want to release it. Sure, many of us don’t really care and I love what I’ve heard so far!! It’s really not for us to say.
On top of that, there isn’t a real demand and from what I understand, the work involved outweighs any benefit….except for a few. “
Response…..This is an accurate comment but remains a bone of contention amongst artists and fans throughout music. My position is this……I am a music collector/detective and my interest is art! It happens to be popular music and is not restricted to The Four Seasons but I have recognized the importance of their creative body of work achieved with others irrespective of who instigated paid for or owns the work. Legally such things are clear. Artistically and historically there is much to debate. Have we the right to read Shakespeare’s unpublished plays? Go figure!. The fact is that Motown Universal have ownership of these recording and they have little or no commercial value to either them or the Partnership. Only when there is enough artistic value involved to enable historians to assess the full body of work will they appear. The one thing that US law does require is that they are preserved. So I believe they should be heard and added to the body of knowledge. We aren’t going to agree on this one, and I believe it is for us to say. Art for Art’s sake.
Quote……Regarding their loyalty to past members, John Paiva, Joe Long et al. Let’s not forget that the 1975 Four Seasons didn’t want Joe Long. The decision was made to launch a new band that would appeal to the current record buyer. I think Gaudio/Valli did everything they could to promote the Four Seasons with lots of product. It just didn’t work. Plus, it was their money!!! They took the risk…not the band members. I commend them for having tried. Sour grapes to those who complain.
Response…..The sacking of Joe Long must inevitably have stemmed from frictions within the band and Joe’s age may have been against him. The decision to market a youthful line-up without Joe was ultimately Valli/Gaudio’s whatever the influences and was sad and unworthy of the man’s loyalty and contribution.
Equally so the sacking of the band when we had all been told they were to be a NEW Four Seasons was ‘shabby’ and ‘disloyal’. But hey this is the music business and ‘the owners’ of the name needed to protect their finances/brand. But there was another way….why not carry on or at least give the guys a choice? Last night I was watching ‘Moneyball’ and Brad Pitt said to his assistant that he should call a baseball player in and just tell him they had to ‘let him go’. He couldn’t…..and Brad Pitt said “When you shoot a guy which is worse….A bullet to the head or five to the stomache and let him bleed out?” It’s a familiar perspective in business……but not all of us agree with it. Ultimately this goes down to Valli’s chosing his solo path…..for whatever reason?....he ultimately ‘cherry-picked’ Lee Shapiro reversed the decision and re-formed the band …and it has been that way since.
With John Paiva and Joe Long the expectation was not so much ‘sour grapes’ but a ‘lack of loyalty’…but hey this is the music business….come back Nick Massi!!!
Subject quote…..”Regarding Jersey Boys being the official Four Seasons legacy?
Take what you can get!! A play that involved a revolving door of past member in true chronological would have been a mess and uninteresting. Again, the partners took the risk for this project…no one else. After many failed tries…..they struck gold. That’s the coincidental story line here that mirrors their career. They could have had a one-off movie of the week years ago that would have faded in a month. Now look….almost 10 years running!!!!. What Jersey Boys does tell us is that persistence and determination can still pay off. I can’t tell you how many times they probably thought about giving it up over this 50-60 year span. It’s inspiring.”
Response…..Jersey Boys has been a great show and thanks to a Four seasons fan…Rex Woodard getting Tommy to ‘dish the dirt’……and we know from the court papers what happened. But would we have wanted it to not happen….NO way….and didn’t the writers do it well. We’ve all had many hours of joy this last 10 years thanks to that chance being taken. My problem is that we need to keep it as ‘A Four Seasons Show’……part of the legacy but not the whole story and I have had others say the real story behind the music is being sub-summed by this commercial ‘juggernaut’
I’ve always respected Frankie Valli’s tenacity/drive and determination to please his audience and to be so committed to them and his music. For me Bob Gaudio’s tremendous talent as a writer and producer are diminished by his limited recognition of the ‘team members’ who helped him achieve success……particularly his debt to Bob Crewe…..and I’ve said what I’ve said re ‘The NEW Four Seasons’ of the mid 70s….they deserve better recognition. Even if only in the credits.
But these are all just stories along the path of life……..just Four Seasons stories and whilst we will always respect and highlight the collaboration and creativity of the ‘members’….I think it is valid to be critical and concerned re the portrayed history of the group and access to their art.
We made the decision back in 1997 to not commercially support The Partnership after their treatment of us(me directly). I think since then we have done a substantial amount of commercial support in keeping fans informed. The research info is really valuable historically as has been the preservation of vinyl masters. No thanks is expected or wanted. No commercial gain of any kind has been made. But enough is enough and the research and web work will be wound up. The site and blog will eventually close-down probably next year. Someone else can champion the legacy if they are perhaps able to find a patron …..maybe someone who cares about truth and loyalty. Now that would be inspiring.!
Some people are waiting with baited breath for The Jersey Boys movie and dreaming of such a resurgence of interest that record companies will be keen to dig out the unreleased material for old and emerging fans. Well whilst the movie may increase interest in their download archive the likelihood that any effort will go into a documentary(as with the Beatles Anthology) or issue of any unreleased material...... there is little evidence of this given the past approach of the Partnership.
The latest Newsletter from George Ingram’s extensive archive of published articles is motoring through the 1970s and it is clear that control of the image and media for fans is sanitized and restricted. With the now established story of the group immortalized in Jersey Boys (soon to be on general release as the movie…based on the stage play) there will be little appetite in the Partnership for sharing any of the limelight with Gerry Polci, Lee Shapiro, Don Ciccone, and John Paiva as they get no mention in the show /film….nor is their musical contribution recognized. A sad legacy for a great group.
But at least on the UK Four Seasons Appreciation Society web site fans can collect articles on the reality of their 1970s music and of that great line-up. For me perhaps the best line-up was before Joe Long left and whilst John Paive was doing lead 'fill-ins' making him a natural to move forward into the line-up (an event suitably reported in Newsletter 59.) and just look at the list of vinyl releases from 1976 to 1980. Great days…..so enjoy the download page by clicking here or on the image above.
As we now have the movie trailer of the forthcoming ‘big screen’ version of the stage show it seems appropriate to ask the question as this snippet of action, script and music emerges, carefully crafted to entice followers of the stage show.. OK there is not enough to make a full critical assessment of the production but there are certainly enough indicators of the style and presentation to make some observations.
Clearly the structure and approach of the individual group members giving their perspective (as in the stage show) is retained and developed to take advantage of the benefits of a movie production rather than the stage. And the vocal presentation known to most of those who have followed the show will enable people to relate to John Lloyd-Young’s lead vocal. The similarity with the JB Cast CD sound is apparent as soon as the trailer starts.
Show fans will be excited at the prospect of the movie version from this 2:19 sec snippet.
But as a long term music historian maybe I won’t feel that the interpretation actually captures the essential legacy of the group and their unique sound. And I don’t think I will be alone.
But first there are several attractions to the film version apparent in this trailer.
Each of the group members characters immediately connect with personality and attitude reminiscent of the best stage performances. And two surprises immediately strike home. Firstly Christopher Walkden’s presence as Gyp De Carlo hits straight away. Secondly Bob Crewe’s portrayal is so like him that it is uncanny in appearance terms. The scene of him in the studio is a close copy of the photo set by George Schowerer taken in 1967. (albeit five years earlier) The actor , make-up and studio design capture the appearance of Bob in the Mirasound Studio.
Clearly care and good design have been used to create the sets for each scene taking advantage of extensive 60s simulation in design to portray the locations, cars and atmosphere. These will certainly enhance the action. The glamorous appearance of girls in 60s fashion it appears will be a feature.
With the opportunity to develop the play’s stage dialogue and to complement a more natural context the script writers have elaborated. How effectively this works remains to be seen and can’t be judged from this trailer?.
But like I said earlier doubts remain for me as a ‘purist’ studying the sound and its creation. Inaccuracies in the script/storyline are part of theatrical and movie productions and we know of the many fictions in the ‘play’ storyline from interviews. But the different arrangements of the songs (ie keys/tempo/harmony etc) have worn thin for me. Maybe it is working on ‘original’ sound of The MONO Archive ‘restoration project’ for 3 years but once again this sounds like a tribute group which I guess is a good as it could be. How could anyone re-create Bob Crewe’s overdubbed masterpieces? And Charles Calello’s masterful arrangements?. Appropriately adapted for stage and screen I guess Bob Gaudio will maintain!! But it also comes down to my allegiance to MY Four Seasons and the lack of respect shown to Gerry/Lee/Don and John…..The NEW Four Seasons we grew to love back in 1975 and 76. The mis-portrayal of these guys in the presentation of Who Loves You and December ’63 continues to rankle with me.
Saying that the show maintains an interest for successive generations of new fans doesn’t work for me. Would the portrayal of Frank Sinatra in a movie singing in such an ‘out of context’ way be accepted by anyone who loves his music.? No way.
We’’ll be able to fully judge the movie when it ‘premieres’ in June and although a chorus of fans will enthuse it……I’ll monitor the critics response and we’ll gather opinion for then.
Another year and another Newsletter from George Ingram has arrived chronicling the latest and the past data for Four Seasons fans. But the one thing that has changed since Newsletter 50 is that the identity of what the Four Seasons were/are has ‘morphed’ into the Jersey Boys(in what must be the biggest ever ‘tribute band’ franchise) and Frankie Valli and his Band impersonating both the Jersey Boys and The Four Seasons. And just to confuse matters even more we have two of the 1970s Four Seasons ‘hit group’ performing as the ‘Hit Men’.
So if this Newsletter No 58 is somewhat confusing for fans new and old then you are forgiven as a read through brings home how much things have changed not only since 1977 but since 2007. The LP and Singles information is laid out for 1977 and so to the recent 2013 releases. With download only collections abounding now and ‘out-of-copyright’ re-issues surfacing keeping a log of these and updating the CD discography at our web site is proving to be impossible. What is there on the web-site is a reference file(compiled by Stefan Wriedt from George Ingram’s Newsletters) for what came out between 1986 and 2011 and we will leave it there.
One of the landmark articles of the 70s is included in this newsletter(although as it appears on the GILG web site we have simply linked to it rather than re-scan).This article pulls no punches on the difficulties the group had. Also the differences in the story of the writing of ‘Sherry’ between Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio are perhaps symptomatic of their on-going ‘different perspectives’ as is their dispute over Bob Gaudio’s credits on the long-list of hits. Bob Gaudio is painfully honest re his ‘call’ to get the group to do ‘Genuine imitation Life Gazette’ as well as the aftermath. But although Valli’s extensive recording efforts at Motown are mentioned no-one back then knew what we know now in terms of the unreleased material amazingly still in the vaults at Motown. Far less successful groups have had their tape history poured over and documented and preserved over the years yet it is still down to this group of ‘music detectives’ to unearth the real story and the list of music. As for their release….well (as usual)‘dream on’.
The final section with the listing of ‘Frankie Valli On Record ‘ shows just how far we have come. With the advent of the internet it has been possible to gather so much more detailed data on the releases of the group both before and after their first success as the Four Seasons. There are still gaps and our ‘music detectives’ continue to seek ‘the final word’. That information is down to us….not The Four Seasons Partnership. But one question remains………is there enough interest to keep the research going. Maybe the time is coming to leave the Four Seasons Story to the Jersey Boys fans?
Another great effort by George but clearly we are reaching the ‘last knockings’
Broadway's John Lloyd Young who created the role of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys and won every award the New York theatre world has to offer, including the 2006 Tony Award, will be hopping across the pond to star in Jersey Boys in the West End, starting on 15 March until 27 April at the show's new home, the Piccadilly Theatre.
Ryan Molloy, currently playing Frankie Valli, and also Jon Lee will be leaving the production currently at the Prince Edward Theatre on 9 March. Jersey Boys is leaving the Prince Edward to make way for Miss Saigon. Jon Boydon will be staying on.
John Lloyd Young also stars in the highly anticipated big screen adaptation of the musical JERSEY BOYS, directed by Clint Eastwood. The film will be released in theatres on 20 June 2014.
Fantastic news that we are going to see John Lloyd Young performing in the UK but sad that after 6 years Ryan Molloy will be leaving the production. The original four cast members, Ryan, Glenn Carter, Stephen Ashfield and Philip Bulcock were fantastic very talented actors, dancers and singers.
The UK Tour has just announced a new date at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham from 9 December until 4 January. You can book tickets here:
By Lynn Boleyn
The very first UK Tour of Jersey Boys will start at the Palace Theatre in Manchester on 4 September and then playing Edinburgh Playhouse and Sunderland Empire (from 25 November to 6 December - tickets will be on sale 21 February). The tour is currently scheduled to run until January 2015 and more dates are expected to be announced shortly. The West End production, which is moving from the Prince Edward Theatre to the Piccadilly Theatre in March, will continue alongside the tour.
This will coincide nicely with the release of Jersey Boys The Movie on 20 June 2014.
To book Manchester tickets click here:
|Jersey Boys is on priority on sale NOW!|
By Lynn Boleyn
We would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year and to share with you some lovely comments received following the two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London in June.
We would also like to take this opportunity thank Dean, Robbie and Brian for arranging for us all to meet up with the Seasons and the band after both shows - we really appreciate all the help and support you have given to the Fan Club in arranging the best seats for us and for the get togethers after the shows – thank you. Dean also very kindly let us have some of the surplus tour brochures and mugs following the cancellation of the other 5 UK concerts – thank you Dean that was a really kind gesture. If anyone would like a tour brochure or a mug then please contact Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org
What a fantastic year it has been and, of course we have lots to look forward to in 2014 with the opening of Jersey Boys The Movie next June and hopefully we may be able to get some tickets for the Premier of the movie in New York and London.
Some Reminiscing – The UK 2013 Tour:
“A big, big thank-you to Lynn, Ray and the team for organising the UK fans' response to the Royal Albert Hall performance by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It was totally fitting that Lynn and Ray should be featured in the 50th anniversary programme (issued on the 51st anniversary!). Thanks to the UK Appreciation Society, we not only had access to the best seats in the house but we were able to meet Robby, Landon, Brandon, Brian, Todd and Roland ... not to mention maths expert Johnny Hornsby who had flown in from the USA for the occasion. Hey Johnny, you finally discovered why our favourite music still knocks 'em dead in the UK! Have you ever experienced anything like this before?
“I had the week of my life on my recent trip to London to see Frankie at his two Royal Albert Hall shows. The UK fans respond so much more enthusiastically than most of the US audiences I've seen. For about the final 1/3 of the show, fans were up on their feet and dancing....while this happens toward the end of shows, it started much earlier during the show, to my surprise. Frankie's still got it. I was able to meet many wonderful UK fans, some of which I had never met in person. I've corresponded with George Ingram since the 1970s, and was finally able to meet him. Lynn Boleyn did a fantastic job organizing the fan gatherings, and Ray and Avril Nichol took me under their wings to take me around London. I saw also Mike Taylor, John Pingree, Dawn Gates, Tina (Gypsy woman), Dave Quick, Mick Holloway, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some others. What a great group. We had two gatherings at the Three Greyhounds Pub, and in addition to the two Valli shows, Ray and I attended a matinee of Jersey Boys. The cast was excellent”.
Johnny Hornsby (Fallen Angel), Mandeville, LA
“Whilst I appreciate a mention in the dispatches most of the credit must go
to Lynn, her endless work is incredible and also Mike Taylor needs to be
included for his generosity in supplying everyone with caps, pens, photos and
discs. A lot of credit must also go to everyone that showed up, it really
fired the event just meeting everyone. I can honestly say the atmosphere
was very stimulating. So Dawn, Dave and Phillip thanks for the kind words and thanks to everyone else for being the great team players that you are.
Ray Nichol, Tyne & Wear
I totally agree, without the hard work put in by Lynn and Ray the meetings and show events would not have that extra sparkle that hard work and dedication bring. Also we must not forget that these are both people with families and their own lives to lead so the fact that they find time to do all the organising for us Seasons fans is even more amazing, and I for one feel truly honoured to be part of their circle. Of course there are some others in the support network who deserve a mention, like the guy who supplied the pens hats and foto scans each year, Mike Taylor. The Monday pre show pub meets are a great idea and a great time to see all familiar faces and meet a few new ones like Johnny Hornsby from the USA who proved to be a real gentleman and a true ambassador for the US fans and collectors. I also had a great time!
Dave Quick, London
“Thank you for arranging our seating area and the meet up before the shows we
appreciate all you do for us. Andy, my husband, was unable to come this time but my
friend Val was so taken with Frankie she thought he put on a fantastic show and wants to come again next time”!!
Chris Wright, Essex
“Angie and I would like to thank you for arranging the seating areas where the REAL fans were given privileged seats to enjoy the MAN and the music we have appreciated over the years”
Gerry Forbes, Scotland
“I wanted to say thank you for adding me to the fan club group so that I was able to book those front row tickets for the show. I couldn't quite believe it when I saw where we were sitting, I imagined we'd be to one side, not right in the middle! My friend and I thought the show was fabulous and Frankie was on good form considering he'd been ill, singing all the favourites including ‘Fallen Angel’ and ‘Stay’ which are my favourites. Thank you so much for inviting us to stay and meet everyone after the show. I'll keep my fingers crossed that Frankie and the boys are over again before too long and in the meantime hope to see you at Jersey Boys before it changes theatres”.
Sue East, Essex
“Lynn does so very much for the group and makes things happen that would not happen without her. I know for a fact that without her help, I would not have been on the front row for all these times, I would have been much further back wishing that I was up front, shaking hands with the man. Sadly, not getting to meet Frankie again, this year, was a little disappointing, but then we can't have everything now can we, but meeting the band after the show was great. It is so nice of Robby Robinson to arrange it and my thanks go to him too. Last year, I thought that nothing could compare to the experience of seeing Frankie perform live (I thought that it would never happen), but I was wrong. Even though last years initial excitement of seeing him live for the first time, will never be replicated, this year was just as good. Frankie sang his heart out and sounded outstanding. The voice, (in my opinion) was even stronger than last year. If Frankie has been ill, then I would like to hear him when he is in full health! Frankie looked relaxed and at ease, much more than he did last year and the whole show flowed with ease. I think that my nicest moment was when he said, "’Til next year" as he left the stage. That gave me hope that we will see him again. I hope that we will see him every year, wherever he is performing.
I spent a wonderful day with my friends and then met even more friends, old and new in the meet up at the pub. Then it was across the road to see Jersey Boys. This was my third time and it was brilliant. I saw my third Frankie (John Lee) and he was wonderful. After that, we went on to the main event at the Royal Albert Hall. There I met up with more friends and I could not have wished for a better day. I spent it with friends and then with Frankie, how good is that. I am still reeling from it all”.
Dawn Gates, Sheffield, UK
A 1963 Concert for $1.50!
We have also received this from Ray Ricci in Newport, USA who said “this is a recollection of my first Four Seasons concert. I just wanted to share some thoughts as a fan along with a little historical perspective from my point of view”
My First Four Seasons Concert (Before “Dawn”)
November 11, 1963 was Veterans Day here in America. Not only was it a day out of school but it afforded me the opportunity to see, for the first time, my favorite group -The Four Seasons.
Being hooked on “Sherry” from the start I was so pleased that I would actually get to see them in person. Up until this point pop groups, save the odd TV appearance, usually traveled from city to city as part of a “Cavalcade of Stars” on tour busses sponsored by chewing gum companies or the local radio stations.
I believe in Britain during this same time period you enjoyed lots of different venues to experience all the popular bands. I think, with some exception, the media here didn’t treat pop acts with the same legitimacy.
Here, it was an afternoon venue at a movie house. (The Columbus Theater, Providence, RI) For $1.50 you were able to see a film (Bye, Bye Birdie) second run, of course, a local jazz combo and then the Four Seasons. The theater wasn’t full, by any means. It wasn’t a very well sponsored event, just a small ad a few days before in the local newspaper mixed in with the current movie selections. At this point in their career they recently released their first “Golden Hits” LP. They were coming off a decent summer with “Candy Girl/Marlena” and VJ recently released “New Mexican Rose/That’s The Only Way”.
The set up was minimal. Bob used an upright piano while Tommy and Nick were on their respective guitars. I didn’t know who the drummer was, could have been a local hire or even Ron Roach.
The set list included the hits even “Bermuda” and probably some of their earlier Four Lovers material. It wasn’t a polished act as they would later be known for. The only real comedic part was when some girl approached the stage to take a photo. They were in the middle of a song and suddenly stopped, put down their instruments and posed for the photo while trying to get in front of one another for the best possible position. The crowd laughed, they then resumed the song.
I do remember that Frankie’s vocals were strong. He hit all the notes exactly like the recordings while the background vocals were a little weak but audible. Remember this was way before sound systems and mixing boards were used.
They didn’t do the aforementioned new release…I was a little disappointed…maybe they knew that the record was going nowhere or that they wouldn’t see any profits. Perhaps they didn’t do them because, as I would later find out, they hadn’t learned the songs yet (the backing tracks employed mostly session musicians).
What I also didn’t know was at this time they were without a record contract. They either just recorded or were about to record “Dawn” and were trying to find a label. Wow! Who would have thought that in their first full year of popularity this was even an issue. On top of that, this concert took place only days before the Kennedy assassination. It seemed that the whole record industry would be on hold and probably further delayed negotiations and subsequently releasing “Dawn” some months later.
In addition to these events, the Beatles were becoming noticed here and would soon change everything about popular music and concert going…probably for the better.
I personally believe that these events also prevented “Dawn” from becoming their fourth number one record but, curiously, made the Four Seasons product stronger in the few years to come.
It seems to be slowly dawning amongst collectors that ‘preservation’ is the name of the game for the Four Seasons catalogue. A US mastering engineer told us….”the Four Seasons kept the “group sound” alive into the 60s, even after the British Invasion hit American shores, so their significance in their legacy of pop music is monumental. Personal taste aside, some music is worth preservation if only for historical purposes and The Four Seasons’ mono single mixes are the way listeners remember them being played on the radio, not those sloppy Philips throw-togethers(STEREO or MONO Mix-downs). Hindsight is 20/20, and had the group thought of KEEPING the multi-track session masters, we could have accurate stereo remixes that match the mono single mixes. Alas, that is not to be, so the mono mixes rule.Another issue I have with stereo is overdubs being added during the mix to mono for the singles.”
In our last blog we promised we would finish the archive soon and the results are now being reviewed to select the best versions. These MONO mixes have excited us enough to commit a set of 26 tracks from Volume 2 (13 of their Philips 45s) to CD which has produced a great listening experience. I asked our own sound engineer about the technical process.
“The key was the network because without that you can’t access enough pressings to find good clean copies…..and dubbing and cleaning presents issues with the sonic integrity of preserving the vinyl. What format to dub to and what bit rate? But perhaps fundamentally……What is MONO? Well when the songs where originally issued on Philips 45s and MONO albums the expectation was that they would be played with a MONO stylus on a MONO amplifier, reproducing Bob Crewe’s radio focused mix. But since then and particularly today most people playing vinyl will use a STEREO stylus and cartridge. So, two slightly different signals result. In fact, this is a form of STEREO. So unless you use a MONO cartridge and stylus,,,it’s not true MONO. Another factor is that although a digital MONO signal can be generated this will be a mix of the two channels thereby averaging the sound. And when burned to CD the process re-generates 2 channels of MONO….that is what CD’s contain…so you can argue about integrity till the cows come home. The Four Seasons first Philips MONO album PHM 200-129 contains the following comment from Philips…..”Own a stereo phonograph? You’ll find playing this Philips regular Monoaural long-playing recording on it a revelation. In fact a stereo phonograph considerably heightens the natural clarity and brilliance of any Philips long-play recording.” That is because of the effect I already mentioned of the slight differences in the left and right channels.
We decided that in the interests of consistency and ‘hi-fidelity’ we would reproduce this effect for this period of music. The results we believe have the ‘heightened clarity and brilliance’ Philips advertised.
The aim has been to capture and optimize the dynamic range(the difference between the quietest and loudest sounds) and to preserve the ‘sound of vinyl’ from the analogue age.”
And why is the first CD you’ve compiled from the Archive the first half of the Philips era? “ Simply because we have overcome our biggest hurdle with the Philips set (finding the different mixes in MONO)and these are of the group at their peak. We started at the beginning with ‘Bermuda’ the first Four Seasons record and completed the Gone/Vee-Jay set last year but we have had far more problems with the Philips set. This is because with Vee-Jay, many of the 45 mixes are the same as the albums so we had more choice and quality vinyl sources. Bob Crewe shortened the first 2 nr 1 singles by a few seconds compared to the LP (and any Stereo mixes) so we had to use the 45 versions but the rest are generally as the MONO Lp’s. He also in the Philips era took final mixes to Bell Studios and overdubbed or sweetened the tracks before the MONO mix was done to get the ‘radio’ sound he wanted….so some of the STEREO masters that are on CD today do not match the MONO hit sound. We eventually got ALL the original Philips 45 mixes.
The other key point was the people who worked on this project loved and knew the music so much and they had the 45 sound burned into their memory banks from the 60s. As a listening and testing group they added a unique talent to the exercise. We couldn’t have done this without them
The complete archive is therefore a baseline set for anyone wanting to analyse the ‘true’ sound of the Four Seasons as experienced by record buyers during the 60s.
We’ll eventually compile the archive to CD’s in sets of 2 each for the ‘Gone/Vee-Jay’ and the ‘Philips’ releases from 1962 (well really December 1961) to 1968.”
And anyone who is interested in these results will know someone in the ‘network’ of Four Seasons fans and can get to hear them. The preserved digital files will not be perfect as they are not from the master tapes but they are pretty clean and the challenge will be to continue to review demo’s and promo’s to get as clean and as close a sound as we can to the original master. Remember we do not believe these exist in the Four Seasons Partnership’s archive.(in such a complete set). The Archive(in our library) will remain a work in progress but we are happy that we have it, as the first step in the preservation is now complete.
We’ll follow up with notes on what are the significant facts behind the MONO mixes in due course
Here is a sample…..
This last years projects have brought a new focus on the Four Seasons catalogue for me and several of my dedicated Four Seasons collectors friends. The MONO Archive project started as a result of discussion between top German sound engineer Stefan Wriedt and I, three years ago. My contention that in sound quality terms there was a lot to complain about re the Four Seasons catalogue was echoed by Stefan. And the key objective of preservation of the sounds we got to know on vinyl seems more important than ever today. It started with the question of whether we could find, clean and re-vitalise the original vinyl releases digitally and if these would prove to be a better listening base than the CD compilations we have acquired since 1988, supposedly from the original masters.
The last year has been has been all about re-discovering the 45 and MONO LP mix and how a good MONO mix can match or even surpass STEREO depending on it’s quality. What we grew up with has left a 'stamp mark’ in our brains of how the Four Seasons 45s used to sound on radio and record player during the 60s. This was before the time when most of us had ever heard STEREO....unless it was one of the 'train sound' novelty hi-fi stereo demonstration albums on a rich friend's Dad's radiogram. These included recordings of trains passing with the sound of the train moving across the room from right to left as the Stereo soundstage moved it. There weren’t many STEREO albums around in the UK in the early 60s or STEREO record players
Today our collections on CD and I-pad/phone are a mixture of flat sounding MONO re-masters and a set of so called STEREO that bounces instruments and vocals between our ears in an artificial spatial wilderness that confuses the whole thing in our heads. We maybe don't realise this as we’ve grown used to it but the track can become confused with all kinds of peaks and dips coming from all directions in the stereo image. As soon as we get focused on the strings and bass on the left the harmonies are coming in from the backyard!!! It is just not right.
This is simply the result of our educated ears bringing us full circle. With the CD age we became used to listening to our hi-fi systems and good speakers. Sound bounced around the room and reverberation softened the wideness. We had inherited what was understood as the STEREO sound from back in the early 60s. Peter Vance of Abbey Road Studios commented on this phenomena back in 1997...”......even with the increased usage of 4-track(studio recording) in the mid-60's , the positional restriction of the stereo mixes often left a lot to be desired. You would regularly end up with most of the rhythm on one side, guitar or percussion on the other side and perhaps the vocal in the centre. It wasn't until the arrival of 8-track machines, towards the end of the 60s that the stereo image, on pop recordings, eventually regained respectability. As a matter of interest, this had never been the case with the 4-track "MOR" recordings (e.g., Shirley Bassey, Matt Monro, etc., etc...) where the orchestra was recorded in true stereo on two of the tracks, the vocals on a third track, with one track free for whatever. This method ensured that the stereo 'picture' remained natural and interesting.
The somewhat simplistic approach to recording of pop back then also extended to the layout of the groups and orchestras in the studio itself. This meant that there was only minimal screening of the individual instruments and vocalists. Fortunately, the excellent acoustics of the studios at Abbey Road have always meant that any spill of sound from one microphone to another is always clean and only serves to produce an overall natural and pleasing sound, a situation which, by default, has always been the norm for classical recordings. Ironically, it is these very circumstances and their effect that producers, engineers and artists are finding to their liking once again some 35 years later. This is also true of the old valved microphones and limiters which are regularly in demand, because of the unique quality of the sound that they still produce - it's funny how things tend to go round full circle."
STEREO recording today is not like this, as we said back in 2009 in Chameleon's blog. Today's recordings have a sound stage that represents a 'live' performance with each voice and instrument in good position before the listener. Listen to good masters on good equipment and MONO can sound alot like this. That MONO sound was really all that Bob Crewe focused on....and it is what we knew. Instruments and vocals balanced in the mix separate and coming from a fictitious stage in front of us. The Four Seasons actually backing Frankie Valli.
The Four Seasons 1965 mixes suffer most from this problem whereas the 1967 tracks recorded on 16 track at Mirasound Studios have a much more balanced sound. Today we have educated our ears to want sound in headphones a lot of the time and more sophisticated sounding headphones than we ever had before. We need to have the sound-stage re-balanced. This is not so easy without multi-tracks and it appears it will be some years before the development of spectral analysis produces extracts from the STEREO mix-downs(the ‘Partnerships’ masters) that enables such balanced re-mixes to be done.
So why do we accept this when we can listen to and enjoy the MONO mixes that we knew. Well maybe because there aren't any really good re-masters in MONO of the sound we used to listen to in the analogue age. To appreciate this today you have to listen to the MONO 45s or LP's on a good record player and amplifier . Trying to capture this sound from vinyl and get it into digital form has been a challenging but satisfying exercise for the fan collectors group. Listening to the 'Jersey Beat' box set may be some people’s idea of ‘connecting’ with the MONO mixes but these are NOT the vinyl sound we knew. Re-mastering today can easily fail by adding too much EQ (equalization – a process that enhances elements of the sound.) The balance and intent of Bob Crewe's original MONO mixes can and has for some been lost. If the original MONO mixes have not been preserved then the Four Seasons Partnership have reverted to a mix-down from STEREO to MONO. The problem is that this may be an alternate mix to the MONO 45 and you can lose definition and balance on the instruments and harmony eroding the sound which was optimised by Crewe and his sound engineer in the original mix for vinyl. It is a recognised fact that the 4-track recordings from those days no longer exist so it is not possible to 'fix' any defects in the MONO or STEREO masters. Some of these occurred at the time (using techniques to mix to MONO) or are due to deterioration, lack of care or physical damage to analogue master tapes since.....which makes the vinyl the real source for 'MASTERS'. So if re-mixing from tape is not possible what is the potential of re-mastering from vinyl?.
“Mastering is the essential last step in music production. A mastering engineer takes a mix and makes it sound right for a particular purpose. Typically, the mix is equalized, so it has all the necessary frequencies. Dynamics are then adjusted, to minimize the differences between softer and stronger parts of the recording, and finally compression is added and a limiter is employed to make the overall sound louder, a method that is now very popular.” says Melda Productions. The problem is that over the last 15 years or so making the Four Seasons mixes sound louder has lost the 'feel' originally put into it by Bob Crewe and the group.
What we have done in the MONO Archive is search out the cleanest and most dynamic sounding MONO vinyl versions we can find, digitising them at a higher than CD sampling rate before cleaning to remove noise and crackle. Final versions are mastered to the recommended levels for digital sound but leave the sound essentially the same with the MONO signal optimised.
The result we have found makes it hard to go back to the STEREO CD's to have your head messed up. It is a digital sound that works particularly well on headphones, in-car and on mobile devices. It is the consistent sound of 60s radio with just the right amount of spatial feel. But mainly it is a reference point for the groups sound. It may well be that engineers will with 'modern' digital tools re-shape and 'fix' the STEREO mixes using Spectral Editing and 'Stereo Enhancement' to create NEW mixes that Bob Crewe would have been proud off. It wouldn't be the 'original' sound.....that was MONO....but it might give us a balanced and more realistic 'soundstage'. As Stefan said back in 2009....”What you find is that the sound of a (STEREO)CD often ‘sticks to the speakers’: you’ll hear it coming from the left speaker and from the right speaker but there’s nothing in between – the proverbial ‘hole in the middle’”. But tackling the Stereo is the next step...for now we are making good progress finding the MONO from good vinyl.
Back in 2009 we asked the question as to whether there still existed good ‘Masters’ of the Four Seasons music? It seems now in 2013 we have found the answer......on vinyl. So far we have found and re-mastered/archived some 90% of the 45 catalogue from 1962 to 1968 and we will see it complete this year. More on our efforts and results from the vinyl (.......now in the ‘Archive’), very soon.
We seem to be featuring a few films just lately on our Blog! And here’s the BIG one!
We have just been informed that the long awaited film adaptation of the musical JERSEY BOYS, which is directed by Clint Eastwood, will be released on 20 June 2014. Plans are already being made for fans to meet up for the premiere of the film in New York.
Original Tony Award Broadway star John Lloyd Young who played Frankie Valli stars in the role of legendary singer Frankie Valli.
Joining John LloydYoung in the cast are Renée Marino as Mary Delgado, Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio, Christopher Walken as Gyp DeCarlo, Mike Doyle as Bob Crew, Joey Russo as Joe Pesci, Erica Piccininnias Lorraine, Donnie Kehr as Norm Waxman, Jeremy Luke as Donnie and Johnny Cannizzaro as Nick DeVito, and Kathrine Narducci as Mary Rinaldi.
As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Clint Eastwood specifically wanted to cast the main roles with stage actors from the show's currently running Broadway, touring and international productions. It is a shame that none of the cast are from the UK or that Frankie Valli and his current boys are not in the film.
JERSEY BOYS is the journey of how a group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time: Frankie Valliand The Four Seasons. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide - all before they were thirty.
By Lynn Boleyn
Philip Bulcock who played Nick Massi in Jersey Boys, London, has made a short film with the rest of the guys who played along side him when the show opened back in 2008, Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield and Glenn Carter. He told us that unlike in our previous article A Forlorn Dream Of A Hit, where Bob Gaudio was inspired by a film to write a song, Philip was inspired by a song to make a short film.
That song is 'Everybody Knows My Name' and the film bears the same title. Philip told us that unfortunately none of them had the opportunity to appear in the upcoming Jersey Boys feature film, but feels his film kind of makes up for that in a small way. Bob Gaudio, he tells us, has seen the film and really likes it and Philip wanted us to share this information with you.
As you most likely know, 'Everybody Knows My Name' is a cracking song and the only one that is mentioned in Jersey Boys but not performed. The film isn't on release yet but there's an IMDb page and a facebook site giving insights into how it was made etc. The film will be released shortly starring the four actors who played Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy De-Vito and Nick Massi in the original London West-End production of the hit stage-show 'Jersey Boys'.
By Lynn Boleyn
4 November 2013
As spring of 1968 arrived the Four Seasons and Philips had realized that ‘Genuine imitation Life Gazette’ was a bit of a disaster and singles from it would dry up with Philips 40597 (Idaho/Something’s On Her Mind). They must also have been wondering if they could salvage Frankie Valli’s solo career with a hit 45? The relationship with Philips headed into decline and the prospect of any new recordings seemed dim. But side projects have littered the groups and Valli’s career and sessions in late1969 would lead to the release of Philips 40661 in April 1970. Thanks to Paul Urbahns and John Pingree who highlighted this back-story we are partly able to research and provide some feedback re this somewhat understated milestone in Frankie Valli’s solo career.
‘A Dream Of Kings’ was a novel turned into a film in 1969 starring Anthony Quinn with a music score by Alex North a well known film score orchestra leader. Released by National General Pictures(a December 1969 release date is indicated but so too is February 1970) the film was nominated for a 1970 Laurel Award)and a film score album was assembled. The film somehow seems to have inspired Bob Gaudio to write a song with Jake Holmes by the same title. (possibly through long-time contact Al Kasha who was music supervisor on the score) and this was apparently recorded and registered with Philips in December 1969. Produced by Bob Gaudio and arranged by Joe Scott (who would go on to arrange three tracks on the 1970 album ‘Half and Half’ Philips 600-341) the song features a lush but innovative arrangement.
The song did not appear in the film but versions would be release in April 1970 on the film score album (National General NG 1000)…as “a song inspired by the film”….and “featuring the voice of Frankie Valli” and as the ‘B’ side to Philips 40661 (couple with ‘You’ve Got Your Troubles’) Collectors could be excused for thinking that the version issued on ACE CD 635 in 1996(as ‘a bonus track not on the original album’) is the original master but this we found is not the case ( there are a number of discrepancies like this in the CD released tracks). The ACE version is a different mix. It runs 2:37 seconds (over 6 seconds shorter) and has the Stereo channels swapped in comparison with the score sound track LP version. The tambourine also moves from centre to far right in the sound stage and there is a more suppressed orchestral sound in the right channel content. The score sound track STEREO version also has the best soundstage by far with a better dynamic range (DR11) and runs for 2:45mins(whilst the album sleeve incorrectly shows 2:35min). Thanks to Stefan Wriedt’s singles archive we were able to re-master the original MONO 45 version and this appears to be from the original score album master just speeded up slightly to come out at 2:42 mins.
Although not considered for release on the ‘Half An Half’ album later in 1970 it remains a rare and under-appreciated Valli-Gaudio gem amongst collectors. We think it is a wish amongst most collectors to have the best versions of Frankie’s songs and in this case the film score album version and the 45 are the ones to have. The full film score album with the opening track by Frankie Valli is available here…………and the 45 version is in Stefan’s archive so contact our administrator if you want it.((email@example.com)
(Special thanks to Ray Nichol for the demo 45 scan including autograph)
With the on-off? UK tour and summer holidays the blog has hiccupped this year and we are only now catching up. George Ingram’s Summer Newsletter was bouncing in through our post boxes before we could draw breath in July and it is only now the digital download is available. So apologies to all our world wide followers for the delay….but what a treat.
34 pages packed with reviews of the live concerts, articles and past releases as usual. Perhaps the most striking thing historically is how the media regarded the Four Seasons then with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons now. THEN was 1975/76 and the group were a ‘band’….well almost a rock band…and an oldies group too with 14 years of success since Sherry. In fact this was over a decade before their induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. And their biggest ever record was just coming out….a world wide NR 1. The record reviews are somewhat ‘understated’ and the articles interesting in the view of their history and abilities at that time. Bob Crewe has a rare article reviewing his successes and no-one could have appreciated that by 2013 the group from then and before would be legendary and still high up in the public’s heart.
The key of course is the success of Jersey Boys and these pages do contrast the current ‘JB’ style of show with the previous high profile recording career of the group and the different ‘group’ sound. Perhaps what shines through is the great comradeship amongst the current ‘backing group’ to Frankie Valli and the band. A very different approach and presentation to 1976 but still generating a great night’s entertainment for the public. The showmanship of Frankie Valli and his team shows through and almost always has……that is the secret of his longevity as a performer. The batteries are still charged.
(Downlowdable in 6 Parts)
Some great videos by Four on The Road – the Four Seasons singers - following their trips to various places such as Florida, New York, Vegas, Texas, Boston, Canada and Australia. A fantastic video diary and great to see them in more informal settings like this one which includes Frankie cutting his birthday cake which is in the shape of a record player:
Check these out too:
Singing acappella after the show at the Royal Albert Hall in London 2012:
In Frankie's Studio:
Robby's Web Site
Robby Robinson has a really great web site with some absolutely stunning photographs and videos – check out the calendar dates too! Look out for his Brother, Rex Robinson, and Larry Lingle on the 1992 videos and the lovely Tim Stone singing “December63”:
Robby with Charlie Calello
Brian Brigham’s web page is here where you can also check out some great photos:
Todd Fournier’s web page is here:
OH WHAT A GREAT TWO NIGHTS!
“Anyone who can get everyone to stand up at the Royal Albert Hall must be special”.
Although a huge disappointment that Frankie had to cancel five of the seven shows in the UK it was also touch and go as to whether or not the Royal Albert Hall Shows would go ahead with the flights only being booked the day before the flights on Sunday 23rd. The two nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th June were just fantastic and despite his recent illness Frankie was just brilliant and the Seasons and the band were amazing. The first show on the Tuesday was outstanding with everyone on their feet during almost the whole of the second half of the show. Everyone was waving their arms to “Bye Bye Baby” - something not done in the USA, Landon told us “Americans don’t do that”.
The songs were very similar to last year although in a slightly different order and “Harmony” was not sung.
Royal Albert Hall 25 June 2013
Meeting The Four Seasons and Band
It was such an honour for the fans to have the chance to meet the Four Seasons and the band after both shows—very special thanks to Robby Robinson for arranging this for everyone.
Roland Garcia, following in the steps of his Father, Richard Garcia -who toured with Frankie Valli in the UK in the 1970’s - played percussion. Roland is also the percussionist on American Idol and also works for Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder. The extremely talented guitarists, John Schroeder (lead guitar); Robbie Angelucci (first guitar) and John Menzano (bass guitar) were, as always very entertaining and a delight to watch. The horn section was amazing and Rick Keller was once again very busy on sax, keyboards and flute!
Thanks to Mike and Linda Taylor from Exeter for supplying the hats and pens to all the fans as a great memento of the Royal Albert Hall concerts. They even got front row seats via the Fan Club and there’s Ryan Malloy (Frankie Valli in UK Jersey Boys) sat behind them!
Thanks also to Sir Philip Elms for the signed copies of his latest book!
"I had the best time of my life"
Johnny Hornsby, USA
"Ladies and Gentlemen - see you next year. We love you"
"We are honoured and we like to come back and meet the fans".
Brian and Brandon Brigham with Lynn Boleyn
Brian Brigham with George and Jackie Ingram
Brandon Brigham with Feibe Zweers and Hennie Van Zutphen from Holland
Jersey Boys, London
Closing At Prince Edward - Opening at Piccadilly Theatre
Jersey Boys, London will close in March 2014 as Miss Saigon will be opening at the Prince Edward Theatre in May 2014.
After a fantastic run of 6 six years we will be extremely sad to see Jersey Boys leaving the Prince Edward but the good news is that Jersey Boys will be re-opening at the Piccadilly Theatre later in the year. So we can have a ‘closing party’ and then an ‘opening party’! Any excuse for a party!
Tina Ryan (Gypsy Woman) has promised to keep us informed as and when she hears anything about the new opening and dates—Tina tells us she has now seen Jersey Boys 173 times! Tina—you’re mad but we love you!
In the meantime, especially if you have not yet seen the show, to book tickets click here:
Booking until 9 March - Performances:
Tuesday—Saturday 7.30 p.m.
Tuesday and Saturday 3 p.m.
Sundays 5 p.m.
£20 front row tickets available by clicking here:
JERSEY BOYS—THE MOVIE
Frankie Valli announced on stage both nights at the Royal Albert Hall that Jersey Boys, the movie, will be out either 2014 or 2015 and that Clint Eastwood would be the director. Another party/get together then! We’ve never been to a film premier before!
MANCHESTER MEET UP
Although the Manchester show was cancelled some of the old Committee decided to meet up instead at an Italian restaurant, Croma, for a meal and a few drinks (to drown our sorrows—yes you get the gist … any excuse!).
The first meeting of the current Fan Club, which became affiliated to the USA Fan Club run by Steve Bailey, took place on 24 April 1976 in Stockport, Manchester, following an earlier meeting with Frankie Valli at Batley Variety Club in Yorkshire. The Committee set up in 1976 as detailed in the Minutes were:
George Ingram—Newsletter Editor
Ray Nichol—Record Supplies
John Riley —Photographs and Tape Recordings
Bryan Lomas—Advertising and Publicity
Ken Percival—Tape Recordings
John Riley, Lynn Boleyn, Ray Nichol, Bryan Lomas and George Ingram
Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons UK 2013 - Cancelled Dates
Unfortunately we have been advised today that all the remaining UK tour dates have now been
cancelled and full refunds will be given.
The message received says:
“We have received confirmation that the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tour
has now been completely cancelled.
As we do not require your tickets to be sent back to us, the face value refund has
been processed back onto the payment card. The monies should take no
longer than 10 working days to show in your account.
On behalf of all parties concerned, Ticketline wishes to apologise for the inconvenience
this cancelation may cause. For any further queries please contact us on
0844 888 4420 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Let’s hope that Frankie and the Four Seasons will return to the UK next year instead.
Monday 17 June - Manchester Arena—Cancelled
Tuesday 18 June—Edinburgh Playhouse - Cancelled
Thursday 20 June—Bournemouth—Cancelled
Friday 21 June—Hampton Court Palace—Cancelled
Sunday 23 June—Birmingham LG Arena—Cancelled
By Lynn Boleyn
8 July 2013
We are really pleased to hear that Frankie Valli has now recovered from his recent illness and that he will be performing at The Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 25 June and Wednesday 26 June despite all his other UK concerts being postponed until the Autumn.
We are really excited and looking forward to seeing Frankie, the Seasons and the band once again and also meeting up with all the fans, especially those who have made the trip from USA and Holland.
The London Reunion will be at The Three Greyhounds Bar in Soho (25 Greek Street, London, W1D 5DD) on Monday 24 June. This bar is almost right opposite the Prince Edward Theatre in Old Compton Street where Jersey Boys is playing. Meet up in the ground floor bar from 7.00 p.m. onwards. Your host for the evening will be Ray Nichol. Johnny Hornsby from USA will be our Guest of Honour!
There will be another meet up at The Three Greyhounds Bar on the Tuesday lunchtime 25 June – meet up from 12 noon. Again, Ray Nichol will be your host.
We will be meeting up before the shows at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 25 June and Wednesday 26 June in The North Circle Bar from 5.30 p.m. onwards. The Circle Bar, overlooking The Albert Memorial, is located on Circle Level 3.
Enjoy the shows!
Frankie Valli is to appear on Loose Women again on Monday 24 June
BBC Radio 2 - Patrick Kielty chats to Olivier Award winning actor Luke Treadaway and the
legendary musician Frankie Valli on Tuesday 25 June at 2.00 p.m.
More information at:
Jersey Boys, London will be closing in March 2014 as Miss Saigon will be opening at the Prince Edward Theatre in May 2014.
After a fantastic run of 6 six years we will be extremely sad to see Jersey Boys close and hopefully we will be able to arrange another meet up at the last show next year.
In the meantime, especially if you have not yet seen the show, to book tickets click here:
Booking until 9 March - Performances:
Tuesday—Saturday 7.30 p.m.
Tuesday and Saturday 3 p.m.
Sundays 5 p.m.
£20 front row tickets available by clicking here:
Compiled by Lynn Boleyn
Contact Details for Lynn:-
170 Beachcroft Road
West Midlands DY6 0HS
Tel 01384 830862 (home)
Tel 07747 563623 (mobile)
UK Four Seasons
Ken Charmer—George Ingram - Lynn Boleyn and Ray Nichol
It was a few years ago that we received a listing in Word from Tom Cramlington that attempted to gather all of the research that had been done on The Four Seasons Partnerships records for the CD catalogue re-issues of the groups albums from the 1960s.
Appearing pretty comprehensive we thought it would provide a good base for research and for adding the various new data that occasionally surfaced re alternative tracks and unreleased material. A sort of catch-all that listed all of the vinyl sources for the numbered Master tracks that are listed in those researched CD projects and sometimes on the 45s. Well after 10 years it has proved robust with corrections and additions and has grown into a pretty comprehensive reference document for all of their work.
When were were anonymously donated a copy of the Motown Tape Index for their years at the label in the 1970s with comprehensive listings of the unreleased material we felt that this was an important addition and allowed us to extend the listing to 1974 albeit in a different format as the extent of the information warranted a spreadsheet.
We’ve continued to add information as it has surfaced and now we have published our updated listings to a new ‘Sessions/Masters’ Web Page. Previously this was titled as a ‘Sessionography’ page but as it does not document accurately the 4 Seasons sessions we have re-titled the listings. As far as we know there are no records of these individual sessions and the original multi-track tapes from the sessions may no longer exist according to anecdotal evidence. The listing does however list the registered Master Nrs as lodged with record companies and it does attempt to identify the recording/session date. In the case of the Motown Tape Index it does identify the multi-track session tapes which may still exist in the Motown vaults.
There is an Introduction that explains the background to Sections and there are notes re each Section at the start. Below is a summary of the status of each section and the latest updates.
This remains unchanged and documents the research done for the ‘Early Fantastic Years’ CD project and the Four Lovers ‘Bear Records’ CD issue. It is comprehensive and sourced from the CD researcher.
Researched from 45s this is largely a result of speculative detective works and anecdotal evidence of other tracks the group have or may not have appeared on. With little to confirm the details it remains an area for on-going research but the vocals are clear on many as those of the group. It also contains some projects they experimented with producing and some where Bob Crewe used them as vocalists (as evidenced in ‘Jersey Boys’).
This Section is now updated to include notes from interviews with ‘arrangers’ Artie Schroeck and Charles Calello as well as information from the Mercury/Philips Book of Masters. It includes previously unknown and in some cases unheard recordings from 1968 and alternative versions between 45 and LP issues(some MONO, some STEREO mixes)
This remains unchanged from the annotation of the Motown Tape Index sent to us anonymously in 2010. The continued existence of these analogue tapes has not been verified.
These lists remain a ‘Work in Progress’ but until more verifiable data surfaces it remains the summary of known and published information on the ‘timeline’ of the group’s recordings for the period. We will push the limits in terms of further research over the next year, asking questions re what remains in Master archives and where. The documentation is going hand in hand with our preservation and digital re-mastering of the MONO archive that can only be found on vinyl(apart from a handful of well produced CD sets with good MONO Mastering). We will re-visit details and implications of the latest edits over the next few months as we seek to uncover further information on the Master files and their availability….or lack of it? Both projects represent the most advanced Four Seasons research being undertaken at this time as far as we know. But we are always open to help re this, and we will collaborate with anyone in compiling ‘the body of knowledge’…..of our favourite group.
We believe in this work and are seeking to register the archive with The International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres and to pursue more data to verify and expand the information.