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'.