Well it clearly is the end of an era for both Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and in our Autumn Newsletter update we cover the latest Four Seasons related news for 2016. Some sad, some re new music, some re 'lost' music, some legal, and some celebratory, and even news of a final tour. All contributing to the legacy of The Four Seasons
This last month has seen us sadly lose two highly respected and loved former Four Seasons. First we heard of the passing of Jerry Corbetta, former Sugarloaf founder and member of the Four Seasons from 1980 to 1984. He was a vibrant stage presence at concerts. Then last week we tragically heard of the loss of former Critters member and legendary Four Season, Don Ciccone. As a member of the group's most successful line-up and as a member of The Hit Men he will be dearly remembered. His demo of Who Loves You is fondly collected by his fans. Slip Away will always be remembered for his emotional 'live' delivery.
Another piece of sad news was the end of the 'Jersey Boys' shows runs during the next 6 months in NYC and London. Since 2007 it has brought the music of our favourite group back to world-wide popularity and acclaim and to the cinema with the Clint Eastwood produced film . It has been a 9 year explosion of the group's popularity like never before.
But this month also brought good news with the release of probably Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons final studio album(surely?). It was not only a surprise but the choice is puzzling to many fans. A Christmas Album and a track featuring Jeff Beck? But it may be a way to test the current market for his music? Well some fans will buy anything and love everything he does but others will critically say he shouldn't have done it. At 82 some fans have observed on this collection his voice is weak and the buried in the mix but if it makes people who buy it feel good over Christmas then it's a welcome gift. And each year he has fans it will maybe be a long-term 'earner'.
It is perhaps unfair to compare it with his past vocal performances but surely the legacy of his pending retirement will be a focus on the back catalogue and maybe on the large number of unreleased tacks that remain in the vaults at Universal Motown Enterprises(UMe). We continue to campaign for their release through our Facebook Campaign Group page
This remains the single largest collection of recored but unreleased material by Frankie and the group and we hope that in retirement Frankie may turn his attention to this curently 'lost' material.
Talking of 'lost'.....we heard that Charlie Calello's 'shelved' biography has been dusted off and is being reviewed by a writer and an esteemed editor for potential publication. So we thought it only fitting to celebrate Charlie's vast archive of arrangements and productions as they appear on You Tube in a new Facebook group. Charlie Calello's Lost and Found Tracks web page
A great former Four Season and a great friend to his fans.
But the era really concludes next Spring as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons pay respect to their UK fans with (what appears to be) a final tour. Lynn Boleyn has already publicised this and UK fans have their designated 'fan zones' and there will be organised 'pre/post meet-ups' as we get our last big chance to re-unite and celebrate as fans and to say goodbye to Frankie and his band and in particular Robbie Robinson who has been Frankie's Musical Director for all his 'live shows' since the early 1980s. A magnificent record.
So the end of an era and as 'Looking Back' was a Four Seasons album we hope the next era will focus on just that. It is becoming more and more apparent that The Four Seasons need to invest in curators if they are to maintain and develop the marketing of their 'brand' through the music. A recent blog re the music industry compared the playlisting of streaming services with themed and researched CD 'playlists'........”The fact that 25% of music subscribers still buy compilation albums show that however a good job streaming playlists might be doing, there remains a big demand for compilations, even within the core of streaming music aficionados. Curated playlists will continue to gain importance but compilations are going to live alongside them for a good long time to come. And all the while the distinction between what constitutes a playlist and a compilation will continue to blur.”
And in this context and the content of our Facebook groups and our blog I realised we have become 'curators' for The Four Seasons Partnership since the 1990s. Wikipedia tells us that ….“Content curation is the process of gathering information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest. Services or people that implement content curation are called curators.” This group basically has and continues to provide that service. Unfortunately our top curator Frank Rovello has passed away and we no longer have access to our Four Seasons UK Appreciation Society web space to effect updates but for the foreseeable future that web space remains accessible at https://www.seasonally.co.uk
Hopefully future compilations will provide playlists akin to the Rhino Rarities CD's (Vols 1 and 2 September 1990). Curated collections with high quality digital masters and even unreleased tracks or live performances like the 'Bachelors III' concert from 1974.
And finally news that the long and drawn out legal case re the 'Jersey Boys' book written by Rex Woodard and Tommy De Vito come to a head this Halloween with a Jury Trial. Whether or not Valli/Gaudio et al are found to be in breach of copyright, at least the courts have recognised that Donna(Rex's widow) has a 50 % share of Tommy's royalties from the show. It will be good to see this settled and the next era of the groups legacy can move on.Maybe with publication of 'The Work'
For the future though we'll be updating our Facebook groups regularly and carrying this blog through the next year with news and reviews. Let's enjoy the end of an era!!