To modern day fans of the Four Seasons it may seem amazing that there was a time when we were scambling around for news, backstories and lost tracks on cassette tape. There was no internet and a quarterly newsletter was all we had and the group were regarded as an oldies group with no future. It's easy to forget how hard it was then to get information and even released music on vinyl or cassette..
But then came 'My Eyes Adored You', 'The Night', and 'Who Loves You' before their biggest ever success as a group 'December 1963(Oh What A Night)'. Back then during the early 1970s Rex was gathering research that would decades later lead to the record breaking show 'Jersey Boys'. Rex Woodard was a champion of today's Four Seasons 'music detectives' still gathering information and seeking out more 'lost' music by them than we could ever have imagined existed.
So it was with a degree of pride that I read of his widows success in establishing his contribution to the show 'Jersey Boys' was finally recognised. 'Then and Now' the jointly written bio by Rex and former Four Season Tommy DeVito was judged to have contributed to 10% of the shows success.
It's never been seen by the fans except in it's interpretation in the show. When will Rex's work finally go public? Well not soon it seems which is a shame as damages assessment by the court will take a few months and the case will probably go to appeal: it's not over yet!. But Valli and Gaudio will probably get pulled into it yet again for solid legal reasons. They licensed the play as owners!!! And they knew of Rex's contribution. He was never a 'ghostwriter' but the real 'author'.
Rex's contribution was based on years of research and 'foundation' articles that resonate today as we still fight to get the full story of the group's lives and music available to us. When he persuaded Tommy DeVito to 'dish the dirt' back in 1989 it should have been a coup for Four Seasons fans but back then their 'brand' was low key and after Rex's premature passing in 1990 the draft understandably didn't surface. It had lost it's champion. But we're all to be grateful Tommy DID make it available to the scriptwriters. We got JB and history made The Four Seasons 'iconic'.
But Rex also anticipated the continuing battle to recover the Motown unreleased without realising what we now know. Rex wrote in Goldmine in August 1981[A Lesson in Survival].....”The myth must die! For several years now, almost every rock and roll encyclopedic source has faithfully instructed it's readers that the legendary Four Seasons bit the dust sometime around 1969, only to be resurrected as an entirely new group in 1975. Lies!”
Well the 'myth' is dead BUT no-one wants us to hear the truth even as 2017 begins.
In the 1980 article he documented the history of those intervening years and the groups creative work during that time. Today with the inspiration of that work and data from some anonymous Motown connections we have in 2016 extended his work by subsequent research to reveal the deliberate suppression of between 30 and 50 tracks completed and left in the Universal Motown vaults unheard by the fans. Rex's research is at the heart of our campaign for their release.
And to follow that in June 1982 he published what is regarded as the definitive article detailing the history of the Four Lovers in the same magazine.
As we enter the post 'Jersey Boys' era.....now the shows in New York and London are closing.......we are hoping the bio that has been the subject of so much legal time over the last 10 years will finally be published. It is time to herald a new period of documenting and restoring the history of the group and their music over the next few years. Rex's legacy should be the cornerstone of that objective. And our battle to get the music left in the vaults will continue. He'd want us to fight for that.