Frankie Valli, who came to fame in 1962 as the lead singer of The
Four Seasons, received PPB's Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award from
President Alan Perris at our celebrity luncheon October 6 in
Thanks to the volcanic success of the Tony-winning musical "Jersey Boys,"
which chronicles the life and times of Frankie and his legendary
group, such classic songs as "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man,"
"Rag Doll," and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" are all the rage all over
again. There's something about Frankie's music that makes young people
of every generation want to get up and dance.
Born Francis Castelluccio in Newark, NJ, Valli grew up in a rough
and tough public housing project and decided at age seven to become a
famous singer after his mother took him to New York City to see Frank Sinatra.
Frankie and three friends discovered that making music was a good way
to stay out of jail, and out of car trunks as corpses in Newark.
Performing under several names, the group finally adopted The Four
Seasons, named for a lounge in which they were performing at the time.
When the unknown Seasons sang "Sherry" on American Bandstand,
they suddenly became the hottest band in the land, and after nine
years as a recording artist, Frankie Valli became an "overnight"
sensation with a number one hit record. He was the first to use his
remarkable falsetto voice out front in their songs.
From 1962 to 1978, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons sold more
than 100 million records, and they continued to be a top concert draw.
Radio constantly played their classics and the new remixes that kept
popping up on the charts. In 1990 Frankie and the other original
Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The
Seasons' music was featured prominently in the hit HBO series The
Sopranos, and Frankie guest starred in seasons 5 and 6 as mobster
Rusty Millio until Rusty's unfortunate demise in a hail of
Frankie Valli shows no signs of slowing down. As his character says
at the end of "Jersey Boys:" "Like that bunny on TV with the battery,
I just keep going and going and going." It seems that for as long as
he wants to sing, people will want to listen.
Pictured Below are members of the Frankie Valli luncheon dais. Seated, left to right: Wink Martindale, Kenny Nolan, Honoree Frankie Valli and PPB President Alan Perris. Standing, left to right: Jim Gosnell, Richie Palmer, Bruce Charet, Robby Robinson and Joey Reynolds. (Roxanne Schorbach photo)