The Voice of an Angel | Frankie Valli | from The Four Lovers to The Four Seasons,1960-67


Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, and Hank Majewski in 1954


"Jazz was my first love." 

"When I was a kid, I used to listen to my Emerson radio late at night under the covers. I started by listening 
to jazz in the late 1940s and then vocal harmony groups like the Four Freshmen, the Modernaires and the Hi-Lo's. 
I loved Stan Kenton's big band - with those dark chords and musicians who could swing cool with individual sounds."  

"I spent many a summer early morning with the radio very low, half sleeping and half listening." 

"I learned by listening to other people sing and doing impressions of them. And there are things no one can ever teach 
you, like phrasing. By listening to Sinatra, for instance - you felt that everything he sang had happened in his life. "

"Starting in my teens, I was always standing on the corner near our apartment singing harmony with friends. 
We'd also go to the park and sing under the bridge near the lake for the echo. When it was cold out, we'd stand 
in the little heated lobby in the project's administration building, where my mom paid the rent each month." 

"At school, I'd sing in groups in the locker room or in the bathroom, which was like an echo chamber. 
The problem is I didn't know how to get started singing professionally."  

The Four Lovers on The Ed Sullivan Show, 1956


"My name actually is Francesco Castaluccio."

"I went to school to learn to be a hairdresser. I worked at a wholesale florist, where I delivered to florists all over New Jersey. 
I'd come home and go out to work down at the Shore. The early jobs, I remember, were $5, $6 a night. And I lived in the 
projects right until the time I became successful."

"If I close my eyes, I can remember the first apartment where I lived with my family in Newark, N.J., in the late 1930s. 
The rooms were lined up like train cars - you had to go through one to get to another - and there wasn't any heat or hot 
water."

"Where I grew up, in New Jersey, there was a lot of organised crime activity. It was a part of life." 

"You can take the guy out of the neighorhood but you can't take the neighborhood out of the guy." 

The Four Seasons perform on stage at the WMCA Good Guys concert, 1964,  New York


"The '60s was a magical time in the music business. So much creativity and talent. I think a lot of it came from 
the fact that we had grown up before rock n' roll. We listened to all the great songwriters and big bands, songs 
with great lyrics and melodies. I think that really influenced everybody."

"In 1967, I found out I was losing my hearing. I went 10 years without any help. I had otosclerosis - hardening 
of the bone in the middle of the ear."

"'Jersey Boys' has been the most amazing experience ever and has exposed an entire new audience to the music. 
It's great to see people of all ages coming to the show." 

"I do belong to Jersey. There's no doubt about that in my mind. They have been so loyal and so good to me; how 
could I possibly belong any place else? "


Frankie Valli 

Frankie Valli 


Frankie Valli (b.1934) was the eldest of three sons to an Italian family in the First Ward of Newark, New Jersey. His father, Anthony Castelluccio, was a barber and display designer for Lionel model trains; his mother, Mary Rinaldi, was a homemaker and beer company employee. He was inspired to take up a singing career at the age of seven after his mother took him to see the young Frank Sinatra at the Paramount Theater in New York City. His early mentor was singer "Texas" Jean Valli, from whom he obtained his last name. 

Frankie Valli began his professional singing career in 1951 with the Variety Trio (Nickie DeVito, Tommy DeVito and Nick Macioci). Valli's desire to sing in public was initially granted when, having heard Valli sing, the group offered him a guest spot when the group performed. In late 1952, the Variety Trio disbanded and Valli, along with Tommy DeVito, became part of the house band at The Strand in New Brunswick, New Jersey. For his part, Valli played bass and sang.




Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, Frankie Valli, and Nick Massi
September 1962 - Newark, NJ vocal group The Four Seasons single "Sherry" goes to #1


Frankie Valli had been hard at work trying to become a star for the better part of a decade before the Four Seasons achieved their breakthrough. They had come together as a group in several stages over the previous four years, changing their name in 1961 from the Four Lovers after failing an audition at a New Jersey bowling alley called The Four Seasons. It was keyboard player Bob Gaudio who wrote the song that would launch the group’s career. He later told Billboard magazine that he banged out “Sherry” in 15 minutes before a scheduled rehearsal. Without a tape recorder, Gaudio explained, “I drove down to rehearsal humming it, trying to keep it in my mind. I had no intention of keeping the lyrics, [but] to my surprise, everybody liked them, so we didn’t change anything.”




The Four Seasons  /  > The Wonder Who?, 1965-67


Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons


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