The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons are an American pop-rock band that first rose to fame in the early 1960s with a string of pop-vocal hits, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Dawn,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Candy Girl.” After the onslaught of Motown and the British Invasion, they updated their sound with the mid-’60s hits “Let’s Hang On,” “Working My Way Back to You,” and “Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me).”

Frontman Frankie Valli, known for his falsetto tenor, scored a 1967 solo hit with the brassy “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” In 1969, the Four Seasons embraced psychedelia on the concept album The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette, written and produced by the band’s keyboardist and creative director Bob Gaudio.

In 1974, Valli scored a comeback hit with the ballad “My Eyes Adored You.” It sparked a Four Seasons renaissance, marked by the 1975/76 hits “Who Loves You?,” “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” “Silver Star,” and Valli’s “Swearin’ to God.” In 1978, Valli sung the theme song to the blockbuster musical film Grease.

Members: Frankie Valli (lead vocals, tenor vocals), Bob Gaudio (keyboards, tenor vocals), Tommy DeVito (lead guitar, baritone vocals, 1960-71), Nick Massi (bass, bass vocals, 1960-65), Joe Long (bass, vocals, 1966-75), John Paiva (lead guitar, 1971-77), Al Ruzicka (keyboards, vocals, 1972-75), Gerry Polci (drums, vocals, lead vocals, 1975-93), Don Ciccone (bass, vocals, lead vocals, 1975-84), Lee Shapiro (keyboards, vocals, 1975-77), Robbie Robinson (keyboards, 1979-present), Larry Lingle (lead guitar, vocals, 1979-93), Jerry Corbetta (keyboards, vocals, 1979-85), Rex Robinson (bass, vocals, 1982-93), Chuck Wilson (drums, 1982-93)

The Four Seasons evolved from the Italian-American doo-wop combo The Four Lovers, formed in 1956 in Newark, New Jersey, by singer Frankie Valli and guitarist/singer Tommy DeVito.

Valli was born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio on May 3, 1934. He first aspired to sing at age seven when his mother took him to a concert by Frank Sinatra at Manhattan’s Paramount Theater. Another early inspiration was hillbilly singer/guitarist “Texas” Jean Valli. Castelluccio adopted her surname, originally acting as her brother to get signed by her publishers, who initially misspelled him as “Frankie Valley.”

In 1952, Valli joined the Variety Trio, which featured Nick Macioci (1927–2000), Tommy DeVito (1928–2020), and his brother Nickie DeVito. They disbanded later that year. Valli cut his first single, “My Mother’s Eyes,” on Corona Records in 1953. Meanwhile, Valli and Tommy DeVito played in the house band at the New Brunswick, NJ, nightclub The Strand. In 1954, Frankie Valley and the Travelers issued “Somebody Else Took Her Home” on Mercury.

In 1956, Valli and DeVito formed The Variations with Nickie DeVito and Hank Majewski. They backed a female singer during an audition with RCA Victor, which signed the group. Their first single, “You’re the Apple of My Eye,” charted that year at #62. Over the next year, they issued five further RCA singles and a seventh on Epic. In 1958, Nickie and Majewski cleared way for Nick Macioci (now Massi) and temporary member Hugh Garrity. The Four Lovers signed a contract with producer Bob Crew that allowed them to record under different names.

The group performed into the next year as Valli released the singles “I Go Ape” (Okeh, as Frankie Tyler) and “Please Take a Chance” (Decca). In 1959, keyboardist and songwriter Bob Gaudio (b. 1942), formerly of the Royal Teens (of “Short Shorts” fame) joined the Four Lovers. Over the next year, they released singles as The Village Voices, Billy Dixon and The Topics, Harold Miller and The Rays, and Johnny Halo, all on Topix/Peri.

In 1960, the Four Lovers lineup of Valli (tenor), Gaudio (keyboards, tenor), DeVito (guitar, baritone), and Massi (bass, bass vocals) auditioned to be the house band at the Four Seasons bowling alley in Union Township, NJ. Though declined the spot, the group modified their name to that of the establishment, figuring they’d take something from the experience. On a handshake, Gaudio and Valli formed the Four Seasons Partnership.

As the Four Seasons, they debuted with the 1961 Crew-produced single “Bermuda” (b/w “Spanish Lace”), released on Gone Records. In a bid for wider exposure, they pitched their next proposed a-side to Vee-Jay Records.

Select album discography:

  • The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette (1969)
  • Half & Half (1970)
  • Chameleon (1972)
  • Who Loves You (1975)
  • Helicon (1977)
  • Streetfighter (1985)


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