The Four Seasons
Pop-vocal quartet
Frankie Valli: Born May 3, 1934, Newark, New Jersey
Bob Gaudio: Born November 17, 1942, The Bronx, New York
Tommy DeVito: Born June 19, 1928, Belleville, New Jersey
Nick Massi: Born November 19, 1927, Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2017: Performing Arts

It took the Four Seasons only 10 years to become overnight sensations. The group’s longtime lead singer, Frankie Valli, had been recording with various incarnations of the Four Seasons under a variety of names, but when the definitive lineup released the single “Sherry” in 1962, they seemed to come out of nowhere.

“Sherry” went to No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart in September 1962 and stayed there for five weeks. Valli’s falsetto singing and his bandmates’ doo-wop-inspired harmonies struck an immediate chord with radio listeners. Five weeks after “Sherry” lost its crown, a similarly upbeat single, “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” went to No. 1, also staying atop the chart for five weeks. By March 1963, the foursome’s third straight single, “Walk Like a Man,” strolled to the top of the chart for a three-week run.

It was a remarkable streak for Valli and his mates: Bob Gaudio (keyboards and tenor vocals); Tommy DeVito (lead guitar and baritone vocals); and Nick Massi (bass guitar and bass vocals). And while many popular American acts of the period fell by the wayside after the arrival of the Beatles early in 1964, the Four Seasons, with their broad base of fans, survived the initial British Invasion and beyond.  Performing mostly songs written by Gaudio, often with producer Bob Crewe, the group scored 18 top-20 hits over the next 12 years, including the 1964 chart-topper, “Rag Doll.”

By the time the Four Seasons reached No. 1 for the final time in March 1976 with the disco-flavored “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” the original lineup had been mostly revamped. Two new members, drummer Gerry Polci and bassist Don Ciccone, shared lead vocals with Valli. DeVito and Massi were gone from the group, but Gaudio remained on board as producer.

One year earlier, in March 1975, Valli enjoyed his first solo No. 1 hit, the romantic ballad, “My Eyes Adored You.” He would go to No. 1 again in August 1978 with the title song to the film “Grease,” written by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees.

In the coming years, Valli continued his solo career and recorded and toured at times with different versions of the Four Seasons, with varied success. Then in 2005, “Jersey Boys,” a jukebox musical that dramatized the history of the Four Seasons, opened on Broadway. It won four Tony Awards and would run on Broadway through 2017. At the same time, touring companies performed the musical around the world.

As if the group’s own recording legacy was not enough, “Jersey Boys” reinforced the iconic status of the Four Seasons and deepened recognition of the group and its New Jersey roots for multiple generations.

Intro/Acceptance Video