Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Four Lovers

Just got this from one of our readers:

First, I have to tell you I am a huge doo wop fan. Also I have an internet club, for musicians, with over 1000 members from more than 40 countries. A younger musician asked me an interesting question the other day. He asked if I considered Franki Valli and the 4 Seasons a doo wop group. He was only familiar with their big hits. My answer was "yes, in their pre 4 Season days, and also in their early days".

Now he, and most members in my club, were not aware of Franki Valli's prior group, The 4 Lovers. This, in spite of at least 2 hits (Girl of My Dreams and You're the Apple of My Eye) and at least 2 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. These were definitely doo wop songs. But in the early days, the 4 Seasons also recorded a B side song called "Soon" that was certainly doo wop. Any chance you can find it and give us a listen? Also, I have not yet seen the hit play" The Jersey Boys" and I wonder if it touches on the pre 4 season days?
Bob Hughes

E-Mail: BobHughes13@mchsi.com

Web Site: www.BobHughesMusic.net

The Four Seasons absolutely began as a doo-wop group, singing on the street corners in Jersey ... in fact, "Jersey Boys" covers this period of their career quite extensively ... and you get to hear the actors perform all kinds of '50's doo-wop tracks in the production ... at the end of the play, as each cast member looks back over their long career, one mentions that NOTHING they ever accomplished was any greater than the first time they "made that sound" under the lamp post back in Jersey.

The Four Lovers never had much of a chart career (although "You're The Apple Of My Eye" did reach #62 on the Billboard chart back in 1956, SIX YEARS before The Four Seasons hit #1 with "Sherry" ... so much for overnight success!!! lol). "Jersey Boys" is a MUST-SEE ... it's playing ALL over the country right now and no matter how big a fan of the music of The Four Seasons you THINK you may be ... you will come away with an appreciation for this music 10,000 greater than what you brought to the theater that night. (We've already seen it six times ... and it ain't a cheap ticket, either!!! lol) HIGHLY reccommended.

It traces EVERY phase of their career and points out all kinds of interesting tidbits along the way. The early street corner years, playing virtually ANY style of music in the clubs (or bowling alleys) trying to make it and find their sound ... YEARS of singing background on other people's records before being allowed to finally cut their own ... the sky-rocketing success of those early singles (including three straight out-of-the-box #1's ... the behind the scenes drama of personnel changes, loan sharks, mobsters, divorce and personal tragedy ... the MONSTER comeback in the mid-'70's with their disco hit "Who Loves You" and their last chart-topper "December, 1963" ... it's ALL here along with a KILLER soundtrack that'll blow you away. The Four Seasons hit The Billboard Chart nearly 50 times ... and 31 of those hits reached The Top 40 ... and that doesn't even take into account Frankie's solo hits!!! (You'll be amazed at how many GREAT Four Seasons songs you don't hear on the radio anymore!!! And, by the way, the original cast soundtrack is OUTSTANDING ... definitely worth picking up ... and it literally covers the entire show.)

My only beef with the entire production is the bit at the end when the original Four Seasons reunite for their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction and one of them says "But this award means the most ... because it comes from the PEOPLE" ... wrong, wrong, wrong!!! Don't even get me STARTED on THIS whole topic again!!! But the people have absolutely NO say-so in regards to who gets into ... or even nominated for ... The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... that line REALLY needs to be edited ... it iritates me EVERY time I hear it.

As for "Soon" ... actually, "Soon (I'll Be Home Again)" ... that ended up on the B-Side of their version of the Fats Domino hit "Ain't That Shame", a 1963 hit for the group. Today we'll feature both "You're The Apple Of My Eye" by The Four Lovers AND "Soon" by The Four Seasons ... clearly, THEY loved doo-wop music as much as YOU do!!! (kk)