The song, “December, 1963 / Oh, What a Night” leads me to
believe we all have wonderful memories of particular musical
artists for each period of our lives. We may think of songs
which are sad and mournful, when we wish to ‘wallow’ in our
sorrow. Then there are the songs which transport us out of
ourselves to special places, soaring above or out of this world.
“Oh, What a Night” refers to new love found in 1963, but it
also stands for a different timeline in my own life. . .
I felt transfixed during each of the musical numbers in “Jersey
Boys.” I felt that I was there in the midst of tragedy when one
of the members lost his daughter. I felt excited when another
of the members of the band wrote a new song, one that had a
unique beat and message. Some of Frankie Valli and the Four
Seasons’ playlist, was like lining up memories of my own life,
where I was when I heard this one, who I danced with while
the other song was played by a small local band at a wedding.
If you have grown up in the fifties, sixties or even, seventies,
you may be a ‘fan’ or a fond listener to Frankie Valli and the
Four Seasons. I had heard the songs but didn’t really know
the way the group’s story began, nor what happened to the
members, causing them to ‘stall out’ for about 24 years.
Only to meet again at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The director, Clint Eastwood, is known for wishing details
to fit the situations and fulfilling the character of the times
the movie is supposed to be set into. A perfect example of
NOT following the book was when he filmed the movie
version of the famous book, “Bridges of Madison County.”
It is about an Italian homemaker and her adventures over
one weekend, while her children and husband are at the state
fair. Robert James Waller has the homemaker wearing jeans,
(possibly to emphasize her figure) while Clint explained in
an interview, he felt this woman could have been his own
mother, so she would wear a common house dress. There
are more examples in many of his movies, some where
the music takes a big part of the film and others where it
is just the background sound behind the story. I liked
finding out during the credits his son, Kyle Eastwood
was a musical assistant and helped with the soundtrack.
Also, Clint’s daughter, Francesco Eastwood plays one of
the wives in the film.
Frankie Valli’s character was played by John Lloyd Young,
who portrayed and sang on Broadway. In “Jersey Boys,”
(up close and personal in the movie) he captures your
attention and his voice is very similar to Frankie Valli’s.
If you saw the musical play, you may know the characters
each take turns talking directly to the audience. It is a
very interesting technique for telling their individual
I felt sympathy for the way the real man became part of
the underbelly of his neighborhood, by being pulled into
the mob and illegal dealings by his friend and eventual
member of the band, Tommy. You realize his gambling,
drinking and other vices, such as trying to trade with
stolen goods, would eventually ‘catch up’ with Tommy.
As a viewer, you may possibly worry about his pulling
his good friend, Frankie down. Their musical career
eventually helps them to get out of their neighborhood
but they could barely escape the ties.
The raw emotions of a death and funeral of one of the
member’s children, still just a teenager, rocks their
group to the very core.
Christopher Walken’s scenes as the ‘benefactor’ and
supposed friend among the mob members ‘steal the
show,’ at times. He is a versatile and fine actor.
The executive producers are Frankie Valli and Bob
Gaudio. The slow building of the band, its members
and their story unfolds and is beautifully portrayed
with the songs many of us loved, sang and danced to.
In a semblance of order, illustrating the sequence and
growth of the band’s body of work is shown in this list
“Who Loves You, Pretty Baby?”
“Big Girls, Don’t Cry”
“Walk Like a Man”
“Bye Bye Baby”
“You’re Just Too Good to Be True”
“My Eyes Adored You”
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”
and repeating the title song,
“Oh, What a Night.”
The members of the band, Nicky (Massi), Tommy
De Vito, Bob Gaudio (writer/lyricist) and Frankie
performed at the R and R Hall of Fame, after 24
* They were inducted in 1990 into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame.
They joked, saying singing together came natural,
even after all the years. They only had to lower the
octave and sing in a lower key.
*They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of
Fame in 1999.
*In 2012, they performed together in England at
the Royal Albert Hall, honored for their body of
music which included 29 Top Ten (on American
music award charts) Hits.
This brief ‘sketch’ of the musical movie, “Jersey Boys”
which came out in 2014 is to persuade you to celebrate
someday soon, by listening to one or more of Frankie
Valli and the Four Seasons’ lifetime of songs. They grew
up together on the streets of New Jersey, sang and lived
quite fantastic lives.
The movie captured it nicely. Too bad it didn’t win any
awards for “Best Soundtrack” or “Best Song.” Tough year
What is your favorite song from this group?
Which is one you played the most?
If you never really liked their music, did
one of your family members enjoy them?
You know, “You’re just too good to be true.”