Whether you consider them the East Coast answer to The Beach Boys, or rivals to The Beatles (as on a famous Vee-Jay LP compilation), Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons have had a long, illustrious career. Despite having scored his first hit with the Seasons back in 1962, Valli has hardly slowed his pace over the years, overseeing companies and productions of the 2005 musical Jersey Boys, readying a film version, and recently performing a concert on Broadway with a new line-up of Seasons. The vocal group’s CD release history has been a checkered one, but Rhino is adding two new additions to the catalogue with the reissue of Gold Vault of Hits and 2nd Vault of Golden Hits. Both titles are set for release tomorrow, January 22.
These two reissues of original “greatest hits” collections mark the first domestic Seasons discs in a number of years. Collector’s Choice launched a comprehensive album reissue program in 2007 which was the best such campaign since Ace’s splendid, if now all but impossible-to-find, reissues of the mid-1990s. (Many of the Seasons’ albums were also made available in budget releases from Curb, some with altered track listings.) Rhino commemorated the rich musical legacy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 2008 with the 3-CD/1-DVD box set Jersey Beat, and Hip-o Select unveiled the long-awaited The Motown Years the very same year. Gold Vault of Hits was first released on the Philips label in 1965, with its follow-up 2nd Vault of Hits arriving the next year, in 1966. Both of these titles have been previously released on Curb, but Rhino’s new editions restore the original album artwork as well as the original track sequences.
After the jump: what 4 Seasons favorites will you find on these two new reissues? Hit the jump! Plus: pre-order links and complete track listings!
Frankie Valli’s shimmering and utterly distinct falsetto soared above the 4 Seasons’ harmonies and rock-and-roll rhythms to create a vibrant and radio-friendly sound. Built on a foundation of doo wop and traditional pop vocals honed on the mean streets of New Jersey, the 4 Seasons’ catalogue contains some of the most enduring songs of all time. You’ll find a great many of them on both of these wall-to-wall hits compilations. Gold Vault overlooks the group’s earliest successes, most of which were saved for 2nd Vault: “Sherry” (No. 1, 1962), “Walk Like a Man” (No. 1, 1963), “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (No. 1, 1962), “Candy Girl” (No. 3, 1963), “Marlena” (No. 36, 1963), and so on. Instead, Gold Vault concentrates on more recent hits: “Dawn (Go Away)” (No. 3, 1964), “Ronnie” (No. 6, 1964), “Rag Doll” (No. 1, 1964), “Save It For Me” (No. 10, 1964), “Big Man in Town” (No. 20, 1964), “Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)” (No. 12, 1964), “Let’s Hang On” (No. 3, 1964).
There are also a few lesser-known selections on these two collections. Gold Vault includes three 1965 singles that didn’t become perennials: “Girl Come Running” (No. 30), “Betrayed” and “Toy Soldier.” “Alone (Why Must I Be Alone),” a No. 28 hit from 1964, was included on 2nd Vault. The latter compilation also makes room for three 1966 hits released after the Gold Vault LP: the exciting “Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me)” (No. 13), “Working My Way Back to You” (No. 9) and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (No. 9). The group’s track record is even more impressive considering the fact that the British Invasion was in full swing as producers/songwriters Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe created their string of pop masterpieces for The Seasons. (Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell were also major parts of the Seasons’ songwriting family.)
Both of these no-frills compilations only offer twelve tracks each, but taken together, they make for a perfect primer on the 4 Seasons’ earliest radio staples and indeed, the group’s sixties heyday. Rhino’s budget-priced releases (you’ll likely grab each for less than five bucks!) have no remastering credits or liner notes, but do include the original front and back covers of the Philips LPs. You can find Gold Vault of Hits and 2nd Vault of Golden Hits in stores on January 22, and you can order both titles below!
Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons, Gold Vault of Hits (Philips 196, 1965 – reissued Rhino R2 534351, 2013)
- Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got)
- Rag Doll
- Big Man in Town
- Silence is Golden
- Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)
- Dawn (Go Away)
- Save It For Me
- Girl Come Running
- Toy Soldier
- Cry Myself to Sleep
Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons, 2nd Vault of Golden Hits (Philips 221, 1966 – reissued Rhino R2 534353, 2013)
- Walk Like a Man
- Candy Girl
- Alone (Why Must I Be Alone)
- I’ve Got You Under My Skin
- Big Girls Don’t Cry
- Working My Way Back to You
- Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me)