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)
I've sometimes wondered whether the earlier Vee-Jay hits didn't show up until the second volume for licensing reasons. Didn't Vee-Jay go out of business around that time? Perhaps Vee-Jay's demise made those earlier hits more readily available to Philips. And wasn't *all* of this stuff eventually acquired by the Four Seasons Limited Partnership -- i.e., Valli and Gaudio?
Joe Marchese says
Thanks, Ed - food for thought! Indeed, Frankie and Bob (through the Partnership) still own all of their masters which are licensed to Warner Music/Rhino.
Paul W Urbahns says
Ed your thoughts is basically confirmed by the book, "The Mercury Labels: A Discography" by Michel Ruppli which lists the date the Vee Jay masters were added to the Philips master list in October 1966. It is my understanding the Four Seasons obtained the masters in a contract dispute over royalties with Vee Jay. I guess they took the tapes in exchange for money owed the group by the label. So if we take the date of Oct 1966 as when the Vee Jay material was available for Philips release that would explain why Billboard magazine on 5 Nov 1966 listed three repackagings of Vee Jay material on the Philips label just in time for the Christmas shopping season. Those albums were 2nd Gold Vault of Hits, Looking Back, and the Philips reissue of the Four Seasons Christmas Album (originally called Greetings..on Vee Jay). Even though Vee Jay was out of business, existing stocks in record stores of Vee Jay's excellent Golden Hits of The 4 Seasons album apparently cut into the sales of the 2nd Gold Vault of Hits and the second comp did not sell as well as Golden Vault of Hits.
I had a double album of Four Seasons' greatest hits, "Edizione d'Oro." which I bought sometime in the late 60s. Has this album ever been reissued? I think it was on Philips label.
Joe Marchese says
"Edizione d'Oro" was briefly released on CD by the U.K.'s Ace label in the late nineties. It would make a wonderful candidate for an upcoming Rhino reissue!
I still remember the Four Seasons Story LP which was released on the Private Stock label in 1975. The 28 tracks are follows:
BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY
WALK LIKE A MAN
DON'T THINK TWICE
WORKIN' MY WAY BACK TO YOU
LET'S HANG ON
BYE BYE BABY
SILENCE IS GOLDEN
I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN
SAVE IT FOR ME
BIG MAN IN TOWN
WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW
AND THAT REMINDS ME
WATCH THE FLOWERS GROW
TELL IT TO THE RAIN
AIN'T THAT A SHAME
Rich Dudas says
I remember the 4LP box set that was hawked on TV by the Longines Symphonette Society called "The Greatest Hits Of Frankie Valli and The Fabulous Four Seasons" - it seemed like there was a commercial for it every half hour on TV !! It really was a great set though - I had it and played it over and over. And then a year or two later "Who Loves You" and "Oh What A Night (December 1963) !" both went Top 5 !! Very cool !!
Rich Dudas says
And is it just my ears or does the version of "Save It For Me" on the first CD have an alternate lead vocal from Frankie Valli or is it just a different mix?
Paul W Urbahns says
Rhino reissued the CDs in stereo, which in some cases, especially in the Vee Jay hits uses the stereo album versions instead of the original mono hit singles used on the original mono Philips albums. Occasionally the stereo versions have less punch, sweetening (lack music overdubs) alternate vocal tracks or different balance levels between the lead singer (Valli) and the group vocals (Gaudio, Divito, and Massi) than what we remember hearing when the songs were hits. The general feeling in the music industry today is nobody wants the original mono hits, people would rather have stereo. Very few of the originalk 4 Seasons hit singles have been issued on CD.
The person on the left is that Charlie Calello who was the Nick Massi temp. replacement until joey long came on board? Boy oh boy joe long really got dis'ed in the jersey boys movie ! 1 measly mention and no on screen time and he was well liked too. it could be that he and he is still living couldn't get together on the money thing and that kept him out of the movie ? any thoughts? Same thing goes for Buddy Saltzman who was there go to drummer 1st choice drummer, unofficially the 5th season but he did appeared with them on stage sometimes. When Tommy left he never did make any money from there records after that but im sure he was paid well for the use of name/image even with the "pissing in the sink and dirty towels scene. They could have never made that movie without his presence..Check out his youtube video "I am the real Tommy DeVito" When are the seasons do there auto/bio's still waiting ?
Deborah Gilliland says
I have a copy of The Four Seasons – 2nd Vault Of Golden Hits
Label: Lyou Feng Record Publishing Co. – CA-1074
It's in Red vinyl. I can't find anything on this LP other than some Red vinyl was produced for our soldiers overseas. Does anyone know anything about this album. It's in great shape and original cover with plastic.