It’s time for another 4 Seasons flashback, or Flashback, as the case may be. In January, Rhino’s budget Flashback imprint reissued two vintage compilations from the Jersey boys, 1965’s Gold Vault of Hits and 1966’s 2nd Vault of Golden Hits. Flashback is now turning its attention to the group’s lead singer, Frankie Valli, for a straight reissue of his 1978 solo compilation LP Hits due in stores on April 16.
The man born Francis Castellucio in Newark, New Jersey had his first taste of solo stardom in 1967 when “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” written and produced by his usual 4 Seasons team of Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe, ascended the U.S. pop charts all the way to No. 2. It was far from Valli’s first solo record, though. His very first released recording, 1954’s “My Mothers Eyes” by “Frankie Valley,” was sans group. But by 1956, Valli had joined with The Four Lovers, the group that eventually morphed into The 4 Seasons. That group’s history is well-documented: two consecutive No. 1 hits in 1962 (“Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”), fifteen charted singles over the next two years, including six Top 10s and two No. 1s. Valli wasn’t relinquishing his spot with the 4 Seasons when he struck out on his own and charted his first solo hit with 1966’s No. 39 record “(You’re Gonna) Hurt Yourself.” Solo LPs arrived from Philips in 1967 and 1968, but Valli returned to the group, and didn’t headline another proper solo album until 1975’s Closeup. (He did, however, record a number of solo tracks and singles during the group’s 1971-1973 stint at Motown, from which Berry Gordy’s famous label assembled the album Inside You.)
There's more about Frankie after the jump!
Larry Uttal’s Private Stock label hit paydirt when it issued “My Eyes Adored You,” a song written and recorded during Valli’s time at Motown. The story goes that Valli bought the master recording back from Motown for about $4,000.00, a bargain if there ever was one. The Bob Crewe/Kenny Nolan song became Valli’s first ever No. 1 solo hit. It leads off Hits, naturally. “My Eyes Adored You” anchored Valli’s Private Stock long-playing debut, Closeup, produced by Bob Crewe in New York City and Bob Gaudio in Los Angeles. Bob Crewe seized a disco feeling for his production of “Swearin’ to God,” which he co-wrote with Denny Randell. In a four-minute version edited down from the ten-minute album original, it became Valli’s second Top 10 single in a matter of months. The full version was included on Hits, and should appear on the upcoming CD, as well.
Valli followed Closeup with Our Day Will Come, titled after his third hit single of 1975. The disco-style remake of the Mort Garson/Bob Hilliard tune rewarded Valli with a No. 11 success; the one and only Patti Austin provided the prominent supporting vocal on the song. Three songs on Hits come from Valli, his third Private Stock LP. These include the singer’s take on Boz Scaggs’ “We’re All Alone” (recorded prior to Rita Coolidge’s hit version), a version of The Alessi Brothers’ “Easily,” and Teddy Randazzo and Victoria Pike’s uptempo “Boomerang.” Truth to tell, none of these songs were, in fact, hits, but Hits does make room for “Fallen Angel,” a 1976 non-LP single that made the Top 40 in America and the Top 10 in the United Kingdom. It also provides one of the most emotional moments in the musical biography of the band, Jersey Boys. One song, “Rainstorm,” has been culled from Lady Put the Light Out, Valli’s final effort for Private Stock in 1977.
Frankie Valli would be back on top in no time flat thanks to 1978’s “Grease,” written and co-produced by Barry Gibb, who dominated the charts that year. It missed the cut-off for Hits, but the eight-song set should prove an enjoyable snapshot of the artist’s Private Stock era. A number of the songs on Hits are also otherwise unavailable now, as the 2008 Collectors’ Choice Music reissues of Valli’s Private Stock catalogue are now long out-of-print. Frankie continues to be a big concert draw and even occasionally returns to the studio, as with 2007’s Romancing the 60s. Whatever the decade, Frankie Valli is (still) the word(s).
Hits is available from Rhino Flashback on April 16 and can be pre-ordered below!
Frankie Valli, Hits (Private Stock PS 7012, 1978 – reissued Rhino Flashback, 2013)
- My Eyes Adored You (3:33)
- Our Day Will Come (5:45)
- We’re All Alone (4:06)
- Boomerang (4:36)
- Swearin’ to God (Album Version) (9:57)
- Fallen Angel (3:45)
- Easily (4:02)
- Rainstorm (3:55)
Tracks 1 & 5 from Closeup, Private Stock LP PS 2000, 1975
Track 2 from Our Day Will Come, Private Stock LP PS 2006, 1976
Tracks 3-4 & 9 from Valli, Private Stock LP 2017, 1976
Track 6 from Private Stock single 45074, 1976
Track 8 from Lady Put the Light Out, Private Stock LP PS 7002, 1977