The group, made up of Frankie Valli (vocals), Bob Gaudio (keyboard/vocals), Tommy DeVito (lead guitar/vocals), and Nick Massi (bass guitar/vocals), is the most successful white doo-wop group of all time. Selling over 175 million records worldwide, they recorded 5 Number Ones, 10 Top Ten and 15 Top 40 pop hits.
Originally known as The Four Lovers, the group landed their first major record deal with Vee Jay Records, a predominantly black record label. They had a minor hit with Otis Blackwell’s “Apple of my Eye”, which they performed on one of their two appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956.
In 1959, the group changed their name to The 4 Seasons, after a New Jersey bowling alley where they had failed an audition. Their luck began to change when they met lyricist and producer Bob Crewe. He and Gaudio started writing songs together, and they never looked back. In 1962, The 4 Seasons released their first album “Sherry & 11 Others”.
With their first number one “Sherry,” The 4 Seasons proved they were not just a one-hit wonder by turning out “Big Girls Don’t Cry”— the song they performed on The Ed Sullivan Show on December 9th, 1962. America instantly fell for Frankie Valli’s falsetto voice and the loveable boys from New Jersey. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” skyrocketed to Number One and remained there for fourteen weeks. Following that success, they released “Walk Like a Man” just three months later. This song was Number One for twelve weeks. The 4 Seasons, along with The Beach Boys, were one of the few American acts to withstand the British invasion that occurred in the 1960s when The Beatles crossed the pond. They even managed to make the UK Top 40 charts nine times. As an established group, The 4 Seasons returned to The Ed Sullivan Show two additional times in 1966, performing “Let’s Hang On”, “Don’t Think Twice” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.
Though the original group disbanded in the early 70s, various incarnations of the group followed. Several group members would enter and leave while also occasionally recording as The Wonder Who? In 1966, Valli branched off and did solo work on the side while continuing to perform with the band. The 4 Seasons leave behind a legacy that includes a Tony award-winning musical, numerous reinventions of songs, and induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Currently, Frankie Valli tours with a new crop of band members and The 4 Seasons continue to entertain audiences five decades after debuting on The Ed Sullivan Show.