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A Man for Four Seasons

The numbers in this single sentence in Wikipedia’s entry about Francesco Stephen Castelluccio — Frankie Valli — are a good illustration of how really important he is:

Valli scored 29 Top 40 hits with The Four Seasons, one Top 40 hit under The Four Seasons’ alias ‘The Wonder Who?‘, and nine Top 40 hits as a solo artist. (Continue Reading…)

Here is the beginning of Valli’s profile at his website:

Oh, what a story. Frankie Valli, who came to fame in 1962 as the lead singer of the Four Seasons, is hotter than ever in the 21st century. Thanks to the volcanic success of the Tony-winning musical Jersey Boys, which chronicles the life and times of Frankie and his legendary group, such classic songs as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” are all the rage all over again. As the play enters its third sold-out year on Broadway, and two touring companies of Jersey Boys travel around the U.S., the real Frankie Valli is packing concert halls coast to coast, from the Rose Theater, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, to L.A.’s Kodak Theater, home of the Academy Awards. (Continue Reading…)

Last month, Billboard’s Wayne Robins posted an interesting interview with Valli. This interesting response sums up Valli’s musical philosophy:

I always believed a singer should be able to sing any kind of song. If I wanted to sing a Cole Porter song, I should be able to do that. Or “Sherry,” I should be able to do that. Or a Dylan song. I didn’t go to any professional school to learn how to sing. I bought people’s records, listened to them, tried to do what the singer did by imitating them, as close as I could possibly get. We cover every kind of music. That’s important for anybody. We can do anything from working with a four- or five-piece band to working with a symphony orchestra. (Continue Reading…)

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons got a second life via the Broadway show “Jersey Boys.” Two of the group’s biggest hits were “Rag Doll” (above) and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” (below).

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.