Frankie Valli Saw Sinatra and Was Sold

Four Seasons Receive their Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame


A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled Friday honoring the vocal quartet Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons for a career that began in 1962 and included such memorable songs as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like A Man.”
On his 90th birthday, Valli accepted the star on behalf on keyboard player and tenor vocalist Bob Gaudio, who was unable to attend, baritone vocalist and lead guitarist Tommy DeVito, who died in 2020, and bass guitarist and bass vocalist Nick Massi, who died in 2000.
“It’s hard to believe that this whole thing started when I was about 14 or 15 years old and I did my very first performance in front of an audience, and it was a school recital when I sang `White Christmas’ a capella,” he told the crowd gathered for the event on Hollywood Boulevard between Cerrito and Argyle avenues.
“Who would have dreamed it would have gone this far.”
He added, “This is really a highlight in my life, especially having my sons here, and my wife. … I will digest all of this. It’s really over the top for me.”
Entertainment executive Irving Azoff joined Valli in speaking at the ceremony.
The star is the 2,780th since the completion of the Walk of Fame in 1961 with the initial 1,558 stars.
Born Francis Castelluccio and raised in a public housing project in Newark, New Jersey, Valli has said he was inspired to become a singer when he was 7 years old and his mother took him to New York City’s Paramount Theater to see Frank Sinatra.
“I saw Sinatra coming out on stage and the way he was lit up, it was like he had an aura around him,” Valli said. “I decided then and there that’s what I was going to do — be a successful singer.”
The group was initially known as The Four Lovers, but after failing an audition to perform at the cocktail lounge of a bowling alley in Union, New Jersey, they decided the lounge’s name would make a classy name for a singing group, The Four Seasons.
For two years, the Four Seasons sang background for producer Bob Crewe’s other acts while working on a style of their own. Finally, in 1962, Gaudio came up with a song that made full use of Valli’s remarkable range, from baritone to falsetto.
When the unknown group sang “Sherry” on “American Bandstand” in 1962, The Four Seasons suddenly became the nation’s hottest band and after nine years as a recording artist, Valli became an “overnight” sensation with a No. 1 record.
“Many R&B groups had used falsetto as part of their background harmonies but we were different because we put the falsetto out front and made it the lead,” Valli said.
Both of The Four Seasons’ Grammy nominations came in 1963. They were nominated for best new artist, losing to Robert Goulet, in a field that also consisted of John F. Kennedy impersonator Vaughn Meader, the folk music groups The New Christy Minstrels and Peter, Paul and Mary and comedian Allan Sherman.

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