Frankie Valli's Truth Comes Out In Jersey Boys
Singer/songwriter Frankie Valli of the GRAMMY-nominated quartet the Four Seasons recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's A Conversation With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Valli discussed his childhood in New Jersey, forming the Four Seasons and being truthful about his past for the making of the Tony-winning musical "Jersey Boys" and the upcoming film adaptation.
"One of the things I learned really quickly was that it was really important if they were going to do a story about your life … at least 98 percent of it had to be the real truth," said Valli. "And I think that had an awful lot to do with the fact that [the] 'Jersey Boys' [musical] was the success that it was."
In 1955 the Newark, N.J.-born Valli co-founded the Variatones, a group that morphed into the Four Lovers and, ultimately, the Four Seasons. Comprising Valli and singers Tommy DeVito (guitar), Bob Gaudio (keyboards) and Nick Massi (bass), the Four Seasons released a string of No. 1 hits in the '60s, including "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like A Man," and "Rag Doll." The group earned two 1962 GRAMMY nominations for Best New Artist and Best Rock & Roll Recording for "Big Girls Don't Cry."
In 1967 Valli scored his first Top 40 solo hit with the release of Frankie Valli: Solo, which featured the No. 2 hit "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." The song garnered two GRAMMY nominations for Best Vocal Performance, Male and Best Contemporary Male Solo Vocal Performance. Valli followed with 1970's Half & Half and 1975's Closeup, the latter of which featured the No. 1 hit "My Eyes Adored You." He landed on top of the charts again with "Grease," the title track from the GRAMMY-nominated soundtrack for the 1978 film. Following acting stints on TV shows such as "The Sopranos," Valli released his most recent solo album, 2007's Romancing The '60s, which cracked the Billboard 200.
"Jersey Boys," which chronicles Valli and the Four Seasons, debuted on Broadway in 2005 and won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. A film adaptation of the musical, directed by GRAMMY nominee Clint Eastwood, will open in theaters June 20.
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, the latest edition of the group, are currently in the midst of a North American tour, with dates scheduled through November.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include The Drop: John Fullbright (June 30), Great Guitars: Stanley Jordan (July 9) and Great Guitars: Laurence Juber (July 14).