Although I’ve enjoyed ‘oldies’ music for a long time, I actually came a little late to that appreciation. I’ve written before about my teen years and how my eclectic music tastes included everything from jazz to country music, but I think I always had my ears open to the latest thing too, and as time went on I found that there was a lot I liked about the music from those days.
I was reminded of that again recently, when I was the happy recipient of a very special Father’s Day gift from my daughter — she took me to see the hit musical, Jersey Boys. For those who might not be too familiar with it, Jersey Boys is the Tony-winning, smash-hit musical that tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons — and let me just add that I loved it!
In addition to being loaded with a ton of outstanding music performed by some amazing young talents, the show also presented a series of vignettes that took the audience through many of the high — and low — points of the original group’s story. Included among the latter were things like early brushes with the law, family discord, and even the tragic death of Frankie’s daughter.
The show also presented a look at all the turmoil that’s always been part of the music business, along with a number of key moments in the group’s evolution. One show-stopping scene revolved around the period in the mid-Sixties when Frankie was trying to get established in a solo career, a process that turned out to be more complicated than he’d hoped.
Although he would continue to work with the group for many years, Frankie also wanted to break out as a pop balladeer. Leaving behind his trademark falsetto, he recorded several songs that included one that wasn’t particularly appreciated by record company executives or DJs — but it went on to become one of his biggest hits. When the young singer playing Frankie performed it in Jersey Boys, it brought down the house. But the original was pretty good too.