Tag Archives: Frankie Valli

REWIND: Four Guys In Disguise… Wonder Who?

I hear these guys change with the Seasons...

I hear these guys change with the Seasons…

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You’ve probably seen the advertisements for the Clint Eastwood directed Jersey Boys film, which opens in movie theaters  today. It’s based on the successful musical of the same name and tells the story of pop quartet The Four Seasons, their run of hits and the troubles within the band. Now, being that Frankie Valli and his group were so iconic and certainly left a number of musical memories, I guess I could’ve picked anything to highlight in their decades long career. However, it’s one from deep into their chart success that may be the most intriguing and probably one of the strangest cases in chart history, a two-horse race that will have you seeing doubling. Wonder who’s causing some trouble here?

By 1964, the group had made the jump from Vee-Jay Records to Phillips after their former label was dealt several financial issues, though both labels managed to chart top 40 singles by the act during that year. Luckily, those released on their new home were significantly larger, including the #1 hit “Rag Doll”, which spent two weeks at the top in July. In the months after this, an executive from Phillips heard a recording that Valli and the boys had made two years prior for what was supposed to be an album to fulfill their contract with Vee-Jay, specifically built around various songs of Bob Dylan. The effort was not released, but a song from it, meant as a joke, ended up as one of “The Four Seasons” bigger hits of 1965.

“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Alright”, originally recorded for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963, was issued in that fall as just “Don’t Think Twice” for The Wonder Who?, a name created by the label as they couldn’t credit the quartet or even Valli himself. Given the much higher falsetto performance by the singer, it sounded different enough to be a “new act”, yet recognizable to those who could figure out the mystery. After all, both it and “Let’s Hang On”, the current single at the time by The Four Seasons, were on the same label (Phillips) and produced by the same man, Bob Crewe.

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While “Hang” made its debut in October after two failed single, “Twice” did not enter the Hot 100 until early November and at lowly #90, while the former song was solidly headed into the top ten. However, by Thanksgiving (and the chart dated on the 27th of the month), “Twice” took several leaps up and landed at #32, making the group the first act in history to achieve two different top 40 singles consecutively under two different names. On the Christmas chart of 1965, “Hang” and “Twice” made their closest pass to one another; the former was holding steady at #4, while the latter peaked at #12, increasing that record to the top 20. Both began falling the next week, but not before they solidified their entry in a pretty interesting piece of chart trivia that’s not often remembered.

In the years to come, The Four Seasons had several other hits for Phillips before fading until the mid-70’s, during which Frankie Valli scored several hits on Private Stock, while The Four Seasons signed to Curb/Warner and also launched a comeback with 1975’s “Who Loves You” and 1976’s “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)”, which topped the Hot 100 that March for three weeks. Meanwhile, The Wonder Who? didn’t have to wonder much longer; after their sole top 40 entry, three additional singles reached the Hot 100 but stalled out far below. Much like the official revelation of their identity, it was no real surprise that the singles didn’t stand a chance.

For more on those four Jersey Boys and their rise to stardomcheck out the new movie and/or download one of their hits collections via iTunes. You’ll be beggin’ for more.

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Filed under Retro

The Girl Next “Adore”: Cherishing These Chart Hits

Hard at twerk.

Hard at twerk.

If you were hoping Miley Cyrus was going to take 2014 off, sorry, she’s not. In fact, it looks like she’ll be just as big this year as she was in 2013 with a sold out tour and her continued placement on the charts. Her third single from her album Bangerz, titled “Adore You”, just re-entered on the Hot 100 at #22 thanks to the premiere of a video clip for it on December 26, as well as increased airplay and sales. It’s now the fifth Hot 100 entry to adorn the big survey with an “Adore” title, which includes two #1 singles in two decades. Will Cyrus’s latest passionately pop to the top? We’ll see in a few months. For now, here are the other four singles to bang and bounce up the chart:

“I Adore Him”, The Angels (#25, 1963)
This American trio earned a couple of small to moderate entries before blasting to the top with the summer hit, “My Boyfriend’s Back”, in 1963. A few months afterwards, this single was released by their label at the time, Smash Records. While it wasn’t a big smash per se, it did provide the group with their last top 40 single. The three are still together today.

“My Eyes Adored You”, Frankie Valli (#1, 1975)
After failing to crack the top 40 in seven years, the lead singer of the Four Seasons finally made it back in 1975 and soared to the #1 spot. “Eyes” was technically a band recording, but only credited to Valli per a decision by label Private Stock. They finally returned to a full credit on singles like “Who Loves You” and “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)”.

“I Adore Mi Amor”, Color Me Badd (#1, 1991)
With pencil thin mustaches and a pop-driven R&B sound, the quartet from Oklahoma City burst onto the scene with some big hits. “Amor” was the second single from C.M.B. following “I Wanna Sex You Up” and spent two weeks at #1 in September. Though they continued to chart through the late 1990’s, their presence was diminished after that first era.

“Ava Adore”, The Smashing Pumpkins (#42, 1998)
Recorded during a challenging time in the band’s history, this era ultimately showcased a darker side both in image and sonically. It just missed the top 40 and was their closest pass there since “Thirty-Three” peaked at… #39 (so close!) in 1997. Parent album Adore will be rereleased on both CD and vinyl with some special bonus material sometime this year.

So, who do you “adore” off this list? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers

Consciously Charting: A Reasonable Roundup Of Hits

Even more reasons.

Even more reasons.

As the Pink and Nate Ruess duet, “Just Give Me A Reason”, spends a third week at #1 on my chart, as well as becomes the brand new #1 song on iTunes, I figured it was a good time to dip into the archives to see where it fit among the other voices of “Reason”. It turns out that the song becomes the eleventh title in the history of the Hot 100 (1958 onward) to feature the word and make the top 40. It’s currently at #8 thanks to already strong sales and a major lift at radio. Will it eventually beat some of these reasonable releases? Let’s take a look back at what’s happened so far.

The top tens:
“THE REASON”, Hoobastank (#2, 2004)
After a few years of charting on Alternative radio and one minor crossover single (2002’s “Running Away”), this California band had a huge pop breakthrough with this ballad. It remains the band’s biggest crossover single, spending eight weeks at #1 on CHR radio. They never recovered from the success of it; their singles had lower peaks on rock radio and album sales diminished. They still remain together.

“GIVE ME ONE REASON”, Tracy Chapman (#3, 1996)
In 1988, Chapman released her debut album, a self-titled effort which hit #1 on the strength of the story song “Fast Car”, which went to #6 on the Hot 100. Fast forward to 1996 and in a surprisingly return, “Give” managed to peak even higher with this bluesy number, going so far as the #1 spot on mainstream radio. It also achieved some R&B success. Chapman’s last studio album, Our Bright Future, was released in 2008.

“YOU’RE THE REASON I’M LIVING”, Bobby Darin (#3, 1963)
In an accomplished career full of big hits like “Mack The Knife” and “Splish Splash”, “Living” was another of Darin’s ten top ten and twenty-two top 40 hits between 1958 and 1966. He last made the Hot 100 in 1973 with the #67 “Happy” and died several months later during a heart operation. He received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 Grammy Awards.

“SIXTEEN REASONS”, Connie Stevens (#3, 1960)
Best known as an actress, Stevens starred on the television show Hawaiian Eye from 1959 to 1962. She also appeared in several movies. In 1958, she recorded her first album, and launched several songs onto the Hot 100 over the next few years. This was her biggest single to make the chart. She occasionally directs now.

“LOVE ME FOR A REASON”, The Osmonds (#10, 1974)
The brothers from Utah became huge starting in 1971 with songs like “One Bad Apple” (#1) and “Yo-Yo” (#3), but as fast they took the charts by storm, they were dumped pretty quickly as well. “Love” was their last top ten hit. Brother Donny continued to hit the charts with sister Marie and also as a solo act. The other four brothers took on a Country sound and had some limited success on that survey in the 80’s.

The top forties:
“YOU’RE THE REASON”, Bobby Edwards (#11, 1961)
Edwards was born in Alabama and had a number of regional singles before scoring his biggest hit with Crest Records in 1961. It was one of two singles to make the Hot 100 for him, though “You’re” was the only one to hit the top 40. He retired from music shortly afterwards after his singles failed to chart. He’s still around, currently at the age of 87, though he hasn’t performed live in some time.

“REASON TO BELIEVE (UNPLUGGED)”, Rod Stewart (#19, 1993)
Stewart’s original version of “Believe” was released in 1971 from Every Picture Tells A Story, peaking at #62. It also became the b-side of his #1 hit “Maggie May” after the two swapped sides. However, it finally became a top-40 hit on its own in 1993 when it was released as a single from his MTV Unplugged performance. Stewart’s latest album, Time, is out May 7; believe that it’ll sell well on the album chart.

“ONE GOOD REASON”, Paul Carrack (#28, 1988)
Carrack’s voice has been behind classics for Ace (“How Long”), Mike + The Mechanics (“Silent Running” and “The Living Years”) and Squeeze (“Tempted”), but he scored the most U.S. top-40 hits as a solo act. “Good” was the title track to his third solo album and the followup to “Don’t Shed A Tear”, which went to #9 a few months earlier. Carrack still records and performs today.

“TO GIVE (THE REASON I LIVE)”, Frankie Valli (#29, 1967)
In era where both his solo records and his songs with the Four Seasons were charting concurrently, this became a minor hit for the singer. Shortly after this, he and the group would not make the to 40 again until the mid-70s, when they enjoyed several big charting singles. Valli still performs today and his songs, along with many by the Four Seasons, are featured in the musical Jersey Boys.

“I’LL THINK OF A REASON LATER”, Lee Ann Womack (#38, 1999)
Beginning in 1997, Womack had a string of singles make the top 40 on the Country chart, including this one, which became her fourth #2 on that survey. She finally hit #1 the next year with “I Hope You Dance”. Womack last released an album in 2008, Call Me Crazy, best known for the single “Last Call”. She currently has a new full-length effort in the works.

Honorable Mention: Though this came way before the Hot 100 even existed, one of the best known “Reason” titles is “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons”, which was written back in 1945. A version by Nat King Cole went to #1 when Billboard had a Best Sellers Chart (only ten positions) in early 1947 and versions by Eddy Howard, Dinah Shore and Charlie Spivak also made the top ten.

Keep watching the charts to see how “Just Give Me A Reason” ranks among not only these titles, but the current big national hits as well. For more chart stories just like this, follow the blog using the tab below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Music News