Real 'Jersey Boy' Frankie Valli to play Broadway
This Aug. 28, 2012 photo shows Frankie Valli, of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in New York. The 78-year old Valli has been belting iconic hits like “Can't Take My Eyes Off You,” and “Sherry” with his trademark falsetto for years. He will be appearing for seven nights at the Broadway Theater with The Four Seasons beginning Oct. 19. (AP Photo/John Carucci)
NEW YORK (AP) — For a short time this fall, Broadway will feature Frankie Valli in two different places.
There will be the fake one taking the stage of the August Wilson Theatre for the Tony-winning "Jersey Boys," and the real one appearing for seven nights at the Broadway Theater with The Four Seasons beginning Oct. 19.
The 78-year old Valli has been belting iconic hits like "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," and "Sherry" with his trademark falsetto for years. Recently, the New Jersey native spoke to The Associated Press about his career, a stint on "The Sopranos" and where to get the best corned beef sandwich in New York.
AP: What's special about playing Broadway this fall?
Valli: I can't think of anybody who had a play on Broadway about their life and appeared on Broadway at the same time, so it was something that I was trying to get happening for a couple years and unable to get anybody to really understand what I was talking about.
AP: Since recording technology was far less sophisticated when you started out, how important was it to emotionally deliver the song in the studio?
Valli: The first and most important part about having a hit record is something that I learned a long, long time ago. You needed to have a hit song in order to have a hit record. If you didn't have a hit song it didn't matter how great the performance was or the arrangement or the production — you didn't have a hit record. That's just the way it was. It didn't matter if your name was Frank Sinatra or James Brown. It just didn't matter. Every artist has misses. You hopefully go into the studio and do music that your audience is going to like but that does mean they're gonna like everything that you make and sometimes you can run out of ideas.
AP: How did The Four Seasons approach it?
Valli: I always looked at The Four Seasons as being more of an innovative group for the kind of music that they did. We really never followed what was happening on the radio. We weren't listening to what was happening on the radio. We went in and made music that we loved to do. We had fun doing it. I think when you start to sit down and try to figure out what is it that makes the hit is when you begin to have trouble.
AP: What was it about The Four Seasons and that era?
Valli: It was a very strange phenomenon because we were a guy's group and girls liked what we did, but in a lot of cases there were groups that guys didn't like because they felt they were being threatened. We were not that. We were saying a lot of things that these street guys wanted to say.
AP: When did you realize you wanted to be a recording artist?
Valli: I first started out in this business not really wanting to be a pop singer. I was more interested in jazz. That's what I wanted to do. And I remember as a kid, I would sit in the kitchen on the floor — we lived in the projects — with the door open to the outside and I'd listen to "Symphony" Sid, which was on the radio from 12 at night until 6 in the morning. My father would go bananas so I had to keep it so low.
AP: What led you to your trademark falsetto vocals?
Valli: A lot of groups did. They just used falsetto a little differently than they did. We used it as a lead-in. We used it much stronger. Everybody else used it as background. In a lot of cases we used it as background, too. I sang lead and then when we were making the record I sang a high background part with it.