FLMag: How did you come up with such hits time after time?
Frankie Valli: Actually I wasn’t the one who came up with them; I didn’t write them. My partner Bob Gaudio was one of the writers…and there was Larry Brown, Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell.
Your songs showcase your remarkable range. Did you have formal training?
FV: No, I didn’t have formal training. What I did just came natural. I wasn’t really aware that that was anything that everybody else didn’t have. I didn’t take any lessons or anything.
FLMag: In your amazing 54-year career you are still packing concert halls. What gives you that staying power?
FV: I give it mainly to people who’ve been loyal and who have been fans from the very beginning and bought the records. And Jersey Boys was a big help.
A lot of the music that we did in that period of time sounds like real songs. Music was really at its best place I think from the mid-’60s through the ’70s and ’80s and then it started to change, and there was a lot of dance music and rap. And some of the rap was really good. Some of those guys put quite a bit of effort into making those records.
Another thing for us is that we did various different kinds of music; we didn’t stay in one bag and do everything exactly the same. We did some songs that were entirely self-contained, no orchestras, just us singing and playing, and we also used orchestras and we used symphony orchestras.
We weren’t changing the market or trying to make records that sounded like someone else. We were having fun making music, and making money.
FLMag: Jersey Boys (the Broadway musical based on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons) also won four Tony Awards, including best musical. Did anyone even know your life story until this musical?
FV: No, I don’t think so. I wasn’t big on having publicists and in most cases we weren’t with major record companies. We were with offspring of a label or a deal that the record company had made with a particular producer.
FLMag: You sang the theme for the 1978 film Grease, which went platinum. Why did the Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb, who wrote the song, choose you to sing it?
FV: Barry Gibb and I were friendly, and we were both fans of each other. I had a call from Barry’s office telling me that he had a song for me that he wanted me to consider. It was sent over to me and I loved it.
FLMag: Who was your musical inspiration and why?
FV: The guys that I got inspiration from were guys like Sinatra, Little Jimmy Scott – there were a number of guys out there. Even as time when by, Elton John and Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Olivia Newton-John all did great music.
FLMag: How does your newest album, A Touch of Jazz, differ from your other albums?
FV: That was a labor of love. I had talked about doing an album like that; actually I started out wanting to be a “proper” singer. I was interested in jazz very early on in my life. Jazz – there was no real money in it, not enough to be able to support a family. So I started doing demos for publishers, demo songs that they would send to other artists. And then I had an opportunity to start recording and do some pop things, and I had some success with it. The jazz thing was always inside, a big part of what I wanted.
WHO: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
WHERE: Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
WHEN: 12/10; doors open at 7pm for an 8pm start time