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Romancing the '60s

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Album Review

Frankie Valli has recorded only sparingly as a solo artist, and virtually never after the late '70s. (Culture hounds should already be aware that the most notable solo Valli performance was the theme song to 1978's Grease, the latest of his Top Ten hits.) But in 2007, with his recurring appearances on The Sopranos and the success of the Four Seasons-based Broadway smash Jersey Boys, Valli's fame was higher than it had been in 30 years, and he returned with the solo album Romancing the '60s. In similar company with the standards records of Barry Manilow that topped the charts in the mid-2000s, the album presents a baker's dozen of nuggets from the pop canon (plus an extra thrown in as part of a medley). It doesn't come as a surprise that Valli's tastes run as heavily into pop as Manilow's, which results in many choices from the Brill Building stable (plus a healthy dose of Motown). Also, there's a preponderance of American choices, the only one outside the hemisphere being Brit producer Tony Hatch on "Call Me" (and that one hit the charts thanks to American Chris Montez). Although Valli had kept active during the years as a live performer, it may still be a surprise to hear how his sweet falsetto has thinned as it's aged. Valli has a large orchestra behind him on most songs, as well as backing vocals on several performances to bolster his singing. The last track, "On Broadway," features the Jersey Boys themselves.


Born: 03 May 1934 in Newark, NJ

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Pop singer Frankie Valli was permanently associated with the group for which he served as lead singer, the Four Seasons. But he also maintained a separate solo career during much of the band's tenure that included several major hits beginning with "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and including "Grease." He also found work as a film and television actor. In general, Valli's solo recordings were closer to middle-of-the-road traditional pop than his work with the Four Seasons, and he abandoned his trademark...
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Romancing the '60s, Frankie Valli
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