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The Four Seasons A celebration of pop songwriting genius..

#1 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 04:56 PM

Its weird with the Four Seasons.I've got no idea reading certain articles why they were perceived to be 'square' when their songwriting seemed every bit as radical n adventurous as people like The Beatles n The Stones..

I enjoy their really early 60s ultra-falsetto ones too, but its by the mid 60s where their songs started to get really magical n cool for me..

The playful feint at being a dewy eyed doo-wop ballad at the start of Lets Hang On before bursting into that great fuzz riff...

The Sunshine exhuberance of Opus 17 with about 6 key changes !

The outrageous n relentless slamming be-bop rythm of C'Mon Maryanne (an idea borrowed by Bowie n Iggy to equally good effect on Lust For Life)

The pleading blue-eyed soul of Beggin'

Can't Take My Eyes Off You- The most idiosyncratic n eccentricly brilliant 'easy listening' MOR standard ever surely...How many others can you think of that have the nerve to break into a strident strip-club trumpet march between the verse n chorus ?

Its 2 songs they did in the 70s that are even more magical than those for me tho...Both exhibiting a level of inspiration, skill ,creativity,intensity n major/minor modulation to maximise dynamic mood contrasts sadly not seen at all in todays pop writing..Both utterly transcendent,timeless,compelling n exciting adventures in the art of dramatic musical storytelling..

As records,both produced n performed with stellar musicianship/arrangement...I mean they sound totally fantastic too...

Who Loves You

The chorus in A at the beginning with its beautiful,friendly life-affirming melody repeated cyclically over those simple maj/minor chords.Departing suprisingly to the Am as things suddenly get chillier n more mysterious n minory 'When tears are in your eyes'...

The pivotal chord change in this song for me is the brilliant, inspired leap from the G to the Bsus ('Happy when you're GREY ')- ramping up the tension n suspense as those grey skies suddenly start swirling ominously - as the beautiful ascending melody,sung to the heavens begins ('Baby when you're feeling like') then descending over that lovely suspension 'You'll never see the morning light' before landing on the Am7 ('Come To MEEEEEEEEEEEEE' ), where the clouds magically depart in an instant- replaced by a glorious technicolour sun and with the 'Baby You'll see' arriving safely back home again..
Except now we're not 'home' at all-but in G rather than the original home key of A.. They work that problem out with neat sleight-of-hand, modulating back to the A from the D in the 2nd part of the chorus..So skillfully done you wouldn't even notice..

If all that wasn't enough we then get an added supa-cool funky breakdown in the middle with those trippy wonderful 'Doo-Doo's too !

Total Genius


The Night..A staggeringly cool single, amazingly not even deemed worthy of release in the US by their record company at the time (although it was a hit in the UK) .One of the most dramatic,intense songs i've ever heard...

Beginning with that totally ominous n strange G#-G B-C Bass (there's no tabs anywhere on the net for this so i've done my best to work it out )..

Such a cool chord progression on guitar G#-Gm -G7-Cm-then breaking out into the tough,urgent,pleading R'n'B middle bit 'So he paints a pretty picture' Fm-A#-G7-Cm-G#-Gm-G7-Cm -The 2nd part of the chord progression here cleverly repeating the verse one (G#-Gm -G7-Cm) but at a higher intensity and with a far more urgent vocal line-

Finally arriving at the gloriously triumphant sing-a-long chorus The Night Begins To Turn Your Head Around (A fast changing G#-D#-G#-A#) -Which is the only 'majory' feel thing in the whole song but such a wonderful n needed contrast in vibe..

The final part of the chorus fades to a wintery B#m ,preparing to plunge you dramatically back into the chilling,eerie vibe of the verse once again..What a thrilling ride !

Such a brilliant song..Its like the toughest,most passionate 60s soul filtered thru a dream/nightmare psychedelic haze

Both these songs are just about as good as pop music gets for me B)

#2 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:11 PM

Hi Steve

Quite frankly I found them annoying(4 seasons) as heck as I was growing up in the late 60s early 70s .They just seemed too square for me. That being said, as I became a songwriter in the 80s, I started listening to their arrangements of their earlier 60s stuff and found them more innovative than once thought. Instead of just being tagged as the shrieking doo-woppers from New Jersey, I had to step back and realize that the music back in the late 50s and early 60s were in the stages of breaking new ground and their sound was was fresh and new and brought up from the streets. Their sound wasnt as tailored as some of the pop idols of that time. Im not a fan of their stuff by any means, but I have a different appreciation for them now then when I was growing up.

Since we'll call this the guilty pleasure thread, I have a few of my own and some are obvious...like ABBA's song S.O.S. ;) or something more recent if you find 1996s one hit wonders the Cardigans song "Love Fool" recent. That album(First Band On The Moon) alone has a neat semi-retro late 70s/80s vibe to it.
Ahhh, but for me its this little known band out of the late 70s that had a very odd out of sync pop minor hit called "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime". The group being UK's The Korgis fashioned itself as a new wave band, but it didn't have the musical trappings of a Talking Heads or B52s to be or sound that radical. There were no distinctive traits that would make them stand out other than a band that wrote semi quirky pop tunes with lush keyboard arrangements. Even James Warren's lead vocals were of a different nature with a sedate Neil Sedaka overtone to them.

The guilty pleasure song for me off their second cd other than the minor hit is this late 50s type full blown Phil Spector-ish song ballad called "If It's Alright With You Baby". This song has this sonic quality about it that you can get lost in. One of those type of songs you like to listen with headphones. Loved the light cutie pie backing vocals of Ali Cohn and Jo Mullet singing "alright baby"...it brings a coy smile to my face when I hear it.

just my guilty pleasures worth
R-N-R Jim
"Its all about taking the easy way out for you, I suppose" -elliot smith


To listen to songs I have written and recorded, go to these links:

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link below is an honorable mention from a national songwriting contest that I entered the song "Baby" that I wrote with the help of singnpeach on vocals and a couple lines for the lyrics she added. Not bad for a muse collaboration.

http://www.songofthe...JamesUpham.html

#3 User is offline   NigeQ Icon

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 05:48 AM

I remember when The Night came out I was quite taken by it, particularly the bass and organ sound. I think the song was something of a come back for them.

If youĎve not seen Jersey Boys, go see it. Itís a great show with the band playing live throughout. Fascinating true story too. I had Big Girls Donít Cry in my head for weeks after that.

I think too many pop songwriters get given the genius tag but for Bob Gaudio itís a right and proper one :)

#4 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:47 AM

Jim..I could understand why you wouldn't dig the shreiky early stuff by them lol..I like it-'cos generally the songwriting was good-but their later music is in a different league for me..I think they obviously picked up loads of inspiration from people like The Beatles n master Motown writers Holland-Dozier-Holland- who were all playing round with structure/major-minor feel n sonic experimentation..

I love all the songs you mention..Really cool -Great dreampop songs
Abba were great songwriters..S.O.S is def one of my favourites by them..

Never heard 'If Its Alright With You Baby' before -but its cool..Really like the lift and how it leaps into that chorus ..Very melodic n interesting
Thanx for sharing..

#5 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:55 AM

View PostNigeQ, on 05 March 2012 - 05:48 AM, said:

I remember when The Night came out I was quite taken by it, particularly the bass and organ sound. I think the song was something of a come back for them.

If you‘ve not seen Jersey Boys, go see it. It’s a great show with the band playing live throughout. Fascinating true story too. I had Big Girls Don’t Cry in my head for weeks after that.

I think too many pop songwriters get given the genius tag but for Bob Gaudio it’s a right and proper one :)


Nige...Just looked at the reviews of Jersey Boys..Looks like a really cool show - I'll definitely check it out if i get the chance..
I was just looking up Bob Gaudio -and not only did he write all the great Four seasons ones-i also found out he Wrote 'The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore' and 'Silence Is Golden' too !...Amazing he's not more celebrated/known as the songwriting genius he is..

#6 User is online   neuroron Icon

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:33 PM

View PostScenesFromPalacio, on 05 March 2012 - 09:55 AM, said:

View PostNigeQ, on 05 March 2012 - 05:48 AM, said:

I remember when The Night came out I was quite taken by it, particularly the bass and organ sound. I think the song was something of a come back for them.

If youĎve not seen Jersey Boys, go see it. Itís a great show with the band playing live throughout. Fascinating true story too. I had Big Girls Donít Cry in my head for weeks after that.

I think too many pop songwriters get given the genius tag but for Bob Gaudio itís a right and proper one :)


Nige...Just looked at the reviews of Jersey Boys..Looks like a really cool show - I'll definitely check it out if i get the chance..
I was just looking up Bob Gaudio -and not only did he write all the great Four seasons ones-i also found out he Wrote 'The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore' and 'Silence Is Golden' too !...Amazing he's not more celebrated/known as the songwriting genius he is..

Great song and performance!! I saw them live about that time (at the Newport Hotel on Miami Beach) and they were sensational live. I saw Jersey Boys on Broadway a couple of years ago - Besides great musically, I hadn't realized there was such an interesting back story - Hoighly recommend seeing the show though.
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#7 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:45 PM

If we're talking about folks who wrote songs for the Four Seasons, we can't forget Bob Crewe. With Bob Gaudio he cowrote:

- Sherry
- Big Girls Don't Cry
- Rag Doll
- Walk Like a Man
- Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)
- Let's Hang On

Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan also wrote my favorite: My Eyes Adored You, plus Lady Marmalade for Labelle.

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#8 User is offline   DannyDep Icon

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 03:33 PM

View PostNeal K, on 05 March 2012 - 12:45 PM, said:

If we're talking about folks who wrote songs for the Four Seasons, we can't forget Bob Crewe. With Bob Gaudio he cowrote:

- Sherry
- Big Girls Don't Cry
- Rag Doll
- Walk Like a Man
- Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)
- Let's Hang On

Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan also wrote my favorite: My Eyes Adored You, plus Lady Marmalade for Labelle.

Neal

Yep, both Gaudio and Crewe are inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
btw, both Jersey Boys. ;)

Bob Gaudio
Bob Crewe

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#9 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:07 PM

Its weird..I was listening randomly to alot of 60s songs on youtube yesterday hoping to find ones i really loved..This wonderfully quirky n strange tune was easily my favourite..Just looked up the writer and found it was Bob Crewe!

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