Four Seasons original member and songwriter Bob Gaudio hadn’t listened to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band’s historic albums since they were originally mastered.
But with the huge success of the Jersey Boys musical, plus the need for a Jersey Boys movie soundtrack album, Gaudio put together a novel soundtrack set, The Jersey Boys: Music from the Motion Picture and Broadway Musical (Rhino). The album features 25 tracks chosen by Gaudio, who juxtaposed Four Seasons recordings with those by cast members from both the film and Broadway musical.
“As it states upfront on the album cover, ‘Plus Original Recordings by Franki Valli & the Four Seasons,’” says Gaudio, “so it’s not quite the movie soundtrack. I hate to use the term ‘mix-up,’ but it’s a lot of that--not the soundtrack per se, but Jersey Boys in all its forms, starting from the beginning. And I thought it was a more interesting concept, since there was not enough material in the movie for me to use to make a complete soundtrack, so I pieced together my version of a soundtrack out of those three elements—the film, the Broadway show, and our original recordings--and had a great time doing it.”
Most people “seem to love it,” says Gaudio. “It’s been No. 1 on most charts I’ve seen for soundtracks and stuff like that, and our hits album has been No. 1. It’s crazy! Who would have thunk it? But I can see people thinking it [the sountrack album] isn’t what they thought it would be, but to Rhino’s credit, what it is is very clearly stated on the front cover.”
He maintains that he wasn’t “looking to set any trends.”
“Necessity is the mother of invention!” Gaudio says. “I didn’t have much choice, because, again, there wasn’t enough material in the movie to make what I consider a great soundtrack, so ‘Plan B’ turned into ‘Plan A,’ and once I figured it out I had a ball.”
Gaudio is particularly proud of The Jersey Boys because “it’s cutting edge,” he says, “a soundtrack that isn’t a soundtrack.”
“It’s a different approach, that I don’t know if many others could do, because I had the ‘music tree,’” he explains, metaphorically. “You go through the forest and pick from the trees and there’s all kinds of amazing music--going back to our ‘50s demos—and sometimes I mixed different things. Nobody’s picked up on the fact that on ‘Who Loves You,’ I found a way to start with Frankie and crossfade into John Lloyd Young [who played Valli both on Broadway and in the film].”
Now living in Nashville, Gaudio says that he produced the album after locking himself in a studio with the Four Seasons’ audio archives, along with any other material he could find elsewhere. Meanwhile, Rhino has also issued Audio with a G: Sounds of a Jersey Boy--The Music of Bob Gaudio, a two-disc set of songs written by Gaudio and performed by The Four Seasons and other artists including the Royal Teens, of which he was a member and hit big in 1958 with his composition "Short Shorts," which he wrote when he was 15.
Also included are England’s Tremeloes' hit version of Gaudio’s Four Seasons’ “Silence is Golden,” The Walker Brothers classic “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)” (as well as Cher’s version), and Valli’s monster hit “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” also represented by Nancy Wilson’s rendition.
Audio with a G was compiled by former Time editor Charles Alexander, who conceived the project in 2007.
“The only thing I had to do is sign my name on the cover!” says Gaudio. “The rest of the credit totally goes to Charles, for his tenacity, research and dedication. I told him, ‘You’re going to find a lot more than I know, and you already know a lot more than I know.”
Indeed, Gaudio hasn’t played any of his songs pretty much since he wrote them.
“I forget these things,” he says. “My brain purges what I’ve done, and besides, when you start out, you’re looking around the corner for what’s next—not what you did do, but what you’re going to do. You try to get away from what you’ve done so you can create more.”
One Gaudio creation, much like his work with the Four Seasons, may gain a similar second life. He reports that the 2001 musical Peggy Sue Got Married may be brought back to the U.S., after having played only in England. Gaudio composed the music for the show,which was adapted from the Francis Ford Coppola film.
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