Francis Stephen Castelluccio was born on May 3, 1934, in First Ward, Newark, New Jersey.
From 1962 to 1965, as Frankie Valli, he had massive success as the lead singer of the 4 Seasons with such hits as “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like a Man”, “Rag Doll” (all number 1’s), “Candy Girl”, “Stay”, and “Ronnie”. It has been estimated that the 4 Seasons sold 50 million records between 1962 and 1966.
In 1965, the band’s label, Vee-Jay, was having financial problems, and was unable to pay royalties to the 4 Seasons. The band and the label went to court, while the 4 Seasons went on to sign with Philips Records. Valli and the 4 Seasons then entered the studio with the idea of recording an album comprised entirely of Bob Dylan compositions. However, the concept changed to also include material written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
According to Wayne Jancik in The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders, Valli was frustrated with his interpretation of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”, and decided to record a “joke” falsetto vocal to reduce the tension in the studio. An executive at Philips heard the recording and decided to release it. Possibly because of the lawsuit with Vee-Jay, a single was issued under the name “The Wonder Who?”
The record, “Don’t Think Twice”/”Sassy”, was released as Philips 40324 in October, 1965. It peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 singles chart.
The album, The 4 Seasons Sing Big Hits by Burt Bacharach…Hal David…Bob Dylan, was released the following month.
Side One: Burt Bacharach, Hal David
1 What the World Needs Now Is Love (3:02)
2 Anyone Who Had a Heart (3:30)
3 Always Something There to Remind Me (3:07)
4 Make It Easy on Yourself (3:02)
5 Walk on By (3:05)
6 What’s New Pussycat? (2:21)
Side Two: Bob Dylan
1 Queen Jane Approximately (3:40)
2 Mr. Tambourine Man (3:09)
3 Like a Rolling Stone (4:27)
4 Don’t Think Twice (2:59)
5 All I Really Want to Do (2:04)
6 Blowin’ in the Wind (2:50)
Credits: Frankie Valli (Vocals), Frankie Valli (Performer), Bob Crewe (Producer), Bob Crewe (Liner Notes), Charles Calello (Conductor), Charles Calello (Orchestral Arrangements), Gordon Clark (Engineer), Ron Harris (Cover Photo).
Here’s one interpretation of the single, from All Music Guide:
Of course, in the middle of the Dylan side comes the “love it or hate it” send-up of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” sung by Frankie Valli in his falsetto impersonation of Rose Murphy and, as credited to the Wonder Who?, a Top 20 hit. Those who hate it tend to be humorless Dylan acolytes who consider it sacrilegious; but the reason it was a hit in the fall of 1965 was precisely because the Dylan phenomenon had become so overwrought by then; it was a balloon that needed to have a little air taken out of it, and the Wonder Who? came along at just the right moment to do so. Thirty years later, the rendition remains amusing, and it demonstrates that a good song can be interpreted many different ways. Much the same thing can be said about the album as a whole.
You can hear for yourself by listening to the embedded clip on the left.
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