The Four Seasons had one of the most successful six-month periods in pop history as three of their singles topped the Billboard Magazine Pop Singles chart for a total of 13 weeks.
“Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” were recorded at the same session, but “Sherry’s” five-week run as the number one song in America ended October 20, 1962. Four weeks later The Four Seasons were back on top.
Success did not come quickly for the group. They formed during 1955 and used such names as the Variatones, Frankie Valley and The Travelers, The Four Lovers, Frankie Tyler, and Frankie Valle and The Romans, but a name change to The Four Seasons was the charm. They would go on to sell over 175 million records and be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
In the pop world of the 1960s pre-Beatles era, if you succeeded, the rule was don’t change anything if you could help it. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Sherry” were very similar. Both were catchy up-tempo tunes with tight harmonies backing Frankie Valli’s falsetto. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” had a bigger sound and the harmonies were fuller. All in all, it had a very smooth pop feel, which would be similar to their string of hits during the remainder of the decade.
Band member Bob Gaudio wrote or co-write most of the group’s hits. Here he shared the writing credit with producer Bob Crewe. He and Crewe both agreed that the title came from a line in a film but they disagreed on which film. Gaudio has always stated it came from the movie Tennessee Partner and Crewe from the film Slightly Scarlet. Both starred John Payne and Rhonda Fleming. Whatever the song’s origin, it was a perfect blend of East Coast doo-wop and
rhythm & blues.
The Four Seasons had 40 chart singles during the 1960s with four reaching number one. They were one of the few American groups to remain commercially successful during the British Invasion years. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” is considered their biggest hit and 50 years ago this week it was on top of the American music world.