Dawn (as made famous by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons)

“Dawn (Go Away)” is a song written by Bob Gaudio and Sandy Linzer and recorded by The Four Seasons[1] in early January 1964 as the Four Seasons were involved in a royalty dispute with Vee-Jay Records. As the lawsuit was making its way through the American judiciary system, the group recorded “Dawn” and a handful of other songs and withheld the master tapes from Vee-Jay, which then claimed breach of contract. The dispute would not be settled until 1965, a year after the Four Seasons officially left Vee-Jay.

Later that month, Atlantic Records rejected “Dawn”. The group signed with Philips Records, a subsidiary of Mercury Records, shortly thereafter. “Dawn (Go Away)” was released even later that month. It took only four weeks for “Dawn” to climb the Billboard Hot 100 chart to #3 on February 29, 1964[2] – and was prevented from going higher by the then-omnipresent “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” (which turned out to be the top two singles for 1964, according to Billboard). “Dawn” remained at #3 for three weeks, then dropped to make way for two further Beatles singles (“Twist and Shout” and “Please Please Me”). During its entire six-week run in the Top Ten only Beatles hits ranked above it in the chart.[3]

Originally written as a folk song, arranger Charles Calello sped it up and at Valli’s suggestion added a galloping rhythm guitar borrowed from Kai Windings version of “More”. Drummer Buddy Saltzman accented the recording with bombastic around the kit fills and ghost notes while never using a cymbal once.

The single version (with a two-line sung introduction) was never recorded in true stereo. Early “stereo” album releases were rechanneled (with the high and low frequencies on one channel and the midrange on the other); later stereo issues, from the Edizione d’Oro greatest hits album onward, offer different takes of the recording, One begins with a short drum intro, featuring a louder perhaps even more frantic drum backing by legendary session drummer Buddy Saltzman, and slightly different vocals. Both versions state they are two minutes, eleven seconds long–neither is. The stereo Dawn is two minutes, thirty seconds. The mono Dawn with the “Pretty as midsummer’s morn. They called her Dawn” intro is two minutes 45 seconds.[4]

“Dawn (Go Away)” was the only Philips single crediting the Four Seasons that did not have the notation “featuring the ‘sound’ of Frankie Valli”.

Walk Like A Man (as made famous by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons)

“Walk Like a Man” is a song written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio and originally recorded by the Four Seasons.[1]

The song features the counterpoint of Nick Massi’s bass voice and the falsetto of lead singer Frankie Valli. It was their third number one hit, initially reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 on March 2, 1963, remaining there for three weeks. “Walk Like a Man” also went to number three on the R&B singles chart [2]

During the sessions that produced the hit recording, the fire department received an emergency call from the Abbey Victoria Hotel (the building that housed the Stea-Phillips Recording Studios). As producer Bob Crewe was insisting upon recording the perfect take, smoke and water started to seep into the studio as the group repeated their efforts upon Crewe’s insistence: the room directly above the studio was on fire, yet Crewe blocked the studio door and continued recording until a few firemen used their axes on it and pulled Crewe out.[3]

Cover versions of the song have been recorded by other musicians such as the Mary Jane Girls (1986), Divine (1985), Dreamhouse and Jan & Dean (1963) off the album Jan & Dean Take Linda Surfin. Plastic Bertrand did a cover version in French, entitled C’est Le Rock ‘n’ Roll (1978) and Hungarian band Bon Bon also covered the song with the title Sexepilem (1999).

The song “Walk Like a Man” is part of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.[4]

Let’s Hang On (as made famous by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons)

“Let’s Hang On!” is a song composed by Bob Crewe, Sandy Linzer, and Denny Randell that was popularized by The Four Seasons in 1965. The single reached the number three position in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the group’s highest placement since “Rag Doll” hit the top spot in July 1964.[1]

This was the last Four Seasons hit to feature bass singer/bassist Nick Massi. The same month “Let’s Hang On!” was released, Massi left the group and was temporarily replaced by the band’s arranger Charles Calello before Joe Long came in as Massi’s full-time replacement.

The popularity of “Let’s Hang On!” has been attributed to the inclusion of several devices into the recording: a two-line introduction (sung by lead singer Frankie Valli), the use of two fuzz guitars (one guitarist playing low notes, another playing high notes on a fuzz bass), a chorus loaded with hooks and sung in falsetto, and backing vocals giving counterpoint with Valli’s lead vocal. It re-established the group’s presence in the Top Ten (of the Hot 100) as The Four Seasons were in a flurry of activity, recording albums both as The Four Seasons and as supporting musicians for Valli’s rekindled “solo” career. In the UK, the song was a No.4 hit for the group.[2]

The single’s B-side, “On Broadway Tonight”, was the theme of a CBS-TV variety series (1964–1965) hosted by Rudy Vallee.

In 1966 Jan & Dean recorded “Let’s Hang On!” for their 1966 Filet Of Soul album.

In 1980, the song was covered by British doo-wop band Darts who took it to Number 11 in the UK singles chart. This was the band’s last UK top 40 single.[3]

In 1981, the song was revived by Barry Manilow who hit number six on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and number 32 on the Hot 100.[4] The single climbed to number 12 in the United Kingdom[5] and was certified silver, [1] while peaking at number 4 in Australia, number 16 in Germany and number 8 in Ireland.