The Classic Albums Box

by: Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons

If Frankie Valli was the voice of the Four Seasons, and he certainly was, possessing an astounding high tenor voice that could ascend effortlessly into falsetto range at the beat of a drum, then Bob Gaudio was the group's heart and soul. A fine songwriter, arranger, and producer, Gaudio was the creative auteur behind the Seasons in much the same way that Brian Wilson was the creative and production force behind the Beach Boys. He knew the kind of talent he had in Valli, and wrote songs like "Sherry," "Dawn," "Rag Doll," and countless others to put that amazing, soaring voice in play, and he did it well, with the Four Seasons ending up the fourth most successful singles act in pop history, trailing only the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Ray Charles, placing nearly 50 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1995. This box set collects 18 of their albums released between 1962 and 1992 in facsimile gatefold editions, preserving most of the group's legacy and history (a few things are missing, including 1962's Christmas release The Four Seasons' Greetings; the 1968 compilation Edizione d'Oro, which featured stereo mixes and alternate takes; 1972's Chameleon, which was released by and is still controlled by Motown Records; and 1981's Reunited Live). That's a lot of Four Seasons, who were always mainly a singles act. The group's albums were packaged around the hits, and usually included covers and other filler to flesh things out, so a set like this is primarily focused on ardent fans and collectors, who may be disappointed to find no additional annotation other than the original album notes for each facsimile, and some songs listed are in fact not actually on the discs, although over the course of 18 albums, it's a minor problem, but still irritating. ~ Steve Leggett

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