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Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons to perform with the Pacific Symphony

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons to perform with the Pacific Symphony
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame pop singer Frankie Valli performs in 2012 with The Four Seasons during opening night of their Broadway debut at the Broadway Theatre in New York. (Photo by Chad Batka)

For the second week in a row, Pacific Amphitheater plays host to, and Pacific Symphony plays backup for, music of a legendary rock group.

It won’t be the cast from some production of “Jersey Boys” up there (they were just in Costa Mesa in January). That will be the group on which the 2005 jukebox musical is based: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

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The group will perform “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “December ’63 (Oh, What a Night),” “Walk Like a Man” and “Rag Doll” and other hits.

Just what makes the Grammy-nominated music of Valli and the Four Seasons, who are in the Rock & Roll and Vocal Group halls of fame, so durable?

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It’s the sound.

“Our early sound was defined by our use of falsetto,” said Valli, the only actively touring charter member left of the group originally called the Variatones, then the Four Lovers, before eventually settling on the Four Seasons Partnership (its legal name) in 1960. “Lots of groups had used falsetto before, but nobody had used it as the lead. So that was our hook.

“But the Four Seasons’ sound is a lot more than just my voice. We were also some of the first people overdubbing and doubling tracks ... as well as [incorporating] foot stomps and hand claps.”

It all starts, he explained, with strong songwriting.

“My business partner of over 50 years now, Bob Gaudio, and (the late) Bob Crewe, who were just amazing in the recording studio, together wrote all of the Four Seasons’ songs, and as a result, some of the best songs in pop music that resonate to this day.”

After nearly 60 years, and despite changing musical tastes, fans still clamor for the sound.

“It’s multi-generational,” Valli, 84, said, “and it’s so rewarding for me to see, as a performer, all ages enjoying my show. And we have pretty much stayed true to the formula that has resulted in 175 million records sold [worldwide].”

Although not a “schooled singer,” Valli — born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio, the eldest of three sons to an Italian family in New Jersey — was a good “student,” influenced by two greats in particular.

“I love Sinatra,” he said, claiming him to be his biggest musical influence. “My mom took me to see him as a kid. I will never forget how exciting that was. And I love jazz. I love Stan Kenton.”

Valli has had a solo career (“My Eyes Adored You”) and appeared on screens small (“The Sopranos”) and large (“And So It Goes”).

But he is never far, and never for too long, from his Four Seasons, which will accompany him to England later this year.

“The bulk of the hits in my life are Four Seasons,” he said. “That is part of who I am and why it still works today.”

Valli points to “Jersey Boys” as being a tremendous boon for his group.

“Oh, it definitely revived [general fan interest],” he said of the show, which finished as Broadway’s 12th-longest-run musical at 4,642 performances and was seen by more than 25 million worldwide.

The show won the Tony Award for best musical in 2006 and a Grammy for best musical show album in 2007. Director Clint Eastwood made a film version in 2014.

“We always enjoyed a steady fan base,” he continued, “but obviously, a show that has been seen now worldwide and a film really expanded our fan base.”

And the musical’s backstories?

“They are true,” he said. “I have lived a very exciting life.”

If You Go

What: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons with the Pacific Symphony; Robby Robinson, conductor.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday.

Where: Pacific Amphitheater, OC Fair & Event Center, 100 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa.

Cost: Tickets start at $45.

Information: (714) 755-5799 and pacificsymphony.org

Michael Rydzynski is a contributor to Times Community News.

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