Very cool to have two songs in a row with girl’s names as their titles. I’m not sure why it is, but there are many many more songs with girls names than there are with guys names. Maybe it’s because more guys are doing the recordings.
By 1960, the Four Seasons were made up of Frankie Valli on lead vocals with Bob Gaudio on keyboards and tenor vocals, Tommy DeVito on lead guitar and baritone vocals and Nick Massi on bass guitar and bass vocals. It was the perfect combination and their harmony was wonderful to hear.
Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio joined together and created a legal entity they call “The Four Seasons Partnership”. It included just the two of them and it was agreed to with a handshake. They agreed to split everything they did which did not involve the other two guys 50/50. Based on a handshake, that partnership still exists to this day.
They didn’t strike it rich immediately. Like most groups, they still struggled. The guys released their first single as the Four Seasons in 1961. The record “Bermuda”/”Spanish Lace” was on the Gone label. Gone hadn’t been around too long, just since 1957, but they had contracts with Bill Haley and the Comets and Ral Donner, among others. The record did not chart and I have a feeling the group was feeling like they would never make it. They did not stay with Gone. Luckily, just about this time, they met Bob Crewe and he started producing their records.
Bob Gaudio had written a little ditty called “Sherry”. This would be the magic song. They recorded it and then Bob Crewe pedaled it around to different labels. Vee-Jay Records agreed to pick it up and it was released on the Vee-Jay label. The Four Seasons were the first white act to sign with Vee-Jay.
Bob later said that it took him about 15 minutes to write the song. He first called it “Jackie Baby”, named after the then first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy. While they were recording it, they changed the name to Teri Baby, and then it became “Sherry”, named after the daughter of Bob’s best friend, Jack Spector.
The guys sang the song on American bandstand and “Sherry” was an almost instant hit. It bulleted right to number one on the Billboard Top 40 charts. No one had heard falsetto used the way Frankie sang it, as the lead vocal. Over the course of the rock and roll era, not too many acts have had a number one as their first charted song, but the Four Seasons can claim that. In fact they are the first act in the rock era to have their first three songs each reach number one.
“Sherry” debuted on the pop charts on September 1, 1962 and spent five weeks at number one.