“Rag Doll” was the fourth number one song from the Four Seasons. It had been 16 months since they had last been on top. “Rag Doll” was written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, Gaudio being the keyboardist and backing vocalist for the Four Seasons. The song was inspired by an incident in the life of Gaudio. He was sitting at a light when a little street girl, about five years old, came up to the car and asked for money. The girls in the neighborhood were poor and many of them would stand at street corners that had traffic lights and when the car would stop for a red light, they’d run out, wash the windshield and then ask for money. This little girl was too short to reach his windshield, so she wiped off his rear view mirror and then asked him for money. He was so touched by the girl that he gave her $20 and went on his way, leaving a surprised little girl behind. Some sources say he gave her $5 or $10, but in any case, it was way more than she was used to getting and she was very happy.l
He could not stop thinking about the girl and the term “rag doll” came to mind, so he went to the studio and wrote the song “Rag Doll” for her. This song is kind of the opposite of “Dawn,” an earlier song for the Four Seasons. Here we have a well-to-do guy in love with a poor girl. But his parents don’t approve. It took them a while to write “Rag Doll.” Bob Gaudio had a lot of trouble getting it right, so he called in Bob Crewe to help him. They finally solved it and we have now a great song.
Billy Joel said that he wrote “Uptown Girl” (a number 3 hit in 1983) as a “flip side” to “Rag Doll”. “Rag Doll” is the poor girl, whereas Joel’s girl is high society.
The Four Seasons had one more number one song, but it wouldn’t come until 1976, twelve years later. So, still around, we’ll get there eventually.
“Rag Doll” debuted on the Hot 100 at number 53 on June 20, 1964. It took four weeks to get to number one where it stayed for two weeks. It was kicked out of the top spot by the icon “A Hard Day’s Night.” See next article….