Four Seasons’ lead singer, Newark native and New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee Frankie Valli was officially honored in his hometown yesterday with a street dedication.
Born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio in Newark in 1934, Frankie Valli was raised around the corner from where the dedication took place on North Pine Lane in the Stephen Crane Housing Complex.
“My family and I moved to Stephen Crane Village, Newark’s first low-income housing project, when I was six. Each unit was self-contained, like a garden apartment, and had two bedrooms and a bathroom, with real hardwood floors, steam heat, and hot and cold running water. I remember at the time thinking we were rich and couldn’t believe we got to live there. To come back to the place where I grew up and see it renamed after me is one of the biggest honors of my life and I thank all those who made it possible, especially the City of Newark and Mayor Ras Baraka. I always say, ‘You can take the guy out of the neighborhood, but you can’t take the neighborhood out of the guy,’ and I always take Newark with me no matter where I’ve traveled to,” said Frankie Valli.
“We love you, Frankie; Newark loves you; the world loves you! Thank you for what you have done for all of us,” said Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., Essex County Executive.
“As an Italian American growing up in Newark, I don’t think there is anyone more special, more that we appreciated, and idolized than Frankie Valli. Frankie, you were the soundtrack that we all lived our lives by,” said Philip B Alagia, Essex County Chief of Staff.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this exciting and special day for New Jersey’s original Jersey Boy,” said Chairman of the Hall of Fame Jon F. Hanson. “Frankie Valli was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his remarkable career, and now it’s only fitting his hometown will recognize him as well.”
Frankie Valli has one of the most recognizable and distinctive singing voices in music and has sold 175 million records. As the lead singer of Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons, Valli had a long string of hits beginning with “Sherry” in 1962 and concluding with the blockbuster hit “December 1963 (Oh What a Night).” The group has released a remarkable 40 Top 40 hits, 19 in the Top 10, and eight No. 1’s. In 2005, the hit musical Jersey Boys opened on Broadway, featuring many of the hit songs as it tells the story of each of the members of the Four Seasons.
Valli has also toured continuously since 1962, and around 200 artists have done cover versions of the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” including Lauryn Hill’s hit hip-song song. Most recently, Italian rock band Måneskin entered the Top 40 with their cover of “Beggin.” Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are currently on tour this year, performing 23 shows across America, including stops in Newark on April 28 and Red Bank on June 1.
Frankie is in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and was honored in 2008 with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Italian American Foundation. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2010.
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