Jersey Boys: The Music of Act I

Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical based on the turbulent rise to fame of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  The group  is one of the most famous rock and roll bands to emerge during the early 1960’s, they reached their pinnacle between Elvis Presley’s stint in the army and the arrival of The Beatles to America.

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Currently, Jersey Boys can be seen on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre. If you’re unable to see the Tony Award winning show on the Great White Way, there are several other places you can catch the exciting musical.

Jersey Boys Las Vegas, Jersey Boys Toronto and Jersey Boys Chicago are separate productions of the show each with their own cast. In addition, you can catch the national touring company, when it visits Bean Town, Jersey Boys Boston, in July and August of 2009.

As mentioned above, Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical, meaning it uses previously released songs as its musical score. The music in Jersey Boys is comprised of songs popular in the late 1950’s and several songs from the Four Seasons’ catalog.

Land of Punt takes an in-depth look at each song used in Jersey Boys in a three-part blog-series. For this entry, L.O.P. looks at songs from the first half of Act I.

Act I
* Ces Soirées-Là
* Silhouettes
* You’re the Apple of My Eye
* I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
* Earth Angel
* Sunday Kind of Love
* My Mother’s Eyes
* I Go Ape
* (Who Wears) Short Shorts
* I’m in the Mood for Love/Moody’s Mood for Love

“Ces soirées-là”

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“Ces soirées-là” is a cover of a song adapted from the Four Season’s “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night).”  It was released in 2000 by French-born rapper Yannick.  It’s one of the biggest selling French singles of all-time.

“Silhouettes”

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“Silhouettes” is a song made famous by The Diamonds in 1957.  Herman Hermits had a hit with the song in 1965.

“You’re the Apple of My Eye”

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“You’re the Apple of My Eye” was written by Otis Blackwell and initially recorded and released in 1956 by The Four Lovers, which included Four Seasons members Frankie Valli and Tommy DeVito.

The song was a replacement for “Don’t Be Cruel.”  Blackwell denied the band the chance to record the song because he wanted a bigger act (Elvis) to record the song.

“You’re the Apple of My Eye” was The Four Lovers only entry onto the Hot 100, the song reached #62.  However, the national attention they gained from the song earned them an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

“I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby”

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“I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby” was composed by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields.  The song was published in 1928.  The original title of the song was “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Lindy,”  a tribute to Charles Lindbergh.

The song has been recorded by numerous artists including Doris Day, Dean Martin, Louis Jordan, and Billie Holiday.

“Earth Angel”

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“Earth Angel” was originally released by The Penguins in 1954 and was one of the first rock and roll songs to hit the pop charts.  The song was originally recorded as the B-side to “Hey Señorita.”

“A Sunday Kind of Love”

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“A Sunday Kind of Love” was written by Barbara Belle, Anita Leonard, Stan Rhodes, and Louis Prima.  It was first published in 1946 and has been recorded by several artists including Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald and Reba McEntire.

“My Mother’s Eyes”

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“My Mother’s Eyes,” written by Gilbert and Baer,  is from the 1920 film “Lucky Boy.”   Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons recorded it in 1965, although the song was recorded several times before that.

“I Go Ape”

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“I Go Ape” was written by Neil Sedaka and released in 1959.

“Short Shorts”

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“Short Shorts” was a hit for The Royal Teens in 1958.  The song was written by Tom Austin, Bill Crandall, Billy Dalton, and future Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio.

Guitarist Al Kooper, who played with The Royal Teens on the road, would later form the rock band Blood Sweat and Tears.  Another member of the Royal Teens, Joe Francovilla (aka Joey Villa), would later form Joey and the Twisters.  That band had a few minor hits with “Do You Want to Dance” and “Bony Maronie.”

“I’m in the Mood for Love”

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“I’m in the Mood for Love” was composed by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields, the same team that wrote “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby.”  The song was published in 1935.

The song was featured in the movie “Every Night at Eight,” also from 1935.  However it was popularized by Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer who sang the song in a 1936 “Our Gang” short called the “The Punch Singer.”

It’s been recorded by hundreds of artists since.

“Moody’s Mood for Love”

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“Moody’s Mood for Love” is the name given to jazz saxophonist James Moody’s instrumental solo on the song “I’m in the Mood for Love.”

It was Eddie Jefferson who wrote lyrics to Moody’s improvisation.  The arrangement wasn’t called “Moody’s Mood for Love” until 1952, when King Pleasure released a very popular vocal version.

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