Like I mentioned at the end of yesterday's post, I did end up loving Jersey Boys. It pretty much told the story of how the group got together out of a life of crime. The founder of the group would run small scams, rob jewelry stores and the like while trying to keep his band afloat. He also took young Frankie Valli under his wing and tried to keep him out of trouble while trying to keep the group together over punctuated jail sentences.
I'm not going to give a huge synopsis, but I guess I learned a lot about the group and what they really went through. I always assumed that these preppy white boy groups of that time were just slapped together by record labels and never really struggled like the black groups (who always think were immensely more talented). I learned that there was indeed struggle for these guys - struggle to overcome the draw to street crime, struggle to survive marriages that couldn't stand after all the success, struggle to pay back loans. The founder of the group, Tommy DeVito, got into immense debt with the mob to the tune of $160,000 - all unbeknownst to the band. In addition to that, he let a tax debt of over half a million dollars pile up before the mob called him on it. Frankie Valli stood up for Tommy and vowed to pay off that debt if it took him all his career.
Tommy and the bassist quit the group and Frankie and Bobby (the young songwriting talent) stayed together to create Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Much of their early work was done to pay off the debt.
I have to mention this guy Bobby. He wrote the "We Wear Short Shorts" song when he was 15, when it became a #2 hit. Bobby was introduced to The Four Seasons not long after, when they were just giving up all hope. The guy who introduced them? Joe Pesci.
The guy who played young Joe Pesci was awesome. He was a pipsqueak who got pushed around by Tommy, and in the end, Tommy ended up working for him. If you ever see the Lethal Weapon movies, little Joe Pesci was just as fast-talking and bullied as he was in this show.
And Bobby? Outstanding. If I would be a character in a story like this, I would want to be Bobby - the guy who just wants to do good work and who really believes in himself. No ego, just ethic. He wrote the "You're Just to Good to be True" for Frankie, and kept pushing the stations to play it even though they wrote it off as too artsy and experimental. When it finally busted through the crap, it became one of Frankie Valli's signature songs. What a talent!
Hey - It was good enough for Lauryn Hill to cover.
All right, I guess I've synopsized a bit. It was a pretty good show. The vocal talent was outstanding. The history was inspiring. And it had some good drama.
Now I have to download some of these songs!
So there's that,