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Frankie Valli recalls first No. 1 solo hit

of the Oakland Press

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Thirty-five years ago, Frankie Valli notched his first No. 1 hit as a solo artist -- "My Eyes Adored You." It was also the first single for the fledgling Private Stock Records, which released it under Valli's name only even though it was recorded by his group, the Four Seasons.

And, Valli says, it could have been a hit for Motown.

"Originally it was recorded for Motown," says Valli, 76, and it was Motown's refusal to release it (the Four Seasons were signed to the subsidiary MoWest at the time) that led to Valli and company's departure from the label, which sold the song back to the group for $4,000.

"I can't put the blame on Berry Gordy," Valli says now. "It was Berry Gordy and (Motown executive) Suzanne DePasse who really believed in us, and I'm not sure that the promotional segment of their company really understand where we were. We were a white group on a totally black label. They also had Bobby Darin without any great success.

"The people that are in the company, going all the way from those who go into the studio with you to those who promote the record, have to believe in the material that you're doing, and the artist. If you don't have that, and we didn't (at Motown), there's no point."

But Valli says Gordy did do his due diligence before letting the Four Seasons call it a day at Motown.

"I know that before he allowed us to buy the track back he said, 'Well, let me go over it with my people,' " recalls Valli, who's currently working on a Frank Sinatra tribute album with his current incarnation of the Four Seasons. "And they didn't hear it. If you don't hear it, you shouldn't be doing it, so they let us buy it back and it worked out well for everybody, y'know?"

Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $25-$55. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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