When someone says ‘Jersey Boys,’ only one group comes to mind: The Four Seasons. The Four Seasons began as an American rock band in 1960. They formed in Newark with four members: Frankie Valli from Newark (who also starred in The Sopranos), Bob Gaudio from Bergenfield, Tommy DeVito from Belleville, and Nick Massi from Newark. Initially referring to themselves as The Four Lovers, the quartet changed their name after a failed audition.
This audition was for the chance to perform at the cocktail lounge of a bowling alley in Union Township — but they were unfortunately rejected. Maybe the change of name was what they needed to get them going (and funny enough, they changed their name to the name of the bowling alley), because from here, things began to look bright for the group. In 1962, they released their first album featuring the single, “Sherry.” This became their first number-one hit and their first chart hit. Aside from playing at the Waldorf Astoria, the group performed at many local high schools, colleges, malls, and hospitals throughout the course of their career. It’s no surprise that a group that prompted the hit musical called ‘Jersey Boys’ would have some serious New Jersey roots — so we’ve rounded up places throughout North Jersey that have a link to The Four Seasons. Read on to see noteworthy North Jersey spots where the Jersey Boys (a.k.a The Four Seasons) have connections.
The Four Seasons’ Noteworthy North Jersey Spots
Four Seasons Bowling Alley | Union
The Four Lovers (who would later become — yes, you guessed it — The Four Seasons) auditioned at a Union bowling alley and were ultimately rejected. The group then decided to change their name to match the name of the bowling alley, and there’s even speculation that they did this so that the bowling alley would always feel the sting of having missed out when the group made it big. We love a good underdog story.
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Bergen Town Center (Bergen Mall) | Paramus
In April of 1965, the group performed at Bergen Mall in Paramus with a roaring and enthusiastic crowd. You might better know this spot today as the Bergen Town Center.
Bloomfield High School | Bloomfield
In 1966, the Junior Women’s Club of Bloomfield organized a concert to benefit the Essex Child Development Center Garden School in neighboring Belleville. On November 4th, The Four Seasons performed for the club at Bloomfield High School.
Seton Hall University | South Orange
In January 1967, the Four Seasons along with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Jerry Vale performed at Seton Hall University. The group played at Seton Hall again that year in December.
William Paterson University | Wayne
In March 1968, the group performed at Paterson State College, now William Paterson University. According to the college, it was supposed to be a sell-out. After this performance, they also were scheduled to play at Farleigh Dickinson University but it’s uncertain if a contract was ever settled. In February 1988, the group went back and performed here at William Paterson University again.
Stephen Crane Plaza + Franklin Avenue | Newark
(Photo credit: Joanne Timeo-Sheehan)
In April 2023, the corner of Stephen Crane Plaza and Franklin Avenue in Newark was renamed Frankie Valli Way, honoring the Newark native who grew up in the Stephen Crane Village housing project.
Saddle Brook Hospital | Saddle Brook
The Four Seasons have also been known to do charitable performances to give back to the community. In March of 1970, the group visited patients at the Saddle Brook Hospital (which later became Kessler Rehab), getting to know them and cheering them up. A few days later, they also held a benefit performance for these patients at the Fox Theatre in Hackensack. In 1991, the group performed another charity concert for this same hospital, which had become known as Kennedy Memorial Hospital (before getting acquired by Kessler). Along with comedian Stewie Stone, they performed at the Bergen County Tech School in Hackensack.
Caldwell University | Caldwell
In 1984, the group played at Caldwell College, which is now known as Caldwell University.
Mayo Performing Arts Center | Morristown
In fall 2004, the band performed at Morristown’s Community Theatre. This theater has since undergone a name change and now goes by MPAC, or Mayo Performing Arts Center.
NJPAC | Newark
In October 2006, the group performed at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in a concert to benefit the annual Boys and Girls Club’s Fund-A-Dream.
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In 2008, Franki Valli and The Four Seasons launched their memory tour called the “Neighborhood Bus Tour,” in which they performed in Union, Montclair, Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, Bergenfield, and several other locations. In 2015, the group performed at Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood.
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Where Are They Now
Frankie Valli, who is now 88 years old, is remarkably still playing music and even touring under the group name, “Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.” If you are looking to experience Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, check out the tour dates here.
Unfortunately, Frankie is the last member of the original group who is on this tour. Nick Massi, who had left the band in 1965, passed away over 20 years ago. He was replaced by bassist Joe Long, who also passed away recently due to Covid — as did Tommy DeVito in 2020. Bob Gaudio is still alive, but he doesn’t perform live anymore.