Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Four Seasons hit #1 with “Big Girls Don’t Cry”

First posted 3/12/2021.

Big Girls Don’t Cry

The Four Seasons

Writer(s): Bob Gaudio, Bob Crewe (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 20, 1962

Peak: 15 US, 14 CN, 16 HR, 13 UK, 12 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 15.26 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Five weeks after the Four Seasons got their first #1 with “Sherry” they were back on top again with “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” The two songs “were recorded at the same session and it was a toss-up as to which would be released first. As it turned out, it didn’t matter. They both established Frankie Valli’s falsetto voice and the danceable rhythms of the group as the definitive East Coast sound, with its roots in doo-wop and R&B music of the fifties.” BR1

The two songs – both of which spent five weeks at #1 – were very similar. The group’s chief songwriter Bob Gaudio said, “I didn’t feel it was the freshest follow-up…After the success of ‘Sherry,’ we had to follow it up with something vaguely similar. The harmonies were structured differently, a little bigger.” BR1 The group would reach #1 again in early 1963 with “Walk Like a Man,” making them the first group in history to have three consecutive non-holiday #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Big Girls Don’t Cry” was inspired by a line in the 1955 Western Tennessee’s Partner, which starred Ronald Reagan with John Payne and Rhonda Fleming. In one scene, Payne slaps Fleming and asks her what she thinks about that. She responds, “Big girls don’t cry.” According to the liner notes in Time-Life Records’ Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Gaudio was dozing off during the movie, but heard the slap. He wrote the line on a scrap of paper and wrote the song the next morning. WK However, another account attributes the story to Bob Crewe, the Four Tops’ producer and the song’s other writer. SF

While not featured on the blockbuster soundtrack to the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, this song played in the opening scene of the movie. It also appeared in the movies The Main Event (1979) and Mermaids (1990). SF

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Four Seasons
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 120.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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