Music Review: Lay Your Hands On Me Frankie Valli, Or New Jersey Boys

September 22, 2014


In the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy De Vito and Nick Massi were skipping in and out of jail, working their way up from third-rate hoods to two-bit musicians and then to first-class, world-beating pop stars.

In the late Eighties, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Tico Torres, David Bryan and Alec John Such were somehow overcoming the handicap of some remarkably silly hair to produce an album – snipped down from a sprawling double-disc affair to just a dozen tunes that would force millions of young men to buy stone-washed jeans with designer rips in them.

The Four Seasons went on to sell squillions of albums and then collapse under the weight of their own success, vanishing into relative obscurity until someone noticed that their story was a ready-made stage musical for which the choreography had already been set out and which had some pretty solid ditties to push the story along.

Bon Jovi went on to take a break, then release some other successful albums, then take another break, then release some other successful albums, then go and get their hair (and possibly their faces) styled. It’s a story that has a pathos all its own.

Jersey Boys, the musical, has become one of those stage productions that moves in and stays until the principal cast members get too old to hit the high notes – and there are many – and they have to bring back a revival of My Fair Lady to fill the theatre for a while. It’s now a film, too, starring John Lloyd Young, who played Frankie Valli on stage, in that same role under the direction of Clint Eastwood (who keeps the story pretty much the same, except that the guns have larger calibres and Christopher Walken gets to dance any way he damn well wants to). The soundtrack to the film features 25 songs.

New Jersey, the Bon Jovi album that was chiselled down to a couple of handfuls of songs is back (for the 26-year annivers… wait: 26? Is that a big deal now?), featuring no less than 28 compositions. Some of them are repeats – the final studio versions that provided the mood music for a million perms mirrored by the demos recorded for the album that was originally going to be called, oh yes, Sons Of Beaches.

Jersey boys all, the Four Seasons and Bon Jovi and their more or less simultaneous bringing back into the limelight cultural phenomena that each epitomised the eras in which they were created prove one undeniable, left-field and less than snappily expressed truth.

This is it: where you come from is not important (as long as it’s New Jersey), because if you can find a group of like-minded and similarly talented individuals and stay out of jail and the hairdresser for long enough, you can make music that will change the world and sell in numbers that has accountants watching zeroes falling like snowflakes in a blizzard.


Jersey Boys – Music From The Motion Picture And Broadway Musical

Prelude                                                                                            6.00

December 1963 (Oh What A Night)                                                7.75

My Mother’s Eyes                                                                            6.00

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love                                                6.00

A Sunday Kind Of Love                                                                   6.25

Moody’s Mood For Love                                                                6.00

Cry For Me                                                                                     7.00

Sherry                                                                                             7.25

Big Girls Don’t Cry                                                                          7.25

Walk Like A Man                                                                            7.50

My Boyfriend’s Back                                                                      6.50

My Eyes Adored You                                                                     7.75

Dawn ( Go Away)                                                                           6.00

Big Man In Town                                                                           6.50

Beggin’                                                                                          7.25

Medley: Stay                                                                                 7.50

Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got)

Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me)

Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)

C’Mon Marianne                                                                          6.00

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You                                                         7.00

Working My Way Back To You                                                     7.50

Fallen Angel                                                                                  5.75

Who Loves You                                                                            7.50

Closing Credits: Sherry

December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)                                            7.75

Sherry                                                                                            7.25

Dawn (Go Away)                                                                           6.50

Rag Doll                                                                                        6.00


New Jersey: Original Album

Lay Your Hands On Me                                                                6.50

Bad Medicine                                                                               7.50

Born To Be My Baby                                                                    7.00

Living In Sin                                                                                  6.50

Blood On Blood                                                                           6.00

Homebound Train                                                                        6.00

Wild Is The Wind                                                                          5.75

Ride Cowboy Ride                                                                        5.00

Stick To Your Guns                                                                       5.75

I’ll Be There For You                                                                     7.00

99 In The Shade                                                                           6.00

Love For Sale                                                                                7.00

The Boys Are Back In Town                                                          6.50

Love Is War                                                                                   6.00

Born To Be My Baby (Acoustic Version)                                       6.50


New Jersey: The Sons Of Beaches Demos

Homebound Train                                                                        6.00

Judgment Day                                                                              5.50

Full Moon High                                                                            5.50

Growin’ Up The Hard Way                                                           5.75

Let’s Make It Baby                                                                        5.00

Love Hurts                                                                                    5.75

Backdoor To Heaven                                                                   6.00

Now And Forever                                                                         5.50

Wild Is The Wind                                                                         6.00

Stick To Your Guns                                                                      6.25

House Of Fire                                                                               6.00

Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?                               5.50

Diamond Ring                                                                              5.50

Rating: 6.396