Retro Dee is a regular contributor to The Grooveyard’s website, writing about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s. Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every Wednesday.
Hi everyone welcome to musical misconceptions. In this edition, we’ll be looking at two very different songs with a very similar name and we’ll revisit another one of my “dumb brunette” moments.
Many years ago when the cousins and I were still kids, the family had a big anniversary party for our Grandparents. And one of the songs played at the party was “December 1963” aka “Oh, What A Night” by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. I remember liking it a lot because it had that oldies sound.
Fast forward to my current obsession with the 1950’s era. I was going through the list of songs on The Grooveyard Great 88 poll when I saw a song by The Dells called “Oh What A Night” from 1959. Obviously, it was a different song from the one my cousins and I liked, and when I heard The Dells song, I realized how very different it actually is.
But what I didn’t understand, is why the one by The Four Seasons wasn’t on The Grooveyard survey too. According to what I believed, it should be in the 60’s section. (Yeah, that’s right. I thought it was an early 1960’s song!)
Well, it should be obvious to anyone who isn’t a complete idiot, that The Four Seasons’ “Oh What A Night” probably isn’t an early 60’s song. The lyrics say: “Back in December, 1963…” BACK in 1963. BACK. So how the (insert whatever word you chose) could it possibly be a song from the early 1960’s? I terrify myself sometimes! Really, I do!
So finally, I figured out that The Four Seasons made that song in 1975, which -if I can even get the math right- was 12 years after the year 1963, thus making it not an “oldie”, but rather, just another ’70’s song… Ya know, like “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by The Everly Brothers. (that was a joke referring to when I used to think that song was also from the 70’s. Hey, I told you I was dumb… at least when it comes to music.)
Alright, so here are the songs:
“December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)” (1975)
by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
We’ll start with The Four Seasons song because it’s arguably the more famous of the two, popping up at weddings and grandparents’ anniversary parties everywhere. Now that I listen to it again, I don’t like it as much as I thought. It’s kind of definitive 70’s, and as you might notice, not my favorite era. He didn’t even know her name? Yeah, I think we’ve passed the Sexual Revolution and haven’t looked back at this point. They wouldn’t even allow a song like this to hit the airwaves in the early 60’s. Yikes.
But hey, man, I’m no prude. I’m just saying I’m glad I didn’t know all the words when I used to like this song because I’d have been better off sticking to listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Right then. Next up is the song with practically the same name.
“Oh, What A Night” (1959) by The Dells
This song is a typical, romantic, slow dance song from the 1950’s. While not my absolute favorite, I do respect it for that. I mean, at least he knew her name. Probably.
So that’s it for this installment of Musical Misconceptions. Thanks for reading. No, there’s no point, other than the two songs have the same name. That’s it. If you’re looking for useful information, watch a documentary or something. But I hope you enjoyed this post!
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