December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2009)|
|"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"|
|Single by The Four Seasons|
|from the album Who Loves You|
3:20 (single version)
|Label||Warner / Curb|
|Writer(s)||Bob Gaudio, Judy Parker|
|The Four Seasons singles chronology|
"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" is a hit single by the Four Seasons, written by original Four Seasons keyboard player Bob Gaudio and his future wife Judy Parker, produced by Gaudio, and included on the group's 1975 album, Who Loves You.
The song features drummer Gerry Polci on lead vocals, with usual lead Frankie Valli singing the bridge sections and backing vocals and bass player Don Ciccone (former lead singer of The Critters) singing the falsetto part (And I felt a rush like a rolling bolt of thunder / Spinning my head around and taking my body under).
The song was originally about the repeal of Prohibition with the title of "December 5th, 1933," but the lyrics were changed at the urgings of Frankie Valli and lyricist Parker. The song became a nostalgic remembrance of a young man's first affair with a woman, and, more specifically, Gaudio's courtship with his wife, Judy Parker .
The single was released in December 1975 and hit number one on the UK Singles Chart on February 21, 1976. It repeated the feat on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on March 13, 1976, remaining in the top spot for three weeks and one week on Cash Box. Billboard ranked it as the No. 4 song for 1976. On April 10th of the same year, it topped the RPM National Top Singles Chart in Canada. Drummer Gerry Polci sang lead with bassist Don Ciccone and long-time frontman Frankie Valli singing the bridge and refrain.
1988 and 1993 remixes
In both 1988 and 1993, the song was remixed by Dutch deejay and producer Ben Liebrand and rereleased as a single. The 1993 rerelease spent 27 weeks on the Hot 100 (matching the chart life of the original 1975 single). The peak position of the 1993 remix version was #14. Adding together the two 27-week chart runs for the 1975 original single and the 1993 remix version (for a combined total of 54 weeks, two more weeks than a full year) gave the song the longest tenure ever on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart up to that time. The tenure has since been surpassed many times.
A music video was produced to accompany the original 1975 release.
|UK Singles Chart||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles Chart||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||14|
End of year charts
|End of year chart (1976)||Position|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||4|
|End of year chart (1994)||Position|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||89|
- French singer Claude François covered the song on his album Le Vagabond in 1975; his version was titled "Cette année-là" ("That Year"). Incorporating new lyrics reminiscing François' own beginnings in show business in 1962, the song became a hit in Europe.
- Another French version, titled "Ces soirées-là" ("Those Nights"), was produced by Yannick in 2000. It was based on Claude François' song. It peaked at #1 in France and Belgium. The lyrics recount the fun had at a certain night club. This rap is featured at the beginning of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys.
- Slovene singer Tomaž Domicelj covered the song on his album Na planini je živel; his version was titled "Jamajka" ("Jamaica"). Whether it is a cover of the original song or Claude François' is unclear.
- Singers of musical Belles belles belles covered the Claude François' song in 2003.
- The Fatback Band recorded a cover of the song for the closing track of their 1976 LP "Night Fever".
- Change recorded a cover of the on their third album Sharing Your Love (1982) and released it as a single.
- In 1996, British dance duo Clock took it to #13 in the UK chart.
- Singer Vitamin C released her own version of the song in the late-1990s, which heavily sampled instrumentation and vocals—including those of Valli—from the original song, and removed most of the original lyrics. This version was used as a brand image theme by the American television network The WB in image spots, promos, and interstitials during the 2000-01 television season.
- Wyclef Jean has done a hip-hop version of this song, titled "What a Night", about his journey as a hip-hop artist, released on the album Masquerade.
- In 2001, Mr. Vegas (together with singer Jackie) did a cover of this song which was featured on his album Damn Right.
- In 1998, Thomas Bangalter of house music duo Daft Punk fame sampled the bridge from the Claude François version of the song in his track "Colossus".
- In 2006 Cam'ron sampled the song on a track called "Oh What A Night"... The full version was finally released in 2007 but never made a release album due to sample clearance issues.
- In 2010, John Barrowman did a cover of this song which was featured on his album John Barrowman
- In 2011, Football song parodist James Daly wrote a reworded version of this in reaction to Crystal Palace's 3-1 victory over fierce rivals Brighton and Hove Albion
- In 2012, Ball Park Music covered the song during their set at Splendour in the Grass.
- The song was parodied in the British TV advert for Vitalite from 1995 to 2001.
- The song was used in promos for The WB from the 2000-01 season.
- The members of the jam band Phish have described this Four Seasons hit as the musical inspiration for their song "Weekapaug Groove", with which it shares a distinctive guitar and vocal riff.
- US Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney mentioned this song among his top 10 songs of all time in March 2012.
- The song was played at John Watson and Mary Morstan's wedding reception in the BBC drama Sherlock (second episode, third season) in 2014.
- "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
- "Gaudio put words in Valli's mouth". sun-setinel.com. Retrieved 2014-12-16.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 323. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1976
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
- "Frankie Valli & Four Seasons, The - December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) (Ben Liebrand Re-mix) (CD) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
- "Four Seasons, The - December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
- Billboard.com review of album "Oh, What a Night"[dead link]
- "The Four Seasons - December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
- "Billboard Top 100 - 1976". Retrieved 2010-09-11.
- "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- "François". Rfimusique.com. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
- "Mitt Romney names the greatest tunes of all time". Politico. March 2012.
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