Tommy DeVito (musician)

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Tommy DeVito (born June 19, 1928 in Belleville, New Jersey)[1] is an American musician and singer, best known as a founding member and the lead guitarist of the rock band The Four Seasons.[2]

DeVito's musical career began in the early 1950s when he formed the Variety Trio with his brother Nick DeVito and friend Hank Majewski. This core group performed under various names and changing lineups, including the addition in 1954 of singer Francis Castelluccio (later known as Frankie Valli). By 1956 the quartet of DeVito/Devito/Majewski/Valli had renamed themselves the Four Lovers. Tommy and Frankie remained the only consistent members of the Four Lovers, as the group released seven singles and one album under the Four Lovers name. Their 1956 debut single, Otis Blackwell's "You're the Apple of My Eye", achieved enough national sales to appear as a minor hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[3] The single landed Tommy his first national television appearance, when the Four Lovers appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956.

While his brother Nick left the group, Tommy DeVito continued his musical pursuits, reforming and realigning the group. By 1960 The Four Lovers consisted of DeVito and Valli along with Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi. This is the lineup which adopted the name "The Four Seasons" and began a string of hits with the 1962 #1 single "Sherry."

DeVito left the group in April 1970 before the album Half and Half was released. He sold Valli and Gaudio his rights to the Four Seasons' material, name, and touring act (Massi had left the group in 1965).

By the time he retired from the Four Seasons, DeVito's decision to form a trio to play nightclubs and bowling alleys in 1950s New Jersey had led to international fame, repeated appearances on the Billboard singles and album charts and four #1 hit singles.

DeVito, along with fellow original Four Seasons Valli, Massi and Gaudio, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.

DeVito rejoined Valli and Gaudio (Massi had died in 2000) on stage at the 2005 Broadway opening of the documentary-style musical Jersey Boys, a Tony Award winning hit chronicling the story of the group's early days.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grendysa, Peter, 1989, Bear Family Records release BCD 15424, liner notes
  2. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Biography: Tommy DeVito". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1993, Billboard Publications 1994 ISBN 0-89820-105-5

External links[edit]

  • Jersey Boys is the Broadway musical story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.