December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)
|"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"|
|Single by The Four Seasons|
|from the album Who Loves You|
3:20 (single version)
|Label||Warner / Curb|
|Songwriter(s)||Bob Gaudio, Judy Parker|
|The Four Seasons singles chronology|
"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" is a song 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 album, Who Loves You (1975).
The song features drummer Gerry Polci on lead vocals, with the 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 ball of thunder / Spinning my head around and taking my body under).
According to the co-writer and longtime group member Bob Gaudio, the song lyrics were originally set in 1933 with the title "December 5th, 1933," and celebrated the repeal of Prohibition, but the lyrics were changed at the urgings of Frankie Valli and lyricist Parker to reposition the song as 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 song is an up-tempo, piano-led dance song with a distinct and easily recognizable opening drum and then piano riff. It is written in 4/4 and in the key of D-flat major. The main riff contains a basic chord progression of C#-D#m-C#-F#-G#. Whilst the song’s Piano/Bass/Drums/Guitar/Keyboard arrangement is fairly typical of pop songs of the period, there is an unusual introduction of the bass guitar midway through a stanza in the 10th bar of the song’s first verse.
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 US 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 10 the same year, it topped the RPM National Top Singles Chart in Canada. It was the Four Seasons' final song, as a group, to reach number one. (Valli would have one final chart-topper as a solo act in 1978 with the theme song to the film Grease.)
Ben Liebrand remix
In 1988, Dutch DJ and producer Ben Liebrand remixed the song and re-released it as a single. In 1993, Curb Records, who released the original version of the song, picked up the 1988 remix and released it to the U.S. market. The 1993 re-release spent 27 weeks on the Hot 100 (matching the chart life of the original 1975 single). The peak position of the remix version was #14. Adding together the two 27-week chart runs for the 1975 original single and the remixed 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.
In 1976, Claude François released an album called Le vagabond that features the French version of the song known as "Cette année-là". More recently in 2016, M. Pokora released a tribute album for Claude François called My way which includes his own cover of "Cette année-là".
A music video was produced to accompany the original 1975 release. The video used the edited single version, which had a Phaser effect during Frankie's vocals, not heard on any other version of the song.
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Gold||10,000*|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||400,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|"Oh What a Night"|
|Single by Clock|
|from the album About Time 2|
|Clock singles chronology|
|Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)||49|
|Ireland (Irish Singles Chart)||13|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||12|
|United Kingdom (UK Singles Chart)||13|
|United Kingdom (UK Dance Singles Chart)||20|
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- "British single certifications – Frankie Valli/The Four Seasons – December 1963 (Oh What a Night)". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 12, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type December 1963 (Oh What a Night) in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "American single certifications – The Four Seasons – December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved July 12, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.
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