December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)

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"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"
December 1963 oh what a night.JPG
Single by The Four Seasons
from the album Who Loves You
B-side "Slip Away"
Released December 1975
Format 7"
Recorded November 1975
Genre Rock, disco
Length 3:36
3:20 (single version)
Label Warner / Curb
Songwriter(s) Bob Gaudio, Judy Parker
Producer(s) Bob Gaudio
The Four Seasons singles chronology
"Who Loves You"
(1975)
"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"
(1975)
"Silver Star"
(1976)

"Who Loves You"
(1975)
"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"
(1975)
"Silver Star"
(1976)

"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).

Song origins[edit]

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,[1] 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.[2]

Composition[edit]

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. 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.

1975 release[edit]

The single was released in December 1975 and hit number one on the UK Singles Chart on February 21, 1976.[3] 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.[4] Drummer Gerry Polci sang lead with bassist Don Ciccone and long-time frontman Frankie Valli singing the bridge and refrain. 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.)

1988 and 1993 remixes[edit]

In both 1988 and 1993, Dutch DJ and producer Ben Liebrand remixed the song and re-released it as a single.[5][6] 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 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.[7]

Music video[edit]

A music video was produced to accompany the original 1975 release.[8] 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.

Charts[edit]

Clock version[edit]

"Oh What a Night"
Oh What a Night.jpg
Single by Clock
from the album About Time 2
Released 1996
Format
Genre
Length 3:28
Label MCA Records
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • P. Pritchard
  • S. Allan
Clock singles chronology
"Axel F"
(1995)
"Oh What a Night"
(1996)
"U Sexy Thing"
(1997)

"Axel F"
(1995)
"Oh What a Night"
(1996)
"U Sexy Thing"
(1997)
Music video
"Oh What a Night" on YouTube

British pop/dance act Clock released a dance cover of "Oh What a Night" in 1996. It peaked at number 13 in Ireland, number 12 in Scotland and number 13 in the UK.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
position
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[16] 49
Ireland (Irish Singles Chart) 13
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[17] 12
United Kingdom (UK Singles Chart) 13
United Kingdom (UK Dance Singles Chart)[18] 20

References[edit]

  1. ^ "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  2. ^ "Gaudio put words in Valli's mouth". Sun-setinel.com. Retrieved 2014-12-16. 
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 323. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  5. ^ "Frankie Valli & Four Seasons, The - December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) (Ben Liebrand Re-mix) (CD) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  6. ^ "Four Seasons, The - December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  7. ^ Billboard.com review of album "Oh, What a Night"[dead link]
  8. ^ "The Four Seasons - December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  9. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 90. 
  11. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 6, 2017. 
  12. ^ http://nztop40.co.nz/chart/?chart=3865
  13. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1976". Longboredsurfer.com. Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  14. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Longboredsurfer.com. Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  15. ^ "End of Year Charts 1995". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  17. ^ "Scottish Singles Chart 01 September 1996 - 07 September 1996". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2018-01-29. 
  18. ^ "Official UK Dance Singles Chart (01 September 1996-07 September 1996)". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.