Tommy DeVito (musician)
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2010)|
June 19, 1928 |
Belleville, New Jersey
|Genres||Pop, Rock n roll|
|Associated acts||The Four Seasons|
DeVito's musical career began in the early 1950s when he formed the Variety Trio with his brother Nick DeVito and friend Nick Massi. 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/Hank 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. 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, and were mainly used as a backup band for producer Bob Crewe under contract. This is the lineup which adopted the name "The Four Seasons," named after a bowling alley in Union New Jersey, and began a string of hits with the 1962 #1 single "Sherry."
Nick Massi left the group in 1965, just before the release of "Lets Hang On," and famous arranger Charles Calello played bass until a new bass player could be found, and then Joe Long joined the band and participated on many chart topping hits for the remainder of the decade and into the mid-1970's. Tommy DeVito left the group in April 1970 before the album Half and Half was released. On the last song of this album, "Oh Happy Day, Any Day Now," Tommy can be heard playing a bit of a solo on his guitar as a fitting end to a great career with the Four Seasons. He sold Valli and Gaudio his rights to the Four Seasons' material, name, and touring act. 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 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. Also, some have noted that Joe Pesci's character in Goodfellas is named Tommy DeVito; however, although the name is the same, the character in that film is based on reputed mobster Tommy DeSimone.
- Grendysa, Peter, 1989, Bear Family Records release BCD 15424, liner notes
- Ruhlmann, William. "Biography: Tommy DeVito". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
- Whitburn, Joel. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1993, Billboard Publications 1994 ISBN 0-89820-105-5
- http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/jersey-boys/. Missing or empty