About The Song

Background

“Sherry,” a song by The Four Seasons, wasn’t just a catchy tune that dominated the airwaves in 1962 – it was a turning point for the group and a landmark in American pop music. Here’s a look at the song’s origins:

  • From Bowling Alleys to Stardom: The Four Seasons, originally called The Four Lovers, had been struggling for years. They faced rejections and name changes before landing a recording contract with Vee-Jay Records in 1962.
  • A Song Born in Haste: Bob Gaudio, a member of the group, wrote “Sherry” in a mere 15 minutes before a rehearsal. Originally titled “Jackie Baby” after Jackie Kennedy, the name later morphed into “Terri Baby” and finally “Sherry,” inspired by Gaudio’s friend’s daughter.
  • Falsetto Takes Center Stage: Frankie Valli’s distinctive high-pitched vocals, a hallmark of doo-wop music, were a gamble. Producer Bob Crewe, however, recognized their potential and encouraged Valli to use his full range.

Musical Style

“Sherry” is a quintessential example of doo-wop, a vocal-driven genre popular in the 1950s and early 1960s. Here are the key musical elements:

  • Catchy Melody and Harmony: The song features a simple yet infectiously memorable melody carried by Valli’s soaring vocals. Background harmonies by the other members of The Four Seasons add richness and texture.
  • Driving Rhythm Section: A strong, percussive beat with handclaps, pizzicato strings, and foot stomps propels the song forward and creates a danceable energy.
  • Limited Instrumentation: Doo-wop typically relies on minimal instrumentation. “Sherry” primarily uses keyboards, drums, and strings, keeping the focus on the vocals.
  • Influences: The song draws inspiration from groups like The Tokens and The Drifters, who were pioneers of the doo-wop sound. “Sherry” also hints at the burgeoning rock and roll influence with its driving rhythm and Valli’s powerful vocals.
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Lyrics

The lyrics in “Sherry” are simple and direct, focusing on a young man’s longing for his lost love, Sherry. Here’s a breakdown of the key themes:

  • Unrequited Love: The singer expresses his deep affection for Sherry, emphasizing his desire to be with her.
  • Yearning and Frustration: The lyrics convey a sense of frustration at Sherry’s indifference and a plea for her to reconsider.
  • Teenage Rebellion: The song subtly reflects the rebellious spirit of the early 1960s youth culture. The singer’s defiance (“I don’t need your kind”) hints at a rejection of societal expectations.
  • Emotional Vulnerability: Despite the bravado, the lyrics reveal the singer’s emotional vulnerability and pain at the loss of Sherry.

Cultural Impact

“Sherry” wasn’t just a hit song; it had a lasting impact on American pop culture:

  • Chart-Topping Success: Released in August 1962, “Sherry” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in just four weeks, staying there for five weeks. It cemented The Four Seasons’ place in the music industry and launched a string of subsequent hits.
  • The “Falsetto Explosion”: Frankie Valli’s unique vocals inspired a wave of young singers to experiment with falsetto, influencing artists like Smokey Robinson and The Bee Gees.
  • Doo-Wop Revival: “Sherry” helped reignite interest in doo-wop music, introducing the genre to a new generation of listeners.
  • Enduring Legacy: The song continues to be popular, featured in movies, television shows, and commercials. It remains a staple of classic rock radio and a beloved oldies tune.
  • Jersey Boys Connection: The success of “Sherry” and The Four Seasons’ story was immortalized in the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys,” further solidifying the song’s cultural significance.
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Conclusion

“Sherry” is more than just a catchy song. It stands as a testament to the power of simplicity, raw emotion, and innovative vocals. The song launched the careers of The Four Seasons, influenced a generation of musicians, and remains a timeless classic that continues to resonate with listeners today.

Video

Lyrics

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Sherry, Sherry babySherry, Sherry baby
Sherry baby (Sherry baby)Sherry, can you come out tonight (Come come, come out tonight)Sherry baby (Sherry baby)Sherry, can you come out tonight
to my twist party(Come out) Where the bright moon shines(Come out) We’ll dance the night awayI’m gonna make-a you mine
Sherry baby (Sherry baby)Sherry, can you come out tonight(Come come, come out tonight)(Come come, come out tonight)
You, ooh better ask your mama (Sherry baby)Tell her everything is all right
with your red dress on(Come out) Mmm, you look so fine(Come out) Move it nice and easyGirl, you’ll make me lose my mind
Sherry baby (Sherry baby)Sherry , can you come out tonight(Come come, come out tonight)(Come come, come out tonight)Sherry, Sherry baby(Come come, come out tonight)(Come come, come out tonight)

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