The man with the legendary falsetto voice is 88 years old
Frankie Vallie, who has been the frontman of The Four Seasons for a staggering 62 years, is undoubtedly a music icon. But even the permanently revered have their time to ride off into the sunset with their dignity intact.
Which is why it was shocking to me to stumble upon a viral TikTok of the “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” hitmaker barely moving his lips.
The video was posted by user @craigkd. The account follows the adventures of Craig Cady, a touring singer with the current iteration of the Four Seasons. In the clip, Valli can be seen barely attempting to move his lips along to “Grease,” the theme song from the hit movie musical starring John Travolta.
Many of the thousands of comments on the video range from cruel jokes about Valli’s performance being akin to Chuck E. Cheese robotics, to pleas for him to retire from the road. Additionally, those who chimed in noticed that Valli’s voice sounds too youthful and observed that the vocal track was likely auto-tuned. The video on TikTok has accumulated almost 90,000 likes since being posted last week.
A little digging reveals that Valli has been accused of lip-syncing fan favorites in concerts for several years. Videos on YouTube allege the fakery goes back to 2006.
It is part of my job here at TMU to travel the country and see shows. As impolite as it is to say aloud, it is true that the older and more legendary the artist, the more important it is for me to catch them before they retire or something else happens to them. The more iconic the artist and rare it is for them to tour, the more I am willing to travel, stay in a hotel, and go see them live.
It pains me to write this. But I chose to do so because I can Imagine what fans feel when they shell out hard earned money for tickets, travel, food, etc. to see Frankie Valli. Then the show starts and they are stuck with an auto-tuned track and a man who looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. That is not the live experience.
The true live experience is when an artist has their own voice coming through the speakers in real time. An example: Johnny Lee, suffering the effects of Parkinson’s, is still singing live, though his tone is not what it used to be. If Frankie Valli cannot deliver a truly live performance — no matter the state of his natural voice — he should retire and enjoy the rest of his Seasons in leisure.