Single Stories: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, “December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)”

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Single Stories: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, “December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)”

41 years ago today, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons found themselves atop the UK Singles chart for the one and only time in their career (to date), which makes this a perfect day to do a Singles Story about the track in question.

When “December 1963” – which, as we all know, features the parenthetical exclamation “Oh, What a Night” – was first composed by Bob Gaudio and Judy Parker, it was actually set 30 years earlier. In fact, the date was even more specific in the song’s original incarnation: it was called “December 5th, 1933,” and it was intended by Gaudio as a celebration of the repeal of Prohibition. Valli, however, joined forces with Parker to convince Gaudio that they should instead turn the song into a reflection on Gaudio’s courtship with his wife.

Oh, and did we mention that Gaudio’s wife was Judy Parker? There’s a twist for you!

After “December, 1963” was released in December 1975, not only did it top the UK Singles chart, but it repeated the feat on Billboard’s Hot 100 for three weeks. Indeed, the song ultimately went on to be declared the #4 song of 1976, so it definitely remained a staple on the airwaves for quite some time…and that’s a major understatement, frankly.

If you don’t know what we’re referring to with that last statement, allow us to explain: in 1988 Dutch disc jockey Ben Liebrand remixed “December, 1963” and re-released it, resulting in the song spending another 27 weeks on the Hot 100 and climbing all the way back up to #14. At the time, it set a record for the longest tenure of a song on the Hot 100, but even if it’s since been surpassed, it’s still an accomplishment that won’t soon be forgotten.