Music icon Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons came home to Newark for a street naming in his honor.
Valli, who was born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio, grew up at Newark’s Stephen Crane Village public housing project before skyrocketing to fame as the lead singer of the Four Seasons. The corner of Stephen Crane Plaza and Franklin Avenue now named Valli Way. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer looked visibly touched by the honor at the ceremony on Thursday, surrounded by city officials and fans.
“I always say, ‘You can take the guy out of the neighborhood, but you can’t take the neighborhood out of the guy,’ and I always take Newark with me no matter where I’ve traveled to,” he said in his speech to the crowd.
The now 88-year-old credited his Newark upbringing for his success. His signature falsetto is unmistakeable in timeless Four Seasons songs like “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” His subsequent solo career and life story became immortalized thanks to the hit Broadway show “Jersey Boys.”
“Frankie is an icon, living legend and son of Newark and Essex County,” praised Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr.
Valli has been inducted to the New Jersey Hall of Fame twice, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Italian-American Foundation.
He’s currently on tour with the current version of The Four Seasons, and will be playing at NJPAC in Newark, April 28, as well as the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, June 1.