If you're wondering what the differences are between the many CDs of greatest hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (FV&4S), perhaps your research time can be shortened by checking these findings (from an afternoon spent not doing necessary chores, but instead copying and comparing various song lists to see which CD is missing any must-haves). Any prices I note are for used items in good or better condition with the $3 shipping included.
I chose FV&4S The Definitive Pop Collection ($11, 2006, Rhino label, mainly brown squares on cover--I mention color to make it easier to quickly find and click between the CDs). It has 30 hit songs on 2 discs and all positive reviews (and a good price).
Note the above is not The Definitive FV&4S. ($12, 2007, Rhino label, import, purple/red) This one has 26 songs on one disc; nice to have all on one disc-- didn't know so many could fit. Most are the same and in the same order as the above Definitive Pop, but a few are substituted and four are dropped. For a buck more. No thank you.
The Very Best of FV&4S: Jersey Boys ($15, 2008, 101 Distribution label, import, mainly red) is almost identical to Definitive, even in song order, with 30 songs on 2 discs (and only 3 reviews, but all positive). The label either copied Definitive or it is related to Rhino. Did not choose because it is $4 more, and Definitive has Silence is Golden and The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine while Jersey Boys substitutes You're Ready Now and The Night. (For me, Silence clinched it; listened to the 30 second samples of the other three and was not familiar with them.)
The Very Best of FV&4S ($11, 2003, Rhino label, mainly blue) is a shorter version of Definitive, with 20 songs on one disc, in about the some order, and all positive reviews. But why pay the same for less? The 10 missing songs: Marlena, Stay*, Silence is Golden*, Big Man in Town, Girl Come Running, Don't Think Twice*, The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine, Tell It to the Rain, Beggin', Will You Love Me Tomorrow*. (The four that I *ed are the only ones I knew and wanted, but that was enough to get me to delete this, my first choice, and choose Definitive.)
Greatest Hits I ($9, 1991, Rhino label, blue-gray) (I was still using cassettes in 1991, and BTW, maybe we should hang on to them: this recording in cassette is offered used for $21 and new for $73!) Almost identical to the first CD of Definitive, with 15 songs and all positive reviews.
Greatest Hits II ($8, 1991, Rhino label, blue-gray) Almost identical to the second CD of Definitive, with 15 songs and 21/22 positive reviews. The negative is one person noting it wouldn't play in his car stereo. Buying these two instead of the 2 CD Definitive costs $6 more. The second nail in the coffin is the omission of Silence is Golden, as well as The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine, and the two replacement selections, in my opinion, do not make up for the loss: Ain't That a Shame and Alone (Why Must I Be Alone).
Forever Legends ($10.50, 2007, blue tin case) looked like a good deal with 30 songs on 3 CDs (though I prefer Definitive's 15 songs per CD over these 10 per CD), but the reviews concerned me. Only 3/6 are positive, and the complaints are with the remastered sound quality and not being balanced between the right and left channels (which I probably wouldn't notice, especially as I sing along...but I'm leery of potentially noticeable problems.) (And I realize other CDs could have similar problems that no one wrote a review about, but we work with what we've got! Plus, no one complaining on Amazon, as is the case on most of the above CDs, usually IS a good sign.)
Collectors Edition ($9.50, 2008, Curb Records label, silver) could be good, with 32 songs (though at least 2 are different version repeats) on 3 discs and mainly good, though few, reviews. 32 songs = good. $9.50 = good. The omission of Sherry = deal breaker. (I mean, Come on...) Actually there's only about five songs that are the same choices as on Definitive; this is not a greatest hits, but a collection of a few hits with less popular songs. Probably very enjoyable, but since I'm only buying one, I want it to have the most hits possible.
Time Life FV&4S 1962-1967 ($8.50, Time Life label, red) seems good, but not good enough. It has 22 songs, 3 that are not on Definitive: Ronnie, Ain't That a Shame, and Alone (Why Must I Be Alone). It, therefore, lacks eleven that are on Definitive. Nuf said.
Jersey Beat: Music of FV&4S ($24 new--cheaper than used, 2007, Rhino label, orange/tan) is a contender. It costs more than I wanted to pay, but gives you more: 76 songs on 3 CDs and 12 performances on 1 DVD and an informative booklet. 35/39 positive reviews with four complaints about sound quality. It has every song on Definitive, in about the same order, plus 46 more, interspersed into that order, though many of those I do not know. I do know most of the songs on Definitive and it'll be great. I'm sure... Well, if I hadn't already hit "submit order," I might be out another 13 bucks.
There are six-plus pages of FV&4S options, so you're on your own from here. Some of the other collections I quickly dismissed if they had a mere 20 hits or other obvious flaws, such as the following:
FV&4S 25th Anniversary Collection ($42, 1990, Rhino label, green and pink)
54 songs (yea!) $42 (oh.)
In Season: The FV&4S Anthology ($138, 2001, Rhino label, black)
51 songs (yea!) $138 (whoa.)
One last recommendation to pass on: More than one reviewer hyped a new packaging of two albums together, Working My Way Back to You/ The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette. ($20, 2007, Collector's Choice label). The Genuine album is said to parallel Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper in its ambitiousness and creativity.
That's all, folks. Assume I'll love Definitive when it gets here. Or I'll let you know if not!
Update: It's here and it's great! And quit staring at me at the red lights when I pull up and you look over and notice I'm wholeheartedly singing along as the Fifth Season!
- Release Date:
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Rhino
- Copyright: ℗ 2006 Bob Gaudio & Frankie Valli d/b/a The 4 Seasons Partnership, by arrangement with Rhino Entertainment Company. All Rights Reserved. Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. © 2006 Bob Gaudio & Frankie Valli d/b/a The 4 Seasons Partnership, by arrangement with Rhino Entertainment Company. All Rights Reserved.
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- Total Length: 1:29:08
- ASIN: B00JZGTE5C
- Customer Reviews: 317 customer ratings
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#18,650 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)
- #2645 in Pop (Albums)