Song Of The Day 2/11/2014: The Fatback Band - "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)"


Quarterly Covers Report: The original version of "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)" by the Four Seasons was one of the most perfectly realized pop-disco crossover songs ever. There wasn't really any way you could improve it. Everything locks into place. You got that mad piano hook, which came at a time when mad piano hooks were going out of style. (Name a good one that came after it -- maybe "Cold As Ice"? Maybe that?) You got Frankie Valli taking a supporting role -- he only sings on the bridge -- you got minimalist guitar lines lowered into the mix like sleeping puppies being lowered into a basket, you got those shimmering Seasons vocals at the end -- what more could you want? And even more disarmingly, why does my defense of this song make me sound eerily like Patrick Bateman defending Huey Lewis in American Psycho? Even more impressively, "December, 1963" was the first of two Valli-related songs tied to notions of early-rock era nostalgia -- the other being his theme to the movie Grease -- that musically has not one whit in common with early rock nostalgia.

The Fatback Band did lots of great things, including as seminal a hip hop track as you can get, "King Tim III." I'm not sure dressing up "December, 1963" much more than they had to is one of them, but it's nice to see them give it the college try.

At some point in the future there'll be another post relating to a project involving "December, 1963," once I get the stomach for it. Put a note on your fridge or something.



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