Bob Gaudio

Songwriter, singer, keyboard player, arranger, and producer Bob Gaudio is most closely associated with the Four Seasons, the group for which he was a performing member between 1962 and 1972, after which he largely retired from stage work while continuing to write and arrange their songs and to produce and perform on their records. Gaudio also worked extensively as a songwriter and producer for other artists. He was born Robert Gaudio on November 17, 1942, in the borough of the Bronx in New York City. His father worked in a paper factory, his mother at the book publishers Prentice Hall. Both parents encouraged the early musical talent he showed at the piano. A child prodigy, he studied with jazz pianist Sal Mosca and gave a piano recital at Carnegie Hall at the age of seven. As he was entering high school, his family moved to Bergenfield, NJ, where he attended Bergenfield High School. There he formed a band, the Royal Teens, in the spring of 1956. In 1957, they released the single "Short Shorts" (co-written by the group members Gaudio, Tom Austin, Bill Crandall, and Billy Dalton) on the local Power Records label. The recording was picked up by the much larger ABC-Paramount label and re-released in early 1958. It entered the Billboard Top 100 and peaked in the Top Five in February. ("Short Shorts" was later revived on a single and chart album by the Salsoul Orchestra and was also recorded by Freddie & the Dreamers.) Not yet 16 years old, Gaudio quit high school to go on a national tour with the Royal Teens in April 1958. The group released a second single, "Big Name Button," that flopped. Their third single, "Harvey's Got a Girl Friend" (written by Gaudio, Austin, Dalton, and Larry Qualiano, who had replaced Crandall in the group), peaked at number 78 in August 1958. Other unsuccessful singles followed until the Royal Teens scored their final chart entry, "Believe Me" (written by Gaudio, Austin, and Joseph Francavilla (aka Joe Villa), who had joined the group in late 1958), which peaked at number 26 in November 1959. ("Believe Me" was also recorded by the Diamonds.)

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