86) The Four Seasons – “Walk Like a Man”

In the post for “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” I grappled with the problem of admiring The Four Seasons’ style while simultaneously being frustrated by how that style limited the variety of their early ’60s output.  True, I still think “Big Girls Don’t Cry” is essentially “Sherry” redux.  However, recent close listening of “Walk Like a Man” revealed an aspect of that record I hadn’t noticed before: an unexpected nastiness.  Frankie Valli snarls through the verses in a manner anticipating garage rock, while lyrics like “Soon you’ll be cryin’ on account of all your lyin’/Oh yeah, just look who’s laughing now” could be excerpts  from the Mick Jagger songbook.  The chorus restores the group’s trademark four-part harmony punctuated by Valli’s preternatural falsetto, yet the cheery sing-a-long masks an arch sentiment.  Why should you “walk like a man”? Because “no woman’s worth crawling on the earth.”  There’s just a light enough touch here that it never descends into misogyny.  But the fact that Valli et al. can sing about a woman’s treachery without coming across as self-pitying wimps makes it a welcome anomaly – and perhaps their best song. 7

Hit #1 on March 2, 1963; total of 3 weeks at #1
86 of 976 #1’s reviewed; 8.81% through the Hot 100


Filed under 07, 1963

4 responses to “86) The Four Seasons – “Walk Like a Man”

  1. Great post. I have to say you have an interesting take on vintage pop. The lyrics to 50s and 60s pop were almost based on a sense of paranoia. Again, always interesting.

  2. GeorgeL

    Uh Frankie… how singing like a man?

  3. GeorgeL

    oops meant to say how about singing like a man?

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