In February 1964, Jersey singing sensations the Four Seasons were rising up the charts with “Dawn (Go Away),” which looked like it might become their fourth No. 1 smash of the last year and a half, following “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.”
But Beatlemania got in the way.
“Dawn,” powered largely by lead singer Frankie Valli’s stunning falsetto, rose to No. 3 on Billboard magazine’s Top 100 chart on Feb. 22, but the Beatles — who had just come to America for the first time that month, making their historic “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance — were in front of them, with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You.” The order stayed the same on Feb. 29 and March 7. On March 14, “Dawn (Go Away)” fell to No. 4 — and was replaced, fittingly enough, by the Beatles’ “Please Please Me.”
By April 4, the Beatles had the top five positions on the chart, a feat that had never been accomplished before, and has never been done again.
As the Broadway and movie versions of “Jersey Boys” have shown, the Four Seasons, and Valli as a solo artist, had plenty of other hits to come. But they never totally recaptured the momentum they had at the very beginning. After the Beatles, everything changed — for them, and for the world.
Below is a clip of the band performing the song in the 1965 movie, “Beach Ball.”
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.