Newark native Frankie Valli was honored, today, with a hometown street dedication in Newark. Frankie Valli Way now exists, with a sign placed on Stephen Crane Plaza at Franklin Avenue.
“My family and I moved to Stephen Crane Village, Newark’s first low-income housing project, when I was six,” Valli said. “Each unit was self-contained, like a garden apartment, and had two bedrooms and a bathroom, with real hardwood floors, steam heat, and hot and cold running water. I remember at the time thinking we were rich and couldn’t believe we got to live there.
“To come back to the place where I grew up and see it renamed after me is one of the biggest honors of my life and I thank all those who made it possible, especially the City of Newark and Mayor Ras Baraka.
“I always say, ‘You can take the guy out of the neighborhood, but you can’t take the neighborhood out of the guy,’ and I always take Newark with me no matter where I’ve traveled to.”
Valli, who had a string of huge pop hits in the ’60s and ’70s as both the lead singer of The Four Seasons (“Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll”) and a solo artist (“Can’t Take My Eyes off You,” “My Eyes Adored You,” “Grease”), will turn 89 on May 3.
A member of the New Jersey Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Valli is currently touring with the current version of his band The Four Seasons, and will perform at NJPAC in Newark, April 28, as well as the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, June 1.
Here is some news coverage of the event:
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