Monday, May 12, 2008 | 2 a.m.
The ink was still drying on my driver’s license when I first heard “Sherry,” the song that ignited the career of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
It was late at night in the summer of 1962 on the shoulder of some rural, two-lane road that wound through the back country of Northern California.
A crowd of us were parked there for some reason, teenage boys enjoying the feeling of independence that comes with the first driver’s license. I don’t recall why we were there but it probably involved beer and lying about girls. In those high school days almost everything involved beer and lying about girls.
One of the guys boasted about his latest conquest, a girl named Sherry. After going into great detail about the real or imagined event he broke into song ... “Shee – AH – ry, Sherry Baby ...,” mimicking Valli’s falsetto voice.
I hadn’t heard the record on the radio yet — radio and records were our main sources of music in those days. But I heard it for the first time on the local station on the way home, then I heard it again and again and again. It was playing on almost every station, rivaling Gene Chandler’s “Duke of Earl,” which was released six months earlier and sometimes would be played back-to-back by some devoted DJ who couldn’t get enough of those timeless lyrics: “Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl.”
“Jersey Boys” at the Palazzo brought back a rush of memories, good and bad — just as it did for the original Four Seasons when the play was being put together.
Watching the musical, it was interesting to see the group’s back story, a story that involved, among other things, beer and lying. Maybe that’s why the Seasons struck a chord with fans in the ’60s and were so successful.
But “Jersey Boys” is more than a stroll down memory lane. It is the perfect blend of music, story and acting. Hands down, it’s the best show in town.
At the end of two hours we have experienced a bit of the lives of the Four Seasons, in all of the group’s pain and glory. And in the telling of the tale perhaps we have relived a bit of our own lives. It may not all be accurate in fact, but it is accurate in spirit, and there’s nothing wrong with a little beer and lying among friends.
Vegas means Meadows
Up-and-coming country singer Jason Meadows will perform Friday at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country.
The singer of “Where Did My Dirt Road Go,” “18 Videotapes” and “100% Cowboy” last visited Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo in December, performing opening and closing nights at the Mirage.
Meadows isn’t a drugstore cowboy. His country roots are natural. He was raised in Calera, Okla., a town of 1,700 near the Red River, which divides Texas and Oklahoma.
“Growing up,” he says, “we learned to rope and ride, and we took part in rodeos pretty much every weekend. I spent a lot of my time in the Vo-Ag building and with the FFA (Future Farmers of America), learning about animals.”
He took part in the Oklahoma Youth Rodeo Association, honing his skills as a calf-roper.
He began performing in a country band at 16.
Meadows was first runner-up in the 2005 season of the reality series “Nashville Star,” which moves from the USA Network to NBC in June.
Details: 9 p.m. Friday; Stoney’s, 9151 Las Vegas Blvd. South No. 300; $10; 727-9079
The Whigs, garage rockers from Athens, Ga., are playing the Beauty Bar this week. (9 p.m. Thursday; 517 Fremont St.; $10; 598-1965) ... Pianist Jimmy Hopper has ended his run at the Lava Room in Trader Vic’s at Planet Hollywood. He plans to tour and work on a musical, “The Day There Was No More Music.” ... Charo, the world’s most loved “cuchi-cuchi” girl is coming to the South Point. (7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; $35-$55; 797-8055) ... “The Gong Show” is being brought back to life and the producers are looking for acts — “the more insane the better” — in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York. To set up an audition, contact casting producer Hedda Muskat at (310) 413-2861 or [email protected]