Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: The Four Seasons, “Walk Like A Man”
Sorry, Howie Mandel fans, if we got your hopes up when you saw the title “Walk Like A Man,” but this isn’t a piece about the 1987 film where he played a man who was raised by wolves…although, yes, that actually is a real movie. Instead, we’re here to talk about what happened 53 years ago today: The Four Seasons found themselves atop the Billboard Hot 100 for the third time in their career.
Written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, “Walk Like A Man” was a song that was almost done in by Crewe’s perfectionism…and so were the Four Seasons! While Frankie Valli and Nick Massi were singing their hearts out in the Stea-Phillips Recording Studios, a fire broke out in a hotel room directly above the studio. The events going on above them were somewhat evident to the Four Seasons, as smoke and water were seeping into the studio, but Crewe was so busy insisting that the guys get the song exactly like he wanted it to sound that he reportedly blocked the studio door. Indeed, when firemen arrived to save the day, they also had to save the Four Seasons, with the fireman using their axes on the studio door to get the guys out.
Oh, and the firemen saved Crewe, too, although you can only imagine that the Four Seasons might’ve been a little less enthusiastic about that decision, given that Crewe had literally held their lives in his hands just because he wanted the perfect take.
In the end, though, Crewe’s insistence paid off: as noted, the song went to #1 on the Hot 100, and it went on to be covered by a highly diverse crowd over the years, including Divine, the Mary Jane Girls, and Plastic Bertrand.