Bob Crewe Hitmaker Passes On

Bob Crewe.jpg

Submitted Courtesy of Rob Durkee

Bob Crewe, who at least co-wrote and/or produced over 60 Top 40 hits, including the vast majority of the Four Seasons' hits, died Thursday in Scarborough, Maine. According to writer Paul Cashmere, Crewe was 82. At press time, the cause of death wasn't known.

Crewe's career dates back to the 1950's, when he co-wrote the top tenner "Silhouettes" for the Rays in 1957. He co-wrote and produced "La Dee Dah" and "Lucky Ladybug" for the duo Billie and Lillie in 1958. In 1959, he did the same thing for Freddy (Boom Boom) Cannon's breakthrough hit, "Tallahassee Lassie."

Crewe's career took off in 1960, when he started working with a struggling group that began as the Four Lovers. That was about the time the Four Lovers decided to rename themselves after a bowling alley...and the Four Seasons were born. Crewe was behind the Four Seasons' #1 hits "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like A Man" and "Rag Doll." The only Four Seasons chart-topper that he didn't write or produce was "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)."

Crewe was also behind back-to-back #1's from 1975: "My Eyes Adored You" (Frankie Valli) and "Lady Marmalade" (LaBelle). The latter would become a #1 remake in 2001 for the four-act combination of Christina Aguillera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink. Among the other acts he helped manufacture hits with were Michael Jackson, Lesley Gore, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Diane Renay, the Walker Brothers, Herman's Hermits, the Tremeloes, Oliver, the Osmonds and Disco Tex And The Sex-O-Lettes.

Writer Ryan McPhee reported that Bob Crewe's work has been heard in the Broadway Musical "Jersey Boys," which became a movie of the same name. Peter Gregus, who portrayed Crewe in the play, pointed out, "What you see in 'Jersey Boys' is the tip of the iceberg of what he contributed to the Four Seasons and the music industry. If we told his part of the story, we'd be there until four in the morning."