Caught With His Pants Down

‘C’mon Marianne’ was written by L. Russell Brown and Raymond Bloodworth and popularized by the iconic New Jersey group, The Four Seasons, and it hit #9 on the charts in June, 1967.  Produced by Bob Crewe and arranged by Bob Gaudio, this single was the last Four Seasons single to reach the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the 1960s, and their last Top Ten hit until ‘Who Loves You’ in 1975.  The Four Seasons included Frankie Valli as the lead singer, Bob Gaudio on keyboards and tenor vocals, Tommy DeVito on lead guitar and baritone vocals, and Nick Massi on electric bass and bass vocals.  Massi left the Four Seasons in September 1965, and was replaced temporarily by Charles Calello who, in turn, was replaced by Joe Long.  In 1977, Frankie Valli would leave the group and the Four Seasons split up in 1979.  By 1980, there was a reunion, and the billing was back to Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, seemingly for good.  For more information on Frankie Valli refer to my post Not A Bright Future which is about the song ‘Dawn (Go Away)’.

Bob Crewe was an American songwriter, singer, manager, record producer and fine artist.  His career is among the most varied, successful and innovative in pop music history.  He is probably best known for producing and co-writing with Bob Gaudio a string of Top 10 singles for The Four Seasons.  In his 50+ years in the music industry, some of the Billboard Top Ten hits either co-written or produced by Crewe include ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Walk Like a Man’, ‘Dawn (Go Away)’, ‘Ronnie’, ‘Rag Doll’, ‘Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)’, ‘Let’s Hang On!’, ‘Devil With A Blue Dress On’, ‘Music To Watch Girls By’, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’, ‘Good Morning, Starshine’, ‘Swearin’ To God’, ‘My Eyes Adored You’ and ‘Lady Marmalade’.

Robert John Gaudio is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer, the keyboardist/backing vocalist of the Four Seasons and the quintessential music maker.  In the late ‘50s, at the age of 15, he co-wrote his first hit, ‘Who Wears Short Shorts’, for a group he started, The Royal Teens.  He then went on to become, with Frankie Valli, a founding member of the supergroup, The Four Seasons.  His song, ‘Sherry’ launched their incredible string of hits.  At the time, he also began a productive and creative relationship with Bob Crewe.  Gaudio co-wrote and produced an entire album of songs for Frank Sinatra and produced six Neil Diamond albums.

Lawrence ‘Larry’ Russell Brown was born in Newark, New Jersey on June 29, 1940, he is an American lyricist and composer best known as L. Russell Brown.  He is most noted for his songs, co-written with Irwin Levine, ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree’, ‘Knock Three Times’ and ‘Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose’ which were international hits for the 1970s pop music group Tony Orlando and Dawn.  He also co-wrote ‘C’mon Marianne’ for The Four Seasons, and The Partridge Family 1971 song, ‘I Woke Up In Love This Morning’.  L. Russell Brown has been writing songs since he was 16 years old, and his songs have been recorded over 1,000 times, by musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Perry Como and Al Hirt.

Russell Brown started co-writing with Ray Bloodworth in the mid-1960s, and working for Bob Crewe, he wrote the hits ‘C’mon Marianne’ and ‘Watch the Flowers Grow’ for the Four Seasons with Ray Bloodworth.  One day L. Russell Brown and Ray Bloodworth went to meet Bob Crewe for an interview and he asked them to play a song for him.  They had already written ‘I’d Rather Go to Jail’ for Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels and along with Neval Nader they wrote ‘Open Up Your Door’ for Richard and The Young Lions, so they sang him these songs.  Three hours later after singing many more songs, they were hired and that’s how it began.

The first golden age of garage rock flourished from 1963 to 1967, but nobody used that term till 1971 and the Four Seasons’ song ‘C’mon Marianne’ does qualify as garage rock.  It is a tough pop-soul number that has a yearning melody that goes along with a strong rock and roll beat.  The lyrics hit a frantic tone as they present a man who is begging Marianne to try and understand his being unfaithful.  The music maintains the intensity of the lyrics with a fast-paced melody whose verses use taut rhythms to convey a flurry of notes which builds to a pleading chorus that caps a triple repetition “C’mon Marianne (baby)”.  The drums knock out a fast, dance-styled rhythm that acts as a springboard for choppy rhythm guitar riffs, accompanied by a throbbing bass line and spooky, soaring organ riffs.  Frankie Valli delivers an intense, carefully syncopated tenor lead that hits a wounded falsetto at key moments.  During the middle break of ‘C’mon Marianne’ you will hear a riff that sounds like The Doors song ‘Touch Me’ which they recorded a year later.

In this dismal love song ‘C’mon Marianne’, this guy is pleading with Marianne for another chance.  He doesn’t give her the reason why he strayed from her arms to have this fling.  Love and intimacy have a way of bringing us to our knees, and it seems like this is not the first time that this guy cheated on Marianne, so I think it is time for her to walk away from him, as she does not deserve all of the sadness, despair and pain that comes with infidelity.  He says, “Well now your big brown eyes are all full of tears From the bitterness of my cheatin’ years So I hang my head, wish that I was dead”, to which she should reply, “Get lost, once a cheater always a cheater.”  If he had done it just once, then Marianne could possibly come to terms with this, but this guy has developed a pattern and no matter what he says, this is a permanent thing for him.

Marianne, Marianne, Marianne, Marianne

Whoa ho ho here I am on my knees again
I’ll do anything just to make it right
Say you’ll understand, oh I know you can
C’mon Marianne

No matter what people say, it didn’t happen that way
She was a passing fling and not a permanent thing
Say you’ll understand, oh I know you can

C’mon Marianne (baby)
C’mon Marianne (baby)
C’mon Marianne (baby)
Say you can understand
My Marianne, Marianne, Marianne, Marianne

Well now your big brown eyes are all full of tears
From the bitterness of my cheatin’ years
So I hang my head, wish that I was dead
C’mon Marianne (baby)
C’mon Marianne (baby)
C’mon Marianne (baby)
Say you can understand
My Marianne (baby)
C’mon Marianne (baby)
C’mon Marianne (baby)

Marianne, Marianne, Marianne, Marianne

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Leave, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Lost, for Ragtag Community – Walk, for Scotts Daily Prompt – String and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Dismal.

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