Former Four Seasons songwriter Bob Crewe dies at 83

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 13, 2014 9:19 PM

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Songwriter Bob Crewe, who co-wrote such hits as "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "Walk Like a Man" and played a key behind-the- scenes role in the rise to stardom of the Four Seasons pop group, has died at age 83, his brother said on Saturday.

Crewe died on Thursday at a nursing home in Scarborough, Maine, succumbing to complications from a fall he suffered about four years ago, said his brother and former business partner, Dan Crewe.

"He had a wonderful career and I'm sorry he has passed, but I'm glad he’s out of his discomfort," said Crewe. "He was not able to function, and for a guy who was so creative, it was not an easy life.”

Crewe, who grew up in Belleville, New Jersey, began writing music professionally in the 1950s after quitting the Parsons School of Design in New York where he had studied to become an architect.

He was already an established songwriter and had some success as a pop singer and model when he met the vocal group that would become the Four Seasons, and produced their first No. 1 hit in 1962, "Sherry."

The group, which featured frontman Frankie Valli and his falsetto singing style, quickly gained fame, as Crewe collaborated with the band's keyboardist and backing vocalist, Bob Gaudio, to write some of their most enduring hits.

Perhaps their biggest hit was "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," a 1967 song that has been covered numerous times by other artists and was used in such films as "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "The Deer Hunter."

Crewe specialized in writing lyrics, and he was known as a demanding producer in studio sessions, Dan Crewe said.

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Crewe wrote most of his hit songs between the 1950s and the 1970s, but he was reintroduced to audiences in recent years through the "Jersey Boys" Broadway musical that delved into the story behind the Four Seasons, and a film of the same name directed by Clint Eastwood that was released earlier this year.

The play and the film both featured a character based and named after Crewe.

Crewe in the 1980s turned much of his creative energies to painting and sculpture. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Cooney)