I’m sort of obsessed with Frankie Valli. I first remember discovering his music as a little girl, going to the oldies night at Chelsea’s (our local burger and shake shop in New Orleans) with my dad.
It was just down the road from our house, and about once a month or so all of the car collectors in the area would bring their classic Thunderbirds, Mustangs and Impalas down to Chelsea’s. They'd pop open their hoods, and crank up the best of the 1960s on the loudspeaker, and for a while, you felt transported back in time.
There is something inherent I love about the music from that decade – serious talent with music that means something. “Mama Said” by The Shirelles, “My Girl” by The Temptations (also the song my father and I danced to on my wedding night), and “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers only tip the iceberg on my personal “best of” list from the era.
As much as I love Marvin Gaye and The Beach Boys, “Walk Like a Man” by Frankie Valli is my all-time favorite song. At about 8 years old I decided this was my anthem – it spoke to my soul and always has. It may seem strange that a young girl would identify with a song about a teenage boy telling his girlfriend he won’t put up with her bad behavior, but it means more than that to me.
I read between the lines and clung to the message that you need to stand tall, be proud of who you are, and don’t let the world get you down. No, that’s not really what it meant (literally), but that’s the message I’ve always taken with me. In fact, when I was in fourth grade, there was a talent show at school, and I took this mantra quite literally to the stage.
Picture a very pint-size version of myself, alone, and when the music starts, I strut my stuff straight into the middle of the stage, where I stop and break into full-on lip sync mode. Talk about fearless! I was confident that I was totally killing it, and with my big brother in the audience cheering me on, it wasn’t long before the auditorium joined in singing too. Thinking back on it, I can’t believe I had the guts to go through with it, but it’s one of my favorite memories from childhood.
That moment made a mark on me, and, to this day, “Walk Like a Man” is still my go-to, pump me up, get out of a funk anthem. I find it impossible to be in a bad mood when it comes on, and I love that 28 years later it still inspires me to reach for the high notes.
This article was originally published in The Sealy News, in the August 9, 2018 edition.
More columns may be found online under the "Lifestyles" section.