|The Four Seasons in 1971. Courtesy Union Township |
Shame on me: it turns out the story is true, according to Valli's own website. His official bio states that in 1960 the band, then called the Four Lovers, "flunked an audition to play at the cocktail lounge of a bowling alley in Union, NJ, but they decided the lounge's name would make a classy moniker for a singing group: The Four Seasons."
As much as I'd like to invite you to meet me at the alley to bowl a few frames and sing a chorus of "Big Girls Don't Cry," I can't. It's not there anymore, having been torn down in 1998 to make room for a Costco. Yup, a Costco. Folks in the area may be grateful for a convenient place to score big bargains, but Union lost a very visible landmark of its incidental contribution to rock and roll history. That and a chance for a cameo role in the Jersey Boys movie.
It's not forgotten, though: in 2008 the Township of Union renamed a portion of West Chestnut Street "Four Seasons Lane" in honor of the group, complete with commemorative street signs. Given that none of the members of the group were actually from Union, I guess it's not surprising that more hasn't been done at the site to honor them, but a plaque would be nice. Maybe if Valli had scored a 300 game, things might have been different.