About The Song
The Four Seasons’ two previous monster hits, “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” had used that falsetto as a kind of parlor trick, building entire tracks around the way it could cut the air. But Valli wasn’t just about that falsetto, and when he wanted to, he could inject a real sense of swagger and venom into his voice. On “Walk Like A Man,” he and his band put the swagger, the venom, and the falsetto into the service of a tight, hard, exciting pop song.
The idea behind “Walk Like A Man” was that the band had gotten all wounded and sensitive on their previous two #1 hits, so they wanted to show a harder, tougher side, with Valli offering a nasty fuck-off to a girl who’s been “telling dirty lies to my friends.” The band literally recorded the song in a burning building. Producer Bob Crewe, who co-wrote the song with Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio, wanted to get the perfect take, so he locked the band in the studio, refusing to open things up even when smoke filled up the room and water leaked under the door. The session didn’t end until firefighters broke the door down. And maybe that’s part of the reason why “Walk Like A Man” has such a sense of taut urgency to it.
Where so many of the pop records of the day were dominated by swirling strings and aah-ing backing vocalists, there’s nothing in “Walk Like A Man” to sweeten the song up. Instead, it’s a brittle and hard-strutting rhythm section at work, the handclaps and wiry guitar stabs and drum-rolls all feeding the song’s martial groove. Even the Four Seasons’ backing vocals — “Walk! Walk!” — feel like part of the beat. The raw excitement of the early Beatles records is a big part of the reasons those songs, still months away from coming out in America, stood out so easily. And some of that excitement is there on “Walk Like A Man,” too. It’s a historical leveling-up from a group who, commercially at least, were doing just fine before they got good.