Valli took his most famous stage name after country singer Texas Jean Valley, who often referred to Frankie as her "brother."
The label of every single they released on Phillips records, except "Dawn (Go Away)," states: "featuring The Sound of Frankie Valli."
Valli's real name is Frank Castelluccio. He cut a couple of solo singles, most notably "My Mother's Eyes," as Frankie Valley in 1953-54, before forming the Varietones in 1955. By 1956, the Varietones had gone through a few name changes before settling on the Four Lovers. That year, they produced an LP, two EPs, and five singles for RCA. By 1958, the Four Lovers went their separate ways. Frankie was a solo act again, first releasing a single, "I Go Ape," under the name of Frankie Tyler. The record did not chart.
The group's first chart single (in 1956) was #68 "You're the Apple of My Eye," written by Otis Blackwell and given to them to record after they had another Blackwell song, "Don't Be Cruel," taken from them as they prepared to record it.
Producer/director Bob Crewe heard the "I Go Ape" single and met Frankie, and both men agreed upon a framework for the new act. The Four Lovers were taken out of mothballs and hired as session musicians and background singers (they even released a single of an Italian song, "Come Si Bella" by "Frankie Valle," and having a B-side credited to "Frankie Valle and the Romans"). Some of the acts that benefitted from their support on record are Bobby Darin, Danny and the Juniors, and Freddy Cannon.
In early 1959 (after releasing "Please Take a Chance" by Frankie Valley), the lead singer met Bob Gaudio, whose group The Royal Teens had hit the big time with "Short Shorts" the previous year. The Teens broke up shortly thereafter; Gaudio joined the Four Lovers as a keyboard player. The group's bassist -- Al Kooper -- became a star in his own right in the '60s.