December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)

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"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" is a song originally performed by The Four Seasons, written by original Four Seasons keyboard player Bob Gaudio and his future wife Judy Parker, produced by Gaudio, and included on the group's album, Who Loves You (1975).

"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"
December 1963 oh what a night.JPG
Single by The Four Seasons
from the album Who Loves You
B-side"Slip Away"
ReleasedDecember 1975
RecordedNovember 1975
3:20 (single version)
LabelWarner Bros. / Curb
Songwriter(s)Bob Gaudio, Judy Parker
Producer(s)Bob Gaudio
The Four Seasons singles chronology
"Who Loves You"
"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"
"Silver Star"
"December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!)" on YouTube

The song features drummer Gerry Polci on lead vocals, with Frankie Valli, the group's usual lead vocalist, singing the bridge sections and backing vocals, and bass player Don Ciccone – former lead singer of The Critters – singing the falsetto part ("And I felt a rush like a rolling ball of thunder / Spinning my head around and taking my body under").

Song originsEdit

According to the co-writer and longtime group member Bob Gaudio, the song's lyrics were originally set in 1933 with the title "December 5th, 1933," and celebrated the repeal of Prohibition,[1] but the lyrics were changed at the urgings of Frankie Valli and lyricist Parker to reposition the song as a nostalgic remembrance of a young man's first affair with a woman, and, more specifically, Gaudio's courtship with his wife, Judy Parker.[2]


The song is an up-tempo, piano-led dance song with a distinct and easily recognizable opening drum and then piano riff. It is written in 4/4 and in the key of D-flat major. The main riff contains a basic chord progression of Db-Ebm-Db-Gb-Ab (I-ii-I-IV-V). While the song’s piano/bass/drums/guitar/keyboard arrangement is fairly typical of pop songs of the period, there is an unusual introduction of the bass guitar midway through a stanza in the 10th bar of the song’s first verse.

1975 releaseEdit

The single was released in December 1975 and hit number one on the UK Singles Chart on February 21, 1976.[3] It repeated the feat on the US Billboard Hot 100 on March 13, 1976, remaining in the top spot for three weeks and one week on Cash Box. Billboard ranked it as the No. 4 song for 1976. On April 10 the same year, it topped the RPM National Top Singles Chart in Canada.[4] It was the final Four Seasons' song to reach number one, although Valli would have one final chart-topper as a solo act in 1978 with the theme song to the film Grease.

Ben Liebrand remixEdit

In 1988, Dutch DJ and producer Ben Liebrand remixed the song and re-released it as a single.[5][6] In 1993, Curb Records, who released the original version of the song, picked up the 1988 remix and released it to the U.S. market. The 1993 re-release spent 27 weeks on the Hot 100 (matching the chart life of the original 1975 single). The peak position of the remix version was #14. Adding together the two 27-week chart runs for the 1975 original single and the remixed version (for a combined total of 54 weeks, two more weeks than a full year) gave the song the longest tenure ever on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart up to that time.[7]

"Cette année-là"Edit

In 1976, Claude François released an album called Le vagabond that features the French version of the song known as "Cette année-là". More recently in 2016, M. Pokora released a tribute album for Claude François called My way which includes his own cover of "Cette année-là".

Music videoEdit

A music video was produced to accompany the original 1975 release.[8] The video used the edited single version, which had a Phaser effect during Frankie's vocals, not heard on any other version of the song.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[19] Platinum 70,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[23] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[24] Gold 400,000 
United States (RIAA)[25] Gold 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Clock versionEdit

"Oh What a Night"
Single by Clock
from the album About Time 2
LabelMCA Records
  • P. Pritchard
  • S. Allan
Clock singles chronology
"Axel F"
"Oh What a Night"
"U Sexy Thing"

British pop/dance act Clock released a dance cover of "Oh What a Night" in 1996. It peaked at number 13 in Ireland, number 12 in Scotland and number 13 in the UK.


Chart (1996) Peak
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[26] 49
Ireland (Irish Singles Chart) 13
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[27] 12
United Kingdom (UK Singles Chart) 13
United Kingdom (UK Dance Singles Chart)[28] 20


  1. ^ "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)". Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  2. ^ "Gaudio put words in Valli's mouth". Retrieved 2014-12-16.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 323. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 2012-10-21. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
  5. ^ "Frankie Valli & Four Seasons, The - December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) (Ben Liebrand Re-mix) (CD) at Discogs". Retrieved 2012-01-09.
  6. ^ "Four Seasons, The - December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2012-01-09.
  7. ^ review of album "Oh, What a Night"[dead link]
  8. ^ "The Four Seasons - December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
  9. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1976-04-03. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  10. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1976-04-10. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  11. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 90.
  13. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on 2016-03-19. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1976". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Top 50 Singles of 1976". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications: 25. 25 December 1976.
  18. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1976". Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
  19. ^ a b "1993 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  20. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  21. ^ "End of Year Charts 1995". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  22. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  23. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Four Seasons – December 63 (Oh What a Night)". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  24. ^ "British single certifications – Frankie Valli/The Four Seasons – December 1963 (Oh What a Night)". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 12, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type December 1963 (Oh What a Night) in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  25. ^ "American single certifications – The Four Seasons – December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved July 12, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  26. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  27. ^ "Scottish Singles Chart 01 September 1996 - 07 September 1996". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  28. ^ "Official UK Dance Singles Chart (01 September 1996-07 September 1996)". Retrieved 2018-02-09.

External linksEdit