Monday, July 9, 2007

Royal Lineage

The Royal Teens were a novelty group that hit big in 1958 with "Short Shorts," which went to Number 3 in February of that year and would go on to annoy millions of Americans of later generations when it was used in a series of Nair commercials. One would think that the Royal Teens would have soon faded into obscurity and jobs in the backroom of Ace Hardware, but fate had something grander in store for two of them.

Bob Gaudio, who cowrote "Short Shorts" and played piano for the group, would meet Frankie Valli on one of the band's tours and eventually join the Four Seasons, for whom he would write "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Sherry," "December 1963," and "Walk Like a Man," a title Bruce Springsteen would shamelessly rip on his Tunnel of Love LP.

Gaudio wrote "Short Shorts" when he was only fifteen, but he was soon joined in the Royal Teens by someone who was even younger: Guitarist Al Kooper, who was just fourteen. Although he didn't play on "Short Shorts," Kooper toured with the Teens for a while before they imploded in 1960; the band never recorded an entire album.

Kooper would then go on to play organ on "Like a Rolling Stone" and French horn on "You Can't Always Get What You Want," which is pretty cool. Gaudio, on the other hand, co-owns the Four Seasons brand with Frankie Valli, and likely made a killing with the Broadway success of the bio-play Jersey Boys. At any rate, they're both certainly better off than anyone in the DeFranco Family.

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