Last year I caught Jersey Boys, the film about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The story is also a hit Broadway musical and is now touring. I absolutely love films based on musicians. Some of my favorites include The Doors, The Temptations, Walk The Line, Straight Outta Compton and Hated: GG Allin & the Murder Junkies. Well, Hated is more of a documentary but it’s still awesome.
One of the cool things I noticed in Jersey Boys is the fact that they introduce Joe Pesci (played by Joseph Russo) as a childhood friend of Tommy DeVito who played guitar in The Four Seasons. Now, if you are a fan of Goodfellas, you will remember that Joe Pesci used the name Tommy DeVito for his character as the hot-headed gangster in the film. Joe Pesci’s character was a real-life gangster named Tommy DeSimone, but for the movie they changed his name to Tommy Devito. Which I thought was cool; he used his childhood buddies name in one of the most epic films ever made.
Years ago I stumbled on this record by a singer named Joe Ritchie (aka Joe Pesci) from 1968 called Little Joe Sure Can Sing! So many actors try their hand at singing after their career has blown up, but Pesci gave it a run before he was an actor. After watching Jersey Boys I understood Joe Pesci’s early music career a lot more. His best friend played in one of the biggest bands of their era.
Here is a sample of Little Joe covering a Beatles tune:
I am also a little partial to his cover of Got to Get You Into My Life. It's a little rough, but being such a Joe Pesci fan, I find myself jamming this all the time!
Though Pesci moved on from music, he obviously still had a passion for it, and in 1999 he released Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just for You. The name was based upon his character in the classic movie My Cousin Vinny. Though the album is mostly a comedy record with songs like Take Your Love And Shove It, Yo Cousin Vinny, and a Christmas song where he threatens Santa Claus called If It Doesn't Snow For Christmas, there is still some pretty good big band styled tracks. Picture a Louis Prima feel, such as the cover of the classic tune Robbie Hood.
But the coolest part of the record goes to his song called Wiseguy, set to the Blondie classic tune Rapture. There is an official video but a fan made this version, and even though this is the radio friendly cut (Yea they made a clean version) the video is still badass.
While we are on the Joe Pesci thing, a fun fact is that I noticed Catherine Scorsese, totally unaccredited in Rodney Dangerfield's classic Easy Money as Joe Pesci's mom. I've seen the film a thousand times and never noticed. She obviosuly went on to play his mom again in Goodfellas.
On a final note, I have been reading all kinds of stoires in regards to the murder of Tommy DiSimone. One was that Gotti's crew did the job. Recently, the FBI was digging up Jimmy Burkes property looking for his remains because of a tip that Jimmy "The Gent" (Played by Robert De Niro) actually did the job. Here is a link to the FBI DIgs article.
I also read a whole different article that mentions Richard Kuklinski (The real guy Iceman is based upon) had something to do with it. Here is the New Details Surface article.
Either way, Joe Pesci is the man and quite the music fan!