Starting with 1962’s “Sherry”, their debut number 1, Gaudio wrote a remarkable string of hits for The Four Seasons, usually with lyrics by producer Bob Crewe. The list included the following tops “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like A Man” and “Rag Doll”. But after 1965’s Girl Come Running, Gaudio had spent two years without writing a Four Seasons single. He and Crewe had focused on writing Valli’s solo tracks like “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and let other songwriters provide material for the group. The songs they had written for the group, in an effort to support the evolution of pop towards more socially responsible themes, were pieces from albums like the anti-protest controversy “Beggars Parade”.
When Gaudio finally refocused on writing Four Seasons songs for the Four Seasons, the result was the “Beggin ‘” at the No. 16 summit. For the first time in years, he teamed up with a lyricist besides Crewe, instead working with the famous Peggy Farina from the Angels of “My Boyfriend’s Back”. While “Beggin ‘” represented a throwback to the comfort zone of Four Seasons love songs, the track wasn’t exactly a throwback to the band’s old doo-wop sound. His arrangement fused fast rock and psychedelic soul, his burst of piano and brass fueled by the kind of upbeat, contagious drum part that is just (sorry) starting to be turned into a breakbeat by a hip-hop DJ.
Party Supplies actually sampled the track on Action Bronson’s 2012 mixtape. Blue fries, but the larger ‘Beggin’ sample was more of a cover: the Black-Eyed-Peas ‘Beggin’ cover of Norwegian hip-hop group Madcon has ranked No. 1 in several European countries. in 2008. The year before that, French DJ Pilooski’s remix of the original Four Seasons topped the UK dance charts. “Beggin ‘” has been covered several times over the years, by artists such as Shocking Blue, Timebox and the Californian band Monophonics. But no one since Madcon has caught fire with the song like Måneskin.
Roman high school students Damiano David, Victoria De Angelis and Thomas Raggi formed Måneskin in 2016, naming their group after the Danish word for moonlight. Soon after recruiting drummer Ethan Torchio to complete the roster, they won a local groups battle, the first of many such victories for the group. After spending some time performing in the streets of Rome, they auditioned for the Italian version of X factor, where the cover of “Beggin ‘” first appeared alongside hits from Franz Ferdinand and The Killers. The group finished second on X factor, but their stint on the series has made them constant stars and hit-makers in Italy. This also led to a deal with Sony, which released their Selected EP – with an assortment of chili-flavored party-rock songs including “Beggin ‘” – in December 2017. An album, documentary and other national hits followed.
The real breakthrough for Måneskin, however, has been a pair of wins in major televised competitions this year. First of all, in March, they were rare rock champions at the Sanremo Music Festival in Italy. This qualified them to represent Italy at the famous Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, where they also won the top prize. Their winning song “Zitti e buoni”, which translates to “Shut Up And Behave”, is a funky rap-rock aggro that seems to have appeared on American rock radio in 1999 alongside Loudmouth and Buckcherry. After Måneskin’s victory at Eurovision Song Contest in May, “Zitti e buoni” posted the biggest day-long streaming total ever for an Italian artist on Spotify. Eurovision also sent Måneskin’s music to TikTok, where a meme involved users going from a bushy or soft look to leather-clad rock’n’rolls in “Zitti e buoni”.
But you never know what’s going to happen in TikTok’s bizarre ecosystem, and for reasons unknown, last month “Beggin ‘” came to eclipse “Zitti e buoni”. The song’s virality on the video app has in turn driven Spotify and radio shows around the world, sending “Beggin ‘” into the top 10 in countries like the UK, Australia and the UK. Germany (where he reached the first place). On July 3, he even surpassed Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u” to become the world’s No.1 song on Spotify, a position he hasn’t given up more than a week later. He even delayed BTS’s new song this weekend! According to Billboard, the song even made a few laps on Philly pop station WTDY, suggesting there is potential for Måneskin to jump straight to hard rock radio and become Top 40 thrills in America. Meanwhile, another single, the cowbell-laden come-on “I Wanna Be Your Slave”, has made its way into Spotify’s global top 10. Everything happens Måneskin.
It’s weird, isn’t it? For example, it’s not so surprising that a band of the same ilk from Måneskin is spreading across Europe – I don’t even pretend to understand the tastes of people on the continent – but I’m a little shocked at how “Beggin ‘”made its way into American consciousness too. David’s ostentatious growl sounds like a parody of a singer spelling rock rawk. The whole group looks like they’re dressed up as Orgy for Halloween, and their music sounds like the flavorless impression of a Sunset Strip band from the early Incubus. I pray that their emergence is an isolated incident and we are not about to see a revival of this kind of hard rock as a dominant proposition in America. Because honestly, if this stuff is going to spread, rock is better off dead.