For whatever reason, New Jersey has historically been the butt of ridicule. However, when it comes to its musical legacy, the sandy seaboard state is no joke. Jersey Boys, the title of a new Clint Eastwood-directed movie and the Tony Award-winning musical that inspired it, refers to Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi and Frankie Valli, the principals of the Four Seasons, the most successful white doo-wop group in history. Those four guys aren’t the only Jersey boys, however, as this list of the Top 10 male music acts associated with the Garden State shows.
10) Jonas Brothers
Their lips sang S.O.S. and Burnin’ Up, but their eyebrows said “trim me.”
9) Joe Pesci
Did you know the actor was friends with the Four Seasons back in the day? Did you know his mobster character in Goodfellas was named after the Four Seasons’ Tommy DeVito? Did you know that in 1998 he released the album Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just for You? Fahgettaboudit.
8) Ricky Nelson
Born in Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, N.J., the I’m Walkin’ hit-maker was in Hollywood by the time he had learned to walk.
7) Wyclef Jean
The last time we heard from the Grammy-winning co-founder of the New Jersey-based Fugees, he was ruled ineligible as a candidate in the 2010 Haitian presidential election.
6) The Rascals
Contemporaries of the Four Seasons, the G-droppin’ blue-eyed soul troupe had hits with Groovin’ and Good Lovin’ and more.
5) Paul Simon
There are 50 ways to leave your lover, and some 17 methods to leave New Jersey. Born in Newark, the Slip Slidin’ Away singer has spent most of his life across the river in New York.
4) Bruce Springsteen
A native of Freehold, N.J., the Born to Run rocker famously sang, “It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap, we gotta get out while we’re young.”
3) Count Basie
If the bandleader and Red Bank native were to form an all-time New Jersey jazz ensemble, he could draw upon such talents as Wayne Shorter, Cozy Cole, Woody Shaw, Jimmy Scott and long-time state homie Dizzy Gillespie.
2) Frank Sinatra
The Hoboken crooner loved spreading the news about New York, New York and, by his own admission, Chicago was his kind of town.
1) Jon Bon Jovi
He will be there for us. The hunky singer, Democratic Party enthusiast and glam-rock philanthropist is destined to become the first POTUS in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.