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Publicity photo of the music group The Rascals. June 1969.
Publicity photo of the music group The Rascals. June 1969.

Top 10 Jersey boys: The Garden State’s no joke when it comes to music Add to ...

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.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

10) Jonas Brothers

Their lips sang S.O.S. and Burnin’ Up, but their eyebrows said “trim me.”

Universal Pictures

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.

Steve Ruark/The Associated Press

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.

Andy Kropa/The Associated Press

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.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

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.”

Associated Press

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.

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

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.

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