PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - When Bob Crewe was growing up in New Jersey, he occasionally sang on street corners. He did not need instruction in music; he was a natural. “My brother didn’t read music,” says Dan Crewe, who has lived in Maine for many years. “Most people can’t figure out how he wrote all those hit songs. But he sang the songs and then he would have an arranger put them on charts.”
As a singer, Bob Crewe achieved only modest success. But working with the Four Seasons, he became one of the hottest songwriters and producers of the 1960s. His top ten hits with the band include “Sherry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Let’s Hang On” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” And he created hits for other artists: “Silence is Golden” by the Tremeloes, “Devil With a Blue Dress On” by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, and “Lady Marmalade,” a huge hit (“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?”) for Patti LaBelle in 1974 and an even bigger hit on the “Moulin Rouge” soundtrack in 2001 for Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink.
In 2014, after several years of poor health, Bob Crewe died in Scarborough. His legacy lives on at the Bob Crewe Gallery at the Maine College of Art in Portland, which was made possible by a donation of $3,000,000 from the Crewe Family Foundation. The foundation’s philanthropy is focused. “We can do so much more in Maine with less,” says Dan Crewe. “I used to say to my brother, ‘Bob, you want to give $50,000 to UCLA? It’s lunch money.’ You give $50,000 to 317 Main [a community music organization in Yarmouth], it’s a big deal.”
For more information about the Bob Crewe gallery check out https://www.meca.edu/about/institute-of-contemporary-art/bob-crewe-gallery/
For more information about the Bob Crewe Foundation go to https://crewe.foundation/