Another one tainted slightly by personal memories: on the jukebox at University, this was a chosen singalong track of the rugby lads. I did not like the rugby lads; they did not like me – ergo I did not like the song. In fact when I first acquired it for Popular, I had avoided it studiously since 1995 and firmly expected to hate it.
I don’t hate it. I don’t love it, either, but at a safe distance it wins me over: its warm combination of throwback pop and disco bump is inclusive enough to embrace me and my old college foes. Though it’s ironic that the best thing about “December, 1963” is its gentility: its sly lyrics full of vague little placeholders (“as I recall”, “as I remember”), and the chuckling “what a lady, what a night”. It’s quite the friendliest song about losing your virginity to a prostitute I can think of. Beyond the instant-impact chorus it never really takes off as a performance (none of the shared leads have the presence of Valli in his pomp, though to be fair their slight hesitancy suits the lyric), and the sudden, incongruous synth solo had me checking I hadn’t got hold of some bogus re-recording by accident. But I’m glad I’ve come round to it, however grudgingly.