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Valli: A lot of groups did. They just used falsetto a little differently than they did. We used it as a lead-in. We used it much stronger. Everybody else used it as background. In a lot of cases we used it as background, too. I sang lead and then when we were making the record I sang a high background part with it.

AP: At what point did you know you were onto something?

Valli: To be perfectly honest with you, at first when I decided to do pop music I wasn’t overly excited, you know? I was trying to do this jazz thing. Jazz wasn’t really happening to any great degree. Listening to the radio one day I said, `Hell, I can do this too.’

AP: What would we be surprised to learn that you listen to?

Valli: I like country music, I like jazz, and I like blues. (Bob) Dylan is probably one of my all-time favorite, favorite people that there is. Probably America’s greatest poet. I’ve always seen him as that. As (Bruce) Springsteen is the other side of Dylan. Dylan brings out everything that’s wrong in the world and Springsteen he finds things that are good.

AP: What was it like playing Rusty Millio on the “Sopranos”?

Valli: I loved it. It’s a part of my life that was really a part of my life, although I was never mobbed up. I grew up in New Jersey. I lived in a neighborhood where there was a presence of organized crime… but all the clubs and bars that everybody worked in were owned by these guys. So I got to know everybody.

AP: What did you have for lunch?

Valli: We went for a corned beef sandwich on Houston Street _ Katz Deli. The secret isn’t in not how much meat it is. I don’t know if you noticed but they cut it with a knife. It doesn’t cut on a machine because it just crumbles. There are no places that do it like that anymore. They undercook it in most places, because they get more sandwiches out of it. You overcook it, and it shrinks. But that’s the only way it tastes just right.

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Online: http://www.frankievallionbroadway.com

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John Carucci covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/jcarucci_ap