Formed by the former keyboardist and musical director for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons back in 2010, the Hit Men – who perform 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, at Stockton University’s Performing Arts Center – is a five-man band whose past combined partnerships with rock ’n’ roll’s elite might easier be identified by ruling out who they have not performed with than who they have.
The list of collaborations is staggering, and these are not simply upper-echelon players cherrypicked out of famed studio groups like the Wrecking Crew of Los Angeles or the Swampers of Muscle Shoals. Past histories include session work, but much of it was being on the road and in the trenches with the likes of Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple, John Entwistle of the Who, Jack Bruce of Cream, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Glenn Fry of the Eagles, Billy Joel, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Elton John, Tommy James – and the list goes on and on.
In some cases, the Hit Men split their touring availability with other bands, such as guitarist Tommy Williams, who is also a member of Philly’s famed rockers The Hooters. The other Hit Men include drummer and musical director Steve Murphy, keyboardist Mike DiMeo, guitarist Mark Newman and bassist Greg Smith.
All five members sing backup and alternate lead, depending on the bands/artists they are or were personally associated with. Past Hit Men set lists have included such hits as “For Your Love” by the Yardbirds, “Feels Like the First Time” by Foreigner, “Draggin’ the Line” and “I Think We’re Alone Now” as part of a Tommy James & the Shondells medley, “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Day After Day” by Badfinger, “Eye in the Sky” by the Alan Parsons Project, “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Grand Funk Railroad, “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick, “Big Shot” by Billy Joel, and several others.