The musician joined the iconic New Jersey band in 1965.

By Andrea Towers
April 22, 2021 at 10:23 AM EDT

Joe Long, the bassist for the iconic band the Four Seasons, died Thursday at age 88. Long had reportedly been recently struggling with COVID-19, but the cause of his death is unclear.

Longtime band members Frankie Vallie and Bob Gaudio confirmed Long's death on Facebook, writing "it is with great sadness that we learned that our dear bandmate, Joe Long, has passed away. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans."

Long joined the Four Seasons in 1965 after the band was looking to replace their original bassist, Nick Massi, who had been temporarily replaced by Charles Calello. Long recorded and performed with The Four Seasons throughout most of the mid-70s.

In an interview with a Jersey Boys musical fansite in 2007, Long spoke about the influence of The Four Seasons and how they've endured through generations, even with changing band members.

Joe Long
The Four Seasons, from left, Joe Long, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio, and Frankie Valli.
| Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

"I think people, all people, male, female, young or old, can identify with our music. The songs remind them of a favorite time, a special place, or a special guy or girl," Long said. "Also, our music seemed to be very personal, and easy to understand. As young guys, my friends and I used to hang out 'on street corners' and sing harmony. I think when people heard Seasons' records, they thought, 'Hey, we could do that!' Unfortunately, for them, it was not easy music to reproduce. But it gave that impression."

Long was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame with the rest of the band members in 2018. When he left the group, he founded a rock 'n roll group called LaBracio and the jazz band Jersey Bounce.

Related Content: