Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Eternal Voice

Francis Albert Sinatra, Hoboken, New Jersey's gift to the world, is one of my favorite singers. Today marks what would have been his 100th birthday.

I don't remember a time in my life when Frank Sinatra wasn't present. As a kid, his music was played in our house, along with Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis.  When my parents divorced and my mother remarried, my step-father Frank is the one who really amped up the Sinatra for me. Sinatra was (and still is) an icon. There wasn't a night at our family restaurant in the Catskills that Frank Sinatra wasn't playing.

Every waitress in the place knew the words to the songs drifting through the dining room and every once in a while someone would say, "Jesus Christ! Can someone change that tape??" They were referring to the 8-track tapes, all Sinatra, stacked in piles next to the player in the bar. If you didn't change the tape, it would play over and over and over again.  And after you've heard High Hopes or French Foreign Legion four times in the course of an evening, you know it's time to slip in another 8-track.

Sinatra songs were so embedded in my life and mind, that my cousin and I once did "High Hopes" on Karaoke Night at a bar. A bar where no one was over the age of 25, yet everyone knew the words because we were in New York. I have tons of Sinatra on my iPhone and Ed and I used to listen to a channel on SiriusXM Radio called Siriusly Sinatra. It's great driving music.

It's really hard for me to pick a favorite Sinatra song, but some of my top choices are:

Fly Me to the Moon

That's Life - performed live, 1966

All of Nothing at All

Come Fly With Me

I've Got a Crush on You - one of my favorite versions is the one he does with Barbra Streisand from the Duets album

Summer Wind

My Way - Live at Madison Square Garden, 1974. Sinatra's national anthem.

What Now, My Love? (crappy video but okay audio on this one)

You Make Me Feel So Young

Where of When

You Will Be My Music

I've Got You Under My Skin

Luck Be A Lady - "A lady doesn't wander all over the room and blow on some other guy's dice..."

and of course, the iconic anthem known all over the world...

New York, New York

Sinatra at the Sands is one of my favorite albums. Arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones, recorded live at the Copa Room of the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Sinatra sings, accompanied by Count Basie and his orchestra.  It's been called the "best live album anyone has made of any kind of music."

Frank Sinatra is the coolest "dude" ever. The shit.  The man. The Voice.  If you're a man and you don't want to be him, I don't want to know you. And if you're a woman and don't think that Sinatra is the smoothest guy that ever existed, I don't think I want to know you either. I kid.  But not really.

He's loved by millions.  And entertainment powerhouses sing his praises to this day.

"He was the epitome of what singing is all about, beautiful sounds, smooth as silk, effortless, impeccable phrasing, stylish, intelligent and full of heart." ~ Barbra Streisand

"Frank Sinatra's voice expresses more eloquence than I can ever say in mere words." ~ Billy Joel

"There will never be another Frank Sinatra." ~ Michael Buble

"Frank Sinatra took me to a whole new planet." ~ Quincy Jones

"To sing with Frank Sinatra in any capacity at all is overwhelming." ~ Linda Ronstadt

"Frank Sinatra represents a style that is the utmost of professionalism." ~ Phil Ramone

"He's just a gorgeous singer, understood the art of intimate singing." ~ Tony Bennett

If you can't get enough of Frank Sinatra on this day of his birth, or any day for that matter, check out some of these links.

TIME magazine's photo slideshow from Frank's life.

If you didn't catch this tribute on CBS, you should find it online and watch it.  Worth it.

Sid Mark's radio show, The Sounds of Sinatra.

Frank Sinatra's family shares these photos.

Playboy magazine's February 1963 interview with Frank Sinatra.

Hoboken remembers Frank.

And to hear Frank's best known and loved songs performed as duets with 
the likes of Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Willie Nelson, Chrissie Hynde, Luis Miguel, Anita Baker, Gloria Estefan, and more, check out Duets and Duets II.  I own both of these albums and I love them!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Crack O' Dawn

2013: Oh No You Didn't
2012: Nothing Is More Memorable Than A Day At The Lake
2011: The Champion Of Our Cause, The Protector Of Our Dreams
2010: Shuttin’ Down The Operation
2009: Rolling Out The Holiday Films
2008: No Rig Too Big
2007: Go Dasher, Go Dancer, Go Prancer, Go Vixen
2006: Untitled
2005: Unawarrior

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