When I think of romance and love, the first person that comes to mind is Frank Sinatra. The backing brass and big band sound, accompanied by his smooth and calming voice that flows through the lyrics of classics such as Fly Me To The Moon, Love and Marriage, and I’ve Got The World On A String gives me chills. These songs bring me into an image of a club in the 1940s as people dance cheek to cheek. Sinatra is one of the best selling artists of all time. He has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, and is considered one of the most popular and influential artists of the twentieth century.
He was more than a singer. Sinatra was an actor, producer, director, and he created a vision and persona around all that he was as an artist. A perfectionist, known for his impeccable dress sense. Image and sound were important to him. He always insisted on recording his band live during sessions so the sound was organic. Being a singer that learned music by ear and never learned to read music, I think he needed the sound to be live because it was how he learned to sing and react to the instruments being played.
It is the year of Sinatra’s centennial as society celebrates a hundred years of his existence. Even though he is gone, his legacy lives on through his music and movies. In the film On The Town, a construction worker asks Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Jules Munshin “What can happen in one day?” It isn’t important what can happen in a day, but those moments in a day that can change you as a person over a lifetime. He did that with every word he sang. What is interesting is the songs that Sinatra sang were never songs he wrote, but collaborations with various composers and lyricists – he was the one that made the songs famous; he was the one that made them classics.
Come Fly With Me, Witchcraft, and All The Way are iconic, and the epitome of sound that Sinatra stood for during the 1950s. In 2016, the 1950s are starting to show back up in music like with Panic! At The Disco’s new album Death of A Bachelor. It is full of trumpets, big drums, but a mix of rock n’ roll on tracks such as Crazy = Genius. Other artists like Michael Buble have that same old style, no matter how pop he tries to be. Songs like Haven’t Met You Yet, You and I, and Everything remind me that heartbreak can be minded, dreams can still be a reality, and a smooth voice can give you hope.
Sinatra followed and idolized artists like Bing Crosby. He wanted to work hard, and for everyone else to follow suit. In 1945 & 1946 he sang on 160 radio shows, recorded thirty-six times, shot four films, and performed up to forty-five times a week singing up to a hundred songs daily. He won eleven Grammys over his career. He release one hit after another, but my favorite will always be Young At Heart. Granted it isn’t one of his more popular songs, but the lyrics by Carolyn Leigh defines what it is like to get older and still feel that coloring or swinging in the park is great idea. In the words of Frank –
“You can go to extremes with impossible schemes.
You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams.
And life gets more exciting with each passing day.
And love is either in heart, or on it’s way.
Don’t you know that it’s worth every treasure on earth
To be young at heart.”