Frank Sinatra at 100 Still Has Got The World On A String

imageWhen 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.”

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Bring Me Back to Doo-Wop

Doo-WopMicAll I hear from society is how my generation (the millennials) are the entitled type, technology obsessed, and selfish crazed kids of today.  I swear I had another life before being born in 1986 because everyone I have had experiences with from personal to professional has never believed my age starting from the time I was 20 to now.  I have been told I have an old soul, which means I’m mature for my age.  I am sure some of my friends would disagree with that statement considering I find shows that are meant for eleven year olds funny.  So, take me back to the 1950s where fine-knit sweaters, full skirts, and sling-back pumps were the fashion and the start of Rock n’ Roll and Doo-Wop music were coming into trend.

Meghan Trainor and Kevin Kadish have brought a twist with Trainor’s recently released pop album “Title” where each song is infused with multiple harmonies and simple instrumentation for that Doo-Wop sound, bringing all music lovers back to the life of American Bandstand, Drive-Ins, and the fearlessness of dancing in public.  Trainor’s track “Dear Future Husband” reminds me of “Runaround Sue” by Dion.  Granted “Runaround Sue” came out in 1961 and was done solo without The Belmonts, but Dion and the Belmonts started releasing Doo-Wop music in the late 1950s which included hits such as “A Teenager in Love” (1959) and “I Wonder Why” (1958).  I digress.  From the start of “Dear Future Husband” and “Runaround Sue” each song begins with a slow rhythm and begins to pick up tempo as the stage is set with the logistics of the storyline.  In Trainor’s case a man who will become her one and only and in Dion’s case a woman who he thought was his one and only.  I know ironic, but isn’t most Doo-Wop kind of ironic?  Think about it.  There is Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” (1956) or The Monotones “Book of Love” (1958).  All the Doo-Wop hits are about falling in love or broken love.  Again ironic considering they are different ends of the spectrum.

What makes Doo-Wop music so great and alluring?  Is it the smooth sound of a voice breaking through multiple harmonies?  The light and simple instrumentation keeping the beat in the background?  Is it the lyrics that are presented with emotion and passion?  I think Trainor and Kadish have brought back a sound that is heartfelt and has been missing from music for the last forty years.  Kadish, I applaud you for finally finding an artist that understood your vision on bringing back Doo-Wop.  So, is the millennial generation still bad?  Possibly.  But at least we can say we have one thing in common with the baby-boomers.  Doo-Wop is back!  The next time your parents tell you that the music today is crap just turn on Meghan Trainor.  I am sure they will fall in love (just as the world has) with her old-school classic vibrato, witty lyrics, and harmonized style.  Bring on the Doo-Wop.