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Stardust – Frank Sinatra

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:34+00:00 October 8th, 2012|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Stardust, originally “Star Dust”, was firstly a song composed by Hoagy Carmichael in the year 1927. Two years later, in 1929, Mitchell Parish wrote the lyrics for Stardust. It is certainly a standard and was sung and recorded by many artists of jazz-swing era, including Frank Sinatra. Stardust was not just “one” of the songs that Sinatra sang, but a sentimental ballad Sinatra performed almost in perfection.

Stardust Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra first sang Stardust when he was in the band of Harry James. In fact, the very first song Frank sang with Harry James’ orchestra was Stardust. Jack Palmer, a trumpeter of Harry James said: “Just before the second show, Harry came out and introduced him as the new singer with the band. Frank then joined us at the next date we had, which I believe was in New Haven, Connecticut. I’ll never forget how Harry introduced him to the audience. He said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is our new vocalist, and we don’t have any arrangements for him as yet. Frank, do you think we can scare something up for you to sing?” Sinatra called out “Stardust,” which is not the easiest song to sing. Frank gave us the key and the piano and rhythm section began, and we just tried to get some background to hold it all together.

A version of Stardust can be found in Frank Sinatra and Harry James Complete Recordings. Compared to later versions, this Stardust version has a noticeable faster tempo.

Stardust had its part in Jo Stafford’s memories as well. Jo Stafford says: “We knew we were going to have a boy singer, but we didn’t know anything about him. We didn’t even meet him before the first show. Out came this rather frail looking young man with a whole bunch of hair. I just thought, hmm kinda thin. But he sang no more than a few bars of “Stardust” and a great hush fell over the theatre. Nobody had ever sounded like that before.”

Herb Sanford, Tommy Dorsey’s radio producer (after hearing Sinatra singing Stardust): “Boy, this is something else.”

Apparently, Sinatra sang Stardust to impress people after joining both Harry James’ and Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra.

In 1940, 11th of November, Frank Sinatra recorded Stardust with Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and showed us how Stardust should be performed; slower tempo, and a slow start of “Some-times-I-Won-der-Why-I-Spend The-lonely-Nights”. In this version, Sinatra starts to sing with “The Pied Pipers”, and just in the middle of “Nights”, Pied Pipers stop, and Frank Sinatra completes the word “Nights” in an amazing way, with a brilliant voice. The “You were in my arms” part is also quite notable. Stardust is one of the leading successful songs of Tommy Dorsey era of Frank Sinatra, and was a big hit in the year 1941.

“The 1940 “Stardust” is strictly the “Smile Again” layout applied to another tune. And most effectively too, judging by its effect on Buddy Rich, who was hardly the band’s sensitivity specialist. Rich, who prided himself on being hyper masculine and downright ant sentimental, later confided to friend Mel Torme that Sinatra’s rendition of “Stardust” had him hiding his face so that no one would catch a glimpse of his tears.” (SINATRA! The Song Is You by Will Friedwald)

A famous Stardust version of Sinatra is from 1943, performed in “Your Hit Parade”. It was presented by Lucky Strike, and the video of it is available.

Frank Sinatra recorded Stardust again in his album “Sinatra and Strings” in 1962 under Reprise Records. Don Costa arranged and conducted the song this time, yet this time Sinatra sang only the verse of the song. (And now the purple dusk of twilight time…) Only the verse itself with a beautiful string section is enough, as the recording shows us.
“Costa penned an elaborate introduction, proving he wasn’t averse to writing a verse to a verse for the Voice. This intro was a key reason why Sinatra guitarist Tony Mattola cited “Stardust” as his favorite Sinatra performance. “Don sets it up like almost a tone poem in the beginning,” he said, “and it could stand by itself as a classical piece.” Then Frank just sings this lovely verse, and then Don ends it, as he does in the beginning. Whoever thought of that idea-whether it was Frank or Don or whoever-it’s completely original and absolutely beautiful.” (SINATRA! The Song Is You by Will Friedwald)

Stardust would never be a choice for Sinatra’s concerts, but the brilliant versions from 1940’s are definitely more than enough.

Frank Sinatra Forum

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:36+00:00 June 23rd, 2012|Categories: Other|

In order to expand the services of TheFrankSinatra.com, we now have a forum for Frank Sinatra fans too!

You can visit the forum in the following link:

forum.thefranksinatra.com

Frank Sinatra Forum

The reason for having a forum is to create an environment where people can talk anything about Frank Sinatra freely, since we lack such a place as Sinatra fans.

Topics about Frank Sinatra will be visible to every forum member and visitor. This will be the place to talk about Sinatra’s albums from different eras, concert and other performances, musical career, movies, personal life etc.

In order to be able to post in and view the Audio-Video section, a user should have 100 posts in forum, and it will be worth it. YouTube will be used to share performances, as it automatically removes the performances with copyrights. Copyright is very important in this matter, as for both legal and ethic reasons, we should respect the owner of the material. When a video is added on YouTube, the system automatically checks the visual and audio part of the uploaded file and blocks the video to all users if it violates the copyrights.

In order to introduce users with concerts and other material, a person with 15 posts will be given a full concert link and two audio concerts. Once a user reaches 50 posts, two additional concerts and three more audio concerts, which are uploaded to YouTube by me in private setting, will be given to the user. After 100th post, the user will be given access to audio – video section of the Frank Sinatra Forum and from here to eternity, all already available material and the material coming in the future will be fully available. This means that a user with at least 100 posts will have access to at least 25 video concerts and 200 audio concerts in a long term. Contribution by other users will highly increase these numbers.

Frank Sinatra – My Way (Song)

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:37+00:00 April 17th, 2012|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

My Way can be considered as the most popular song of Frank Sinatra, just like Strangers In The Night can be. My Way is actually an English version of the French song “Comme d’habitude”, the French and English lyrics are not related to each other though.

The earlier English version of “Comme d’habitude” was “Even A Fool Learns To Love” by David Bowie, but he could not record it as it was not accepted.

Months later, this time,  Frank Sinatra’s “little Arab friend” Paul Anka wrote lyrics of My Way from “Comme d’habitude”.  Here is a quote of him:

“I had a house in France, which was where I heard the Claude Francois record. I liked the melody, but not the words so much. I knew the French publisher and they gave me the song, and I thought I would re-construct the feel of the song. I met Frank where he was filming Tony Rome, and he said he was retiring. The song became a composite of my life and his, but mostly his. I made a demo with a session singer, called him; I said that I thought I had something pretty sensational. Don saw the worth of it – Frank stayed cool, but I knew he liked it. Three, four, five weeks later, I had a phone call and they said ‘listen to this’ and played the record over the phone to me. They were very excited! I’d never had a song quite of that substance. It was pressed up. but they threw the first run copies away because they didn’t like the mix” (Sinatra, Richard Havers).

Written by Paul Anka, based on the music of French song “Comme d’habitude”, Frank Sinatra recorded the song “My Way” on 30Th of December, 1968. It then became the title song for Sinatra’s 1969 Reprise Album, My Way.

My Way Frank Sinatra

My Way was not a worldwide hit when it first came out, but as Frank Sinatra got older, and as Sinatra’s fans got older, My Way became much more important. Though it was Frank Sinatra’s signature song, also called as “the national anthem”, Sinatra himself never liked the song, but he also did not hate “My Way” as much as he hated “Strangers In The Night”.

Barbara Sinatra: Songs like “Strangers In The Night” or “My Way”, which he’d been asked to sing over and over again since 1960s, did absolutely nothing for him. He always said the words were not subtle enough, too “on the nose.” Knowing that he’d still have to sing them at every concert, he’d try to lighten the experience by joking with the auidence that those tunes had kept him in pizza for years.

Sinatra sang My Way in many of his concerts. It is hard to think of a concert after 1970’s without My Way, as it was probably the most requested song. Here is one of the many great versions.

What Did Frank Sinatra Say About My Way?

Frank Sinatra: This of course was written by Paul Anka, and orchestrated by the late Don Costa, and it was very good to me, the first time we recorded it. ( ?? )

Frank Sinatra: This song represents the best part of Paul Anka’s talent. (25 May 1975 Frankfurt)

Frank Sinatra: We can’t do a show without this song. Paul Anka wrote it, Don Costa orchestrated it. (21 November 1993, Ledyard)

Frank Sinatra: Now, we are going to do the national anthem, but you needn’t get up. Why are you laughing? I am very serious. (13 June 1974, Caesars Palace)

Frank Sinatra: Well, here comes the old chestnut. It is a marvelous piece of music. I wish the hell I knew it. (24 April 1994, RCMH)

Frank Sinatra: This is either getting better or I am getting used to it, I think. (5 October 1991, Frankfurt)

Frank Sinatra: I hate this song, oh I hate this song. Hey you sing it for 8 years, you would hate it too! Don’t give me that jazz. Sure I love it, I’d like to get one every week. (5 May 1978, Caesars Palace)

Frank Sinatra: This is a song that has got a great deal for my career, and it was brought to me by my little friend, Mr. Paul Anka. (??)

Frank Sinatra: This is Paul Anka and a much more serious Frank. (27 August 1977, Caesars Palace)

Frank Sinatra: Here’s a song we like you to hear, possibly for the first time you have ever heard it. Paul Anka’s great song. (12 December 1990, Meadowlands Arena NJ)

Frank Sinatra: You know, I would like to do a song for you that was born in this building. The daddy was Paul Anka, and the mother was a French composer named Jacques Revaux. I would say, of the end of my lifetime, as a performer, as a singer, I’ve had the fortune of singing wonderful wonderful songs, from great talented people. And this particular song is one of the highlights of my career. (26 March 1975, Caesars Palace)

Frank Sinatra: We have something here that has become a big favorite, in the world as a matter of fact. It’s about 7 years old. It was written by young Paul Anka, and arrangement by Don Costa. If you please.  (27 November 1975, Israel)

Frank Sinatra: We will now do the national anthem, but you needen’t rise. (10-13-1974, Madison Square Garden)*

Frank Sinatra: But I figure, I’ll do a request, my own request because you did this evening your way, we’re gonna do it my way. (4-8-1974, Carnegie Hall)*

Frank Sinatra: This is a song we can never leave out, written by Paul Anka, and orchestrated by uh … Tom Mix. I don’t know who orchestrated the song. Hugiption that did it … Don Costa did the orchestration. (12-10-1993, American West Arena)*

Frank Sinatra: Oh yes, unfortunately … Paul Anka’s greatest song, and Don Costa’s
marvelous arrangement. (11-13-1975, London Palladium)*

Frank Sinatra: So tonight, it’s hats off to the tunesmith! That gallant and immensely talented breed, that has ever given everyone in the world who has ever lived a chance to say, “They’re playing my song.” Doesn’t it get you right there? (?. 1969)*

Frank Sinatra: Something by Paul Anka who is, com quite of a composer, a singer, a lyricist, and also as a great performer. (5-29-1975, Royal Albert Hall)*

Frank Sinatra: I’ve been doing the song for 7 years! I’ve had it up to here! I’ve had it up to hear! (12-31-1975, Chicago Stadium)*

*Thanks to Michael Wind for his contributions for the famous Frank Sinatra song, My Way

 

Dennis Rowland Interview About Frank Sinatra

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:37+00:00 March 27th, 2012|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The most important thing about Dennis Rowland, in terms of reputation, is that he started to work with Count Basie Orchestra in 1977 and continued to be the orchestra’s vocalist for 7 years. Famous singers like Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams had been a part of the Basie Orchestra before, and having their spot and singing with the Count Basie Orchestra is no doubt very incredible and a life-time experience. Dennis Rowland also shared the stage with Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald, which is very important to mention.

I must say Dennis Rowland has a really great voice and phrasing. He is completely able to deliver the lyrics to you, in a rich and strong way. My ideas are based on studio recordings and online videos, but I am sure it must feel great to see him singing live. He obviously enjoys singing a lot, and is full of life on stage. This way, he fills the stage and warms you with his unique voice.

Dennis Rowland - Frank Sinatra Interview

Dennis Rowland

Dennis Rowland, thankfully, has been interested in answering my questions about Frank Sinatra.

Hello Mr. Rowland, I am Ozgun Akalin, owner of TheFrankSinatra.com. I would like to thank for accepting to answer my questions and sparing your time. I also want to thank because I have been able to contact you directly, instead of via a manager. Your personally answering your fans is really great!

I would like to start with my questions now, here they are.

Have you felt “complete” after being the vocalist of Count Basie Orchestra, or do you consider those years as a starting point of a new era of your life which includes more things to accomplish?

At the time, I looked at it as being the beginning of a new phase. I had been singing around Detroit, for years. Joining the band was huge.

A lot of my career, I owe to Mr. Basie. There were of course, some disappointments, but, still worth it. Though I recorded with the band, I was not credited……On The Road.

I have 3 cds on Concord Records, along with several compilations. Records with Ray Anthony.Les Brown, and Joe Sample. I tour Russia, and Germany yearly.

Sinatra and you enjoy singing same songs, worked with Count Basie, and have a unique style. Apparently, you have many things in common with Sinatra in terms of music. Do you think you are walking a similar path like Sinatra walked in his long life? In what ways do you think you are similar to and differ from him?

As far as being similar is concerned, again thank you for your opinion. As a singer, we share a similar vocal range. Yes, we share repetoire, but he was the first to sing some of them. He also was fortunate to know a lot of the composers, personally. All the arrangers wanted to write for him. He had first choice.

His phrasing, and musicianship, are legendary. All of us owe him a debt of gratitude. As a singer with bands, he was able to hear and learn. Much like me, but the difference, I think, is that in his day, he had radio, movies, and of course, live show opportunities, that helped him.

I had lots of live shows, but the other avenues were not there. Jazz players loved him, because he was one of them. Like him, I too am a band guy. I was never given any billing. There was no effort to advance my career, past being the band’s singer. I made my rep., performing live. If you didn’t see me you didn’t know who I was.

What do you think about Frank Sinatra in general? How would you consider his affect in jazz, or music as a broader topic?

His effect on music, all consuming. Class in performance. His swingability. His approach to newer material, ie: pop tunes..beatles, jobim,. 

Do you have any memories related to Frank Sinatra that make you smile when you remember? Can be a show if you watched him live, or a chat you had with your friends, maybe William Basie, about him.

I was blessed to be at a recording session for, Duets 1. His singing of ‘Tears Out To Dry’, will be with me always. Thanks to Gregg Field, I was able to attend.

My last question is, on what are you focusing in your musical career these years? What are your plans for the future?

I have done many nusicals,J.C.Superstar, Chicago. Big River, and two short films. Real Gone Cat, and Fagland Tales. Lots of commercials, and voiceovers. I continue to persist, and pursue, mycareer. Would I like more work, yes. Would I record again, yes. I remain active, and available.

Thank you Dennis Rowland, for answering the questions frankly. I wish you accomplish more in your future career.

Dennis Rowland Singing

Dennis Rowland Singing

Well, I have some opinions about Dennis Rowland. I have listened many jazz singers in the past years, and after listening so great performances, it is not easy to name someone “good”, of course. But I really find Dennis Rowland “good”.  Not that he sings all songs very nice (in my opinion of course), but his one performance has shown me what he is really capable of. I have watched his live performances on YouTube, and “You Go To My Head” really hit me.

His voice is simply amazing. He has a wonderful tone, and is really affecting. I would like to include his performance in my post.

His performance has a very suitable arrangement and orchestration for this song, which helps him deliver the lyrics as intended. I would like to compare this version with Sinatra’s, and I must say I like this more. I think this song suits better to Dennis Rowland’s way of singing.

“Though I am certain, that this heart of mine, hasn’t a ghost of a chance, in this crazy romance, you go to my head”

Just listen to the part “in this crazy romance”, and see how he makes the song his own with 4 words. After this, orchestration takes the lead, which could be much better, and Dennis Rowland starts with the last part of the song, which I love most.

“The thrill of the thought that you might give a thought to my plea, casts a spell over me”
“So I say to myself, get a hold of yourself, can’t you see, this never can be

He completes these 2 well sang lines with a unique phrasing of “this never can be”, which tastes of a little Armstrong, more Rowland.

“You intoxicate my soul with your eyes”, again a beautifully sang line, again continues with,
“Though I am certain, that this heart of mine, hasn’t a ghost of a chance, in this crazy romance, you go, you go to my head” which is again very outstanding. This time, he sings “you go to my head” part much much better and ends the song awesome as it deserves, which surprised me.

It surprised me, because I never thought I would listen such a great version of this song. I always felt something missing for this song. It is a very great song, but it could be much better. Thanks to Mr. Dennis Rowland, “You Go To My Head” has become my favorite song for the last days, and has taken its place among my playlist.

My opinions, of course, are very open to discussion as everyone’s taste is different. But I think Dennis Rowland´s version is the best version of this song, much better than Sinatra’s.

Information About Interviews

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:37+00:00 March 26th, 2012|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , |

There will be many interviews posted on www.thefranksinatra.com in the following months, and I would like to give some information about them.

I am and will be conducting interviews with jazz musicians. Some of them have decades of experience in music industry, some are the musicians of 2000’s.

These interviews are conducted via email. I cannot interview them in person due to my location. I am not interviewing them via phone due to following reasons:

Firstly, I want the musicians to think about the questions as long as they want, and come up with their best answer. This way, they can add information they might forget to. Secondly, English is my second language, and I might be unable to understand what is told from time to time.

I prepare around 5 questions for each artist, and these are well studied questions for one’s personality and career.

I believe these interviews will be a very great and important part of thefranksinatra.com, as they reflect the thoughts of very important musicians’s about Frank Sinatra.

My intention is to interview not only with jazz musicians but also with other famous artists in time.

Hope you find them interesting and worthy.

Ben Sidran Interview – Frank Sinatra

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:37+00:00 March 20th, 2012|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , |

The jazz pianist, vocalist and song writer Ben Sidran has been kind enough to answer my questions about Frank Sinatra through an interview.

Ben Sidran, interview about Frank Sinatra

Ben Sidran

Hello Ben Sidran. I am Ozgun Akalin, owner of TheFrankSinatra.com. First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting to interview with me. I believe the readers of my site shall be quite interested in your answers about Sinatra, as you are a very talented artist. And the opinions of a great and world-wide popular artist such as you shall be highly respected and found worthy. Let me start with my first question.

As a great pianist and musician, you create your own music and sing/play them most of the time. And we clearly can see that you have tried to avoid singing and playing famous jazz pieces throughout your career. What is your personal opinion about artists’s covering songs instead of writing their own and where do you see yourself in this argument? Do you like singers covering famous Sinatra songs over and over?

The reason people continue to cover songs that Sinatra made famous is because Sinatra had impeccable taste and the songs he sang included all the great songs of the era. These songs are still — fifty years later — the greatest vehicles to express everyday human emotions, and so it is understandable that people continue to sing them. Sinatra is the standard for how they should be sung because of his great talent and his unique style that made every listener believe he was singing to them. I do not try to cover old songs but from time to time, I find myself doing it because the songs “call me”.

But there are still few songs that Frank Sinatra had sang and you have covered. Everything Happens To Me, which you had included in your album “Sentimental Journey”, is one of them. In fact, Everything Happens To Me was first recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1941 with Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra. What do you think about Sinatra’s and your version, how would you compare them?

I believe “Everything Happens to Me” was from my album “Too Hot to Touch” which also included “On the Sunny Side of the Street”. It was recorded in 1989 and although I could never compare my version to Sinatra’s, I did feel I found a sincere and relaxed place to sing them and very personal arrangements to support that.

Has Frank Sinatra somehow affected you at any point in your musical/personal life?

Frank Sinatra was very important to me from the first time I heard him sing “Birth of the Blues” back in the 50s and all throughout my college years; “Only the Lonely” remains one of the greatest records ever made.

And when listening to music, do you prefer Sinatra? If yes, which songs of Sinatra do you prefer?

I have so many choices these days, I usually put my computer on “shuffle” and just let the music wash over me but I am always happy when it turns up Sinatra.

We have come to last question. What do you think about Frank Sinatra? It can be about his style, career, influence on music industry or anything.

Frank was simply a modern man with great empathy and courage and his style of singing and living shaped a generation and then another and then another.

Mr. Sidran, thank you again for interviewing with me. I am sure Frank Sinatra fans will be quite satisfied. I wish you success and ultimate creativity in your life and music. Interviewing with you was a pleasure.

Ben Sidran Frank Sinatra Interview

Ben Sidran has some very nice songs, and I love that he includes lots of saxophone parts in his songs. Saxophone is simply my favourite instrument in jazz music.

For further reference and information about Ben Sidran, please refer to following links. There are also many great live performances of him on YouTube.

http://www.bensidran.com/bios/index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Sidran

 

America Dances Program 19-07-1939

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:37+00:00 March 20th, 2012|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , |

On 19th of July, 1939, Frank Sinatra and Harry James‘s band had a broadcast, America Dances Program. And we are very grateful to have this 73 year old piece available to us.

Frank Sinatra Harry James America Dances Program

Frank Sinatra Harry James America Dances Program

 

 

The following paragraphs are taken from covers of America Dances disc.

Fine diamonds, vintage wines, classic cars, McKinley buttons. They all fit in the same category. Look under the column entitled “rare”. To a collector of recorded broadcast music, the Harry James band of 1939 would also belong under the heading.

One of the Golden Years in the era of the big bands, 1939 saw the opening of the New York World’s Fair, the start of World War II, and the advent of the James band. Harry, having made his mark with the great Benny Goodman aggregation, set out in January of that year to front his own group, one with a definate emphasis on swing and build quire understandably, around the leader’s horn. With his own band and arrangements tailored to his liking, Harry had more space in which to develop his solos, as opposed to playing jazz trumpet as a sideman and having to condense his ideas into 8 or 16 bar solo spot.

The band had a recording contract with Brunswick and held their first session in February. Out of the thirty five sides released that year, (sixteen on Brunswick and the rest on Columbia, which Harry joined in August) seventeen were instrumentals. Handling the vocals initially was Bernice Byers, who was succeeded by Connie Haines, heard here in this July broadcast. The first male vocalist (not including scat-singing trumpeter Jack Palmer) was a wavy-haired and thin-faced young man named Frank Sinatra. This may have something to do with the fact that these ’39 James are so rare, because this was Frank’s first job with a band.

The first selection here was broadcast from an engagement at New York’s famous Roseland Ballroom. Shorty George, a tune recorded by the Count Basie band the previous year, includes solos by Harry, Claude Lakey on tenor and Jumbo Jack Gardner on piano. It is interesting to note that Lakey, during his long association with the band, played tenor, alto, and used to double as the fourth man in the trumpet section at times.

To You, a hit ballad of the day, was recorded by Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. The James version was not recorded but is sung ably by Sinatra, who exhibits some of the fine qualities which made him one of the most celebrated in popular music in the ensuing years. On his early recordings, the voice quality is thinner due to the higher keys associated with youth, but note Frank’s unique pronunciation and good pitch. The great phrasing had not yet developed but was certainly adequate.

King Porter Stomp is a ave Matthews arrangement recorded earlier in the year and features Harry, Lakey, Gardner, and the afore mentioned Matthews on alto. Just six days before this broadcast, the band had recorded From The Bottom Of My Hear, the first record made by Sinatra, and one which will give you an idea of why that Brunswick recording is one of the rarest in existence. The version heard here features a full chorus solo by Harry which had been cut down to half on the recording so as to fit within the limits of the old 78’s. The spot of tenor is by Lakey.

Beer Barrel Polka is presented first as a straight-laced version, which moves into a bright swing following a drum break into the second chorus, and ends after a cut to half-time, all of which must have confused the dancers in the ballroom back in those days when they had a name for every step you did on the floor! Solos are by James, Lakey and Matthews.

Connie Haines sings the obscure White Sails, and does so in that cute “Litthe Girl” voice later heard with the Tommy Dorsey band.

In the penultimate item, the band gives the Lunceford opus Well Alright a typical 1939 treatment with the band singing and clapping behind Jack Palmer’s scat vocal. Lakey’s tenor is followed by a rousing James solo and later by a last chorus ensemble borrowed from King Porter.

The Two O’clock Jump, which became the tune most associated with James through the years, is the blues in F and Db. Originally done by the Count Basie band as the One O’Clock Jump, Harry added cascading triplets in the last chorus and moved the clock ahead an hour. This is the full arrangement, and includes whole sections out of the recording the band had made earlier in the year. Harry still carries the tune in the book and has recorded it many times, each time with some variations or additions.

Side 2 presents the band in 1940. Sinatra had already left to join Tommy Dorsey after the band’s engagement at Victor Hugo’s in Los Angeles at the end of 1939, and the singer following Frank was Fran Heines out of Canada. One day another young man made an appointment to sing some of his songs for Harry. James told the lad hi didn’t like the songs but he’d certainly like him to join the band as a singer. His name, Dick Haymes, soon to be recognized as the possessor of one of the fines voices ever. Dick replaced Heines and stayed with the band until late 1941, when he left to join Tommy Dorsey, ironically enough again to replace Frank Sinatra!

Harry had a new recording contract with U.S. Recording Co. which produced records on the Varsity label. The quality was poor and, as a result of 1940 band was never heard at its best on records. Although the selections heard on this broadcast are not representative of the great library of swinging instrumentals the band had acquired (Don Redman was contributing scores at the time), it does feature some of the tunes the band recorded.

Maybe, a Jack Matthias arrangement, features Dick Haymes with a voice matured well beyond his years. Very impressive is the resonance Dick always managed to achieve in the low register.

Concerto For Trumpet features Harry as the virtuoso that he is, playing the famous original composition which had been recorded in Los Angeles only the previous autumn. James did this often in the early years – mixing the technical with the classics, the ballads and the swing

Dick returns to sing “Too Romantic” a ballad featured that year in the movie The Road to Singapore, one of the early Hope-Crosby classics. The tenor sax solo in the first chorus is by Vido Musso, who joined the band earlier in the year. Vido had played in the  Goodman band with Harry a few years before.

The side closes with Feet Draggin’ Blues another James original recorded a year earlier and which was among Harry’s most popular arrangements. This too remained in the book a long time afterward.

The 1939-40 James band years are said by many to be the best and swinginist. In any case, these rare early boradcast are a welcomed addition to any Collection.

Bob Friedlander

Mr. Bob Friedlander is a professional arranger, composer, and conductor, and has arranged for such big bands as Harry James, Sam Donahue, Richard Maltby, Ralph Flanagan, Johnny Long. He provided music for Grace Kelly’s wedding in Monaco, and Mike Todd’s birthday party for Elizabeth Taylor. He was assistant arranger to George Williams on the Jackie Gleason show. Born in Balwin N.Y., Bob was a first hand spectator of the James band in the early 40’s.

Special thanks to Kate Peart, Peter Johnston, and Dan Mather for aid in the production of this album.

The part above is from the back of America Dances Program.

1939-07-19 Frank Sinatra Harry James America Dances Program LP

1939-07-19 Frank Sinatra Harry James America Dances Program LP

The first part of the America Dances disc, as mentioned, is from 19th July 1939. The other side of the America Dances disc is from 1940, with Dick Haymes as vocal instead of Frank Sinatra, as Sinatra had left Harry James’s band to join Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra.

2 songs of the America Dances Program includes Frank Sinatra, which are “To You” and “From The Bottom Of My Heart”. The other songs either has Dick Haymes, or no vocals, just orchestra. As known, most of the songs in the big band era are instrumental only, or they give very small part to vocal.

To You is a kind of song that makes you say. “Why don’t we have more songs of early Sinatra?” . The quality is quite nice despite it was recorded 73 years ago from a broadcast, and is very enjoyable. The phrasing is just as expected, and I especially love “I’ll be forever yours” and “Your smile made the clouds and the shadows on high take wings” parts, very lovely. Due to the quality, the band parts are better listened with low sound.

From The Bottom Of My Heart is the second and last song song that Sinatra sings in this album. I find every line very well phrased and the orchestration is wonderful. When listening, you can realize how wonderful the “If You’d Say I Love You” line is sang. Just to hear this line, I can listen to this recording again and again.

America Dances Program of Frank Sinatra with Harry James Orchestra is surely a must for all Sinatra fans who love his early years, as it has a historical value. Early recordings are hard to come by as Sinatra was not very popular those times, most of them are lost. With these recordings, we can understand Frank Sinatra better, and see how his voice changed and improved in time.

 

The Song Is You (Box Set) – CD 1

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:37+00:00 March 8th, 2012|Categories: Albums|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The first CD of The Song Is You Box Set has many great songs of Frank Sinatra as expected; and firstly, let us take a look at the song list.

Frank Sinatra The Song Is You Box Set CD 1

Frank Sinatra The Song Is You Box Set CD 1

 

Frank Sinatra The Song Is You Box Set CD 1 Song List

Frank Sinatra The Song Is You Box Set CD 1 Song List

The Song Is You Box Set, CD 1 Song List

1. The Sky Fell Down
2. Too Romantic
3. Shake Down the Stars
4. Moments in the Moonlight
5. I’ll Be Seeing You
6. Say It
7. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
8. Fable of the Rose
9. This Is the Beginning of the End
10. Hear My Song, Violetta
11. Fools Rush in (Where Angels Fear to Tread)
12. Devil May Care
13. April Played the Fiddle
14. I Haven’t Time to Be a Millionaire
15. Imagination
16. Yours Is My Heart Alone
17. You’re Lonely and I’m Lonely
18. East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)
19. Head on My Pillow
20. It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow
21. I’ll Never Smile Again
22. All This and Heaven Too
23. Where Do You Keep Your Heart

I’ll Be Seeing You, Fools Rush In, Imagination, I’ll Never Smile Again are the songs that draw the attention as they can be considered as the most popular songs of Frank Sinatra’s Tommy Dorsey era, but these are not all. The first CD of The Song Is You box set has many amazing songs. Following comments are on the songs that I find at least “worth” listening, in my humble opinion, for the first CD of The Song Is You Box Set.

 

The Sky Fell Down, a very smooth piece, is sang by Frank Sinatra very well, and always is a great alternative to his popular songs. Well performed and recommended.

Too Romantic, again a great example. Lyrics might not be the best, but performance of the orchestra and Sinatra  make up for it.

Shake Down The Stars can be considered as “different” compared to other songs in the disc due to the arrangement and tempo, which make it great! Hard to realize how fast the song plays, quite enjoyable. The song also includes good saxophone parts, simply beautiful orchestration.

Moments In The Moonlight: I find the trombone parts at the beginning and end too much and loud, but when Frank Sinatra starts to sing, his talent makes it unimportant for me. The way he phrases “Moonlight” and following parts are especially quite nice, unique to Sinatra himself.

I’ll Be Seeing You is no doubt a very important song of Sinatra. Very hard to describe the beauty of this song with words. “I’ll be looking at the moon” part at minute 2:00 is sang a bit fast in my opinion, but the rest is pure perfection. Excellent performance and orchestration. No doubt it is many people’s favorite of Dorsey era.

Say It can be considered as an unpopular song of Sinatra. Nothing interesting with the lyrics, I like the “Say it, ooover and o-ver again” part though. Arrangement of finishing section could be better.

Polka Dots And Moonbeams is definitely one of my favorites, waiting for many people to be discovered. One of the many great songs that shows characteristics of Sinatra’s voice at the beginning of 1940’s. Recommended.

This Is The Beginning Of The End: Too fast. Sinatra loves to put emphasis on lyrics a lot, but when it is this fast, song loses a lot of its meaning, if it has any potential.

Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread): Another treasure from 1940’s. Fools rush in, where wise men never go. But wise men never fall in love, so how are they to know? Just amazing, a must.

Devil May Care begins with an ordinary arrangement of big band era songs. Nothing special, but worth a try.

April Played The Fiddle: Good arrangement and orchestration, OK song.

I Haven’t Time to Be a Millionaire: Could be one of the songs of Sinatra that you listen once in a blue moon.

Imagination could use a much better arrangement as it has huge potential. Sinatra later proved that this song can be performed way more beautifully. Still, it is very nice to listen this song from the “early” Sinatra.

East Of The Sun: Here is an interestingly beautiful song. Arrangement is very well for this song, and Sinatra simply shows his amazing singing talent. If there were no vocals except Sinatra, East of The Sun could be a lot better.

I’ll Never Smile Again: Pied Pipers and Frank Sinatra at their best. Simply beautiful and charming song, could not get any better than this version. The more you listen the song, the better you realize how good it is. Perfection.

All This And Heaven Too is an unpopular song of early years of Frank Sinatra, despite its beauty. The song begins with a smooth arrangement, with an excellent combination of instruments, continuing with Sinatra’s charming performance. The song’s lyrics are also very well written by Jimmy Van Heusen.

You give me your love and your love is a melody,
Deep in my heart I will carry this song with me,
You bring a love so divine, all this is mine
And heaven too.

To sum up, the first CD of this 5 CD The Song Is You Box Set is very satisfactory and a very important piece for Frank Sinatra fans with its 23 songs. It helps us to understand Sinatra’s early years, which are quite marvelous, a lot better. In time, I will post information about other CD´s of The Song Is You box set.

Birthday of Frank Sinatra – Happy Birthday

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:37+00:00 December 12th, 2011|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On December 12, 1990, Frank Sinatra celebrated his birthday by giving a concert at Meadowlands, and having a party after it. During the concert, Sinatra started with “You Make Me Feel So Young”, sang many songs, New York New York with Liza Minnelli, and songs with Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence. At the end of the concert, every single person at the Brendan Byrne Arena shouted “Happy Birthday” to him.

Frank Sinatra: This is without a doubt the finest birthday celebration I think I’ve ever had in my life. Not think, I know. I just simply want to say I love you all dearly and I thank you for taking part in this wonderful night for me. I should never forget as long as I live. God bless you all, and good night. Thank you.

After the concert, Barbara Sinatra threw a party for Frank at Waldorf Hotel with a hundred people. She rose to her feet, made a toast, and said:

“Darling, All these years you’ve given the world beautiful, wonderful music, but you have given me the world… One more thought, the fourth time around is really lovely!” said Barbara to Frank Sinatra at the private party after his Meadowlands concert in New Jersey Wednesday on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

Mrs. Sinatra was a dedicated and ravishing hostess at the Waldorf in New York when about 200 of the creme de la creme of the Sinatra world gathered to exude the milk of human kindness together.

The party was fairly low-key and sedate, yet warm and informal. Sinatra did a karate chop at his birthday cake, as if dismissing it, and he seemed overcome with emotion after all the speeches, particularly by his wife and children. So he decided to make a few jokes about the room’s sound system. “Charlie Waldorf better get in there and do something about this room; I’ve lived in this hotel for years and was never in here before. I never want to party here again.” This was all jest and comic relief.

Steve Lawrence, as emcee, said: “A lot of people would like to say something to you tonight, Frank, but some of them have day jobs.” New York Mayor David Dinkins commented that “the danger with success is that it makes us forget injustice. This is not true of you, Mr. Chairman!”

Alan King: “Mozart and Caruso could not have given me the pleasure Frank Sinatra gave me for 50 years!”

Jule Styne dubbed Sinatra “the only man who phrases the lyric; not music.”

Liza Minnelli: “In my whole life, I have never had more pleasure or fun than I have had with you. My sister thanks you, my mother thanks you, my father thanks you and I thank you!”

Robert Wagner: “Your real talent is as a friend.”

Phyllis Wagner: “You were always giving.”

Robert Marx” “Thanks for giving so much love to my mother and making her happy.”

Roger Moore read a rave about Sinatra by the Pulitzer Prizewinning writer William Kennedy.

Jilly Rizzo: “Happy Birthday. I never thought I’d live to see the day. A lot of other people didn’t think so either.

Tina Sinatra, weeping: “You are an American treasure. I am so grateful that you’re 75 and I expect so much more from you because without you, I’m nothing.”

Frank Jr. attributed his father’s long life to his eating properly and never letting smoke or alcohol touch his tongue. Sinatra responded: “These few days have been sensational for me. It was 6000 to one that I’d get to be 50 years old, but 75? I love it. I’ve had some fun in the past weeks and a few tears.” (by Liz Smith, 16 December 1990, The Evening Post)

Today, after 21 years of this concert, we are celebrating Frank Sinatra’s 96th birthday. Much has changed since then, the whole world has changed. But there are still millions of Sinatra fans out there, and a simple Sinatra song can make their day better.

Thank you Mr. Sinatra, for singing more than a thousand songs during your career, singing perfectly. Thank you for making us cry when we are sad, without your songs “sad” is never really “sad”. Thank you for the happy days we get when we listen to your songs. You are love, you are loneliness, you are happiness. You are every feeling there is.

Happy 96th Birthday Frank Sinatra, we miss you. May you rest in piece…

Frank Sinatra Birthday