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New York New York – Frank Sinatra (Theme From New York New York)

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:34+00:00 January 22nd, 2013|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

New York New York, Theme from New York New York actually, was written by Fred Ebb and composed by John Kander for the Martin Scorsese film New York, New York in 1977. In 1979, Frank Sinatra recorded the song for his album Trilogy: Past Present Future. Frank Sinatra sang the song many times in his concerts, and also as a duet with Liza Minnelli in a concert, and with Tony Bennett in his Duets album.

Theme from New York New York Frank Sinatra

In some of his concerts, Frank Sinatra adds the part of the song New York New York (from the film On The Town, 1944) to the beginning of this song.

New York, New York, a helluva town.
The Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down.
The people ride in a hole in the groun’.
New York, New York, it’s a helluva town!

Start spreading the news…

New York New York was a big success for Frank Sinatra. In all of his concerts, we can hear the audience literally going crazy when New York New York starts. It then replaced My Way, and became the new national anthem.

Frank first sang New York New York in public in October 1978, during a charity event at Waldorf-Astoria. The previous year, when it had been the theme song for the movie, it had not really taken off. Performed live by Frank, it became a show-stopper. It was in 1979 , in Los Angeles, that he made the recording that endures today. It came over as a new, defiant personal statement as much as a paean to a city.

In June 1980, in a fever of anticipation, New Yorkers thronged to hear Frank at Carnegie Hall. San Diego Union-Leader columnist Don Freeman recalled how on hearing the first tentative sounds of the song the audience “erupted into a thunderclap of loving recognition. Sinatra the wise showman allowed the applause and the cheers to reach a high decibel peak, and descend into a deliciously tense, expectant silence. Sinatra the artist would bring the audience along the heights again, but on his terms. He puffed on a cigarette, sipped from a glass of wine. And then he sang New York New York… Unforgettable”

The following part is from the book Sinatra! The Song Is You, Will Friedwald.

By far the most commercially successful number of The Present –on all of Trilogy, in fact- was not any kind of youth-directed pop-art at all but what amounts to a show tune from a flop film, “New York New York.” Frank Military, who had left Sinatra’s employ at the end of the Capitol era, rightfully busts his buttons with pride at having been the first to pull Sinatra’s coattails to this piece of material. “I sent him the song, and he said he would listen to it. I kept calling Dorothy

[Uhlmann, Sinatra’s secretary] to find out what was happening, and she said, ’It’s on the turntable. He’s getting to it.’ It took him a while, but he finally got to it, and now it’s probably the most popular thing he’s ever done.”

Written for Liza Minnelli (who had a minor hit with it) in Martin Scorsese’s unfortunate 1977 musical of the same name, “New York New York” marked the second show-type tune of that title to be associated with Sinatra (the first was from his 1949 film On The Town) and is more correctly titled “Theme from New York New York.” In some early concert performances, Sinatra opened with the Bernstein-Comden-Green song to lead into the soon-to-be familiar John Kander-Fred Ebb introductory vamp.

Sinatra began doing the new “New York New York” in concert in October 1978, around the time Falcone joined him, and initially used it as his opening number. “We were rehearsing up at NBC, and he brought the sheet music up to the piano and said, ‘Here, play this for me,’” the pianist recalled. Around that time, Sinatra commissioned Costa to assemble an instrumental “overture” medley of New York songs for the Radio City engagement, which would include “Autumn in New York” and “Sidewalks of New York” and conclude with the now internationally known vamp to “New York New York.” The Chairman would enter the boardroom on top of the riff, the audience would begin applauding, and Sinatra would, to coin a phrase, start spreading the news.

“After that engagement,” Falcone continued, “he said to me, ‘Man, this thing is getting big. We have to take it out of the overture.’ So I wrote a new ending for Don’s overture. And then he said, ‘We got to put this further down in the show.’ So it went down about halfway into the program because ‘My Way’ was still the close. But ‘New York’ just kept getting bigger. Of course, all during this period, all during that year, he started to grow with the song, and he started to put it into the shape that it eventually took. It didn’t start out to being as dramatic at the end as it is now, with a much, much slower tempo. That’s why he likes to do a song on stage for several months before he records it; he feels that he develops the song. And he doesn’t want to record it too early because then he figures he’ll change it.” Once the record is released, Sinatra usually becomes locket into the rough form of arrangement. (Of course he may decide a number of years later to start all over again with a completely new treatment.)

Sinatra had originally recorded “New York New York” in New York, appropriately, in August 1979, along with most of the rest of The Present. Between August and September of that year, however, he felt his take on the tune had so improved that he should remake the number, doing it on the same date that he was also tackling part of the Billy May portion of the package. Said Falcone, “The Old Man didn’t like the way it came off in New York. He wasn’t satisfied with the way he did it. He had kept growing with that song, and by the time we were recording in Hollywood, it had grown that much more. So he said, ‘The hell with it. I want to do it over again.’ So I introduced it and [veteran West Coast jazzman] Pete Jolly played the piano.”

By 1980, when Trilogy finally came out, “New York New York” was a bona fide hit- one that now concluded every Sinatra concert. Released as a single, “New York New York” together with Trilogy marked Sinatra’s biggest record triumphs in a decade, and a double whammy at that. He can be counted on to bring down the house with it at every show, particularly those in New York City area. As sung by Minnelli, it’s just your average da-da-da sow tune. In the hands –or tonsils, rather- of Sinatra, it exemplifies the anger and the optimism, the ambition and the excrement that is New York. And that is also Sinatra. By the time he reaches the outchorus, and the modulation that occurs with the second line he sings “those little town blues,” the excitement of the crows is impossible to contain. “New York,” as the Military suggests, has become more closely identified with Sinatra than any other song, even perhaps more than “My Way.” (As late as 1990, in the horror comedy Gremlins 2, when the army of furry little killer mesquites are about to invade Fun City en masse, their head honcho cheers them on by donning a trench coat and fedora and breaking into “Start spreading the news…”)

The following part is from the book Lady Blue Eyes, My Life with Frank, Barbara Sinatra.

Despite his great love of New Jersey and New York, Frank didn’t have a song that summered up his feelings about the place. I’d long thought that he should. When Martin Scorsese directed the 1977 musical New York New York, starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro (who Frank always hoped might play him in a movie one day), I had an idea. The title song written by John Kander and Fred Ebb and belted out by Liza was such an incredibly powerful number that I suddenly realized it was perfect for Frank. It would be great for him because of his connection with New York, but I was convinced it would be a huge hit internationally too. When I first suggested that he record it, though, he dismissed my idea out of hand. “Naw, that’s Liza’s song,” he said. “She does it great. I’d never take that away from her.” Frank had been close to Liza’s mother, Judy Garland, since the 1940’s , and he treated Liza like a sassy daughter. His loyalty was touching.

“But, Frank,” I countered, “you wouldn’t be taking anything away from Liza- just doing it your way. ‘New York New York’ is much more of a man’s song. I mean, those lyrics- ‘king of the hill’? That’s the story of your life!”

He wouldn’t have it at first, but I’d keep trying to work my idea into the conversation whenever I could. I’d managed to influence his musical choices several times in the past simply by telling him, “Oh, I love that song, darling. It’s one of my favorites,” if I head him practicing a number I particularly liked. He’d sort his music into three piles- “yes,” “no,” and “maybe” – and one word from me was usually enough to get something added to the “yes” pile.

Getting him to sing “New York New York” was almost as tricky; I knew I was going to have to think of some other way to persuade him. Fortunately, I had several people on my side, including friends, fellow musicians, and executives at his record company, who were all of it. After a while, Liza’s show closed and her single dropped off the charts, so Frank wouldn’t be treading on her toes in any way. Then in 1978, when the New York governor Hugh Carey was running for reelection, I spotted my chance. I told Frank, “Okay, then, don’t record ‘New York New York,’ but at least work up an arrangement to sing at Carey’s inauguration gala. Try it out there and see what happens.” He finally agreed and asked Don Costa to arrange a brassy version for his voice accompanied by his usual big orchestra. He performed it at Radio City Musical Hall in October of that year. Brought to life with his unique phrasing and impeccable timing, the number he almost didn’t sing brought the house down.

A year later Frank relented and recorded what was to become a Sinatra anthem. He incorporated it into his Trilogy set of albums- Past, Present, and Future- his first new recordings in six years, chiefly because he’d been so busy touring. Those albums went straight to number one and garnered six Grammy nominations. Although he never admitted I was right to have suggested “New York New York” for him, I know he always felt a great personal connection to the song because he chose it thereafter as his closing number, replacing “My Way.” Not that he gave me any credit for that; he said only that it was too strong an opener and needed to be moved to the back. The irony was that the number’s biggest fan (yours truly) rarely got to hear it all the way through because, by the time he was on his finale, I’d be slipping out the side door in his cue of “These little town blues are melting away…” because Frank’s version of “New York New York” was adopted by the Yankees and played after every victory, a fact that made us both very proud.

The following part is from the book Sessions with Sinatra (Frank Sinatra and the Art of Recording, Charles L. Granata)

At some point, the number became the most requested song of Sinatra’s live concert performances, and it moved from the middle to the coveted “closing” spot. “Eventually the song got so powerful.” Says Falcone, that Frank said, “Let’s take My Way out of the show. I’m sick and tired of singing the song. I’ve been trying to find something to replace it for years, and we’ve finally gotten it. For several years during that period, we didn’t even do ‘My Way’ in the show; it was only performed when we went to Europe, or some other place abroad. New York New York became the closer, and nothing has ever come along, and nothing ever will, as I see it.

Frank Sinatra likes changing lyrics, as we know, and though not as much as he does for The Lady Is a Tramp for example, he does it for New York New York as well. He sometimes uses “Come on, come through” instead of “It’s up to you”, which I think reflects the songs in a better way.

Variations for “If I can make it there, You know, I’m gonna make it anywhere”

I know that I’m about to make it baby anywhere. (Live at Caesars Palace, 1982)

You know I’ll make it anywhere. ( Live At The Meadowlands)

You know I’m gonna make it anywhere. Come on, come through, New York New York, New York New York, New York New York, New York. (21 November 1993, Foxwoods Casino)

I’ll make it, I’ll make it anywhere. (1980-09-13, Royal Festival Hall, London, England)

I’m gonna make it ehmm anywhere. (1979-11-22 Resorts International, Atlantic City)

I know I’ll make it anywhere. (1982-01-24 Radio City)

You know, I’m gonna make it just about anywhere. (1987-10-17 Worchester)

You know I’m gonna make it any goddamn where. (1981-03-28 Caesars Palace)

You know I’m gonna do it any goddamn where, come on come through New York New York, New York. (1987-12-09 Carnegie Hall)

If I can, If I can make it there, you dirty rat, I’m gonna make it anywhere. (1988-04-30 Bally’s Grand)

What Did Frank Sinatra Say About New York New York?

Frank Sinatra: We’re gonna take the plane and we’re gonna fly everbody up east Miami, north of here, about a hundred miles away. The greatest city in the whole world.

Frank Sinatra: Vincent Falcone takes the time now to conduct one of the most exciting pieces of  music of all of my years.

Frank Sinatra: This is a new song, we’re going to play for you for the first time. (1991-09-21 Milano, Italy)

Frank Sinatra: This is a wonderful song about one of the beautiful cities in our world, this is a very famous song all over the world.

Frank Sinatra: This song was introduced to me by great Liza Minnelli, it was written by Fred Ebb and John Kander, orchestrated by the late Don Costa. (Live At Meadowlands)

Frank Sinatra: Now, we come back over the ocean to our country again, to the greatest city the men ever built. (1979-11-22 Atlantic City)

Frank Sinatra: Oh this song we’re gonna introduce you to now will be number 1 so quick it’s gonna scare you when it happens. ( 1986-07-04 Golden Nugget)

Frank Sinatra: A ballad, beautiful ballad, written by Fred Ebb and John Kander(1991 October 5, Frankfurt)

Frank Sinatra: The national anthem! This song was written by Fred Ebb and John Kander, orchestrated by Don Costa, introduced by Liza Minnelli and stolen by me.  (1987-10-17 Worchester)

Frank Sinatra: Ladies and gentleman, the national anthem.  This song was written by Fred Ebb and John Kander, orchestrated by Don Costa, introduced by Liza Minnelli and stolen by me. (1987-12-09 Carnegie Hall)

Frank Sinatra: The name of this song is Chicago. (1987-06-17 Italy)

Frank Sinatra: Now of course we come to the national anthem of this great city. (1984-12-06 Carnegie Hall)

Frank Sinatra: This next song was written by Fred Ebb and John Kander, orchestrated by Don Costa, introduced by Liza Minnelli and stolen by me. (1986-12-31 Golden Nugget)

Frank Sinatra: New York, New York! From the film of the same name, made famous by Liza Minnelli! With a “Z”! (27 September 1979, The Pyramids, Egypt)*

Frank Sinatra: A wonderful song by Fred Ebb and John Kander, and Don Costa’s orchestration. And you know it well. It’s about a small town in America. (9 October 1991, The Point)*

Frank Sinatra: A couple guys named Fred Web and John Kander wrote this and the late Don Costa’s tremendous orchestration. (27 April 1991, Circle Star Theatre)*

Frank Sinatra: We’re gonna take a stroll. Just you and me for a lil bit. (25 June 1980, Carnegie Hall)*

Frank Sinatra: This next song is the orchestration by Don Costa. And I don’t think you’ve ever heard this song before. Shoot. (27 September 1986, Palatrussardi)*

Frank Sinatra: Uh, this is a song written by Fred Ebb and John Kander. I never met these guys. They’re very talented people by the way. Don Costa did the orchestration. You know this song very well. 21 October 1994, St. Louis Kiel Center)*

Frank Sinatra: That’s from the film, “New York, New York” that starred Liza Minnelli, and I thank you. (15 June 1979, 40th Anniversary Concert)*

Frank Sinatra: Fred Ebb and John Kander, Don Costa’s orchestration on “New York, New York”. (16 October 1978, Radio City Music Hall)*

Frank Sinatra: You don’t know the song, right? This is a song written by Fred Ebb and John Kander, orchestrated by Don Costa, introduced by Liza Minnelli and stolen by me. Good song. (9 January 1988, Sanctuary Cove)*

*Special thanks to Michael Wind for his contributions to What Did Sinatra Say About New York New York part.

 

Come Rain Or Come Shine

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:34+00:00 December 30th, 2012|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Come Rain or Come Shine, a beautiful song that Frank Sinatra really liked to sing, was written by Harold Arlen in 1946. Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics for Come Rain or Come Shine, and it was for the musical St. Louis Woman. In fact, whole music of this musical was by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. The recording was first made by Tommy Dorsey‘s Orchestra in 1946, and many singers, including Frank Sinatra, recorded or sang this song later. It became a standard then.

Come Rain or Come Shine Frank Sinatra Harold Arlen Johnny Mercer

Frank Sinatra sang Come Rain or Come Shine many times through his career, firstly via radio broadcasts, then in his albums. He first recorded the song on November 22, 1961, for his album “Sinatra and Strings”, which was released in 1962 and was arranged by Don Costa. In 1993, Frank Sinatra recorded Come Rain or Come Shine for his “Duets” album, and Gloria Estefan sang a part of it.

When Sinatra was singing at Caesars Palace, and was singing Come Rain or Come Shine, Don Costa was noted to say: “That’s still the best chart I wrote”. Will Friedwald, writer of “Sinatra! The Song Is You”, says: “The Sinatra-Costa “Come Rain or Come Shine” may well be the collaboration’s masterpiece, effectively combining the high drama of grand opera with the pure power of blues.”

Come Rain or Come Shine is really a piece of work, with its amazing orchestration. Ray Charles’ version is also worth mentioning, and could be perceived as better than Sinatra’s.

Below is a beautiful performance of Frank Sinatra, singing Come Rain or Come Shine.

What did Frank Sinatra say about Come Rain or Come Shine?

Frank Sinatra: This is a wonderful song by Johnn Mercer, arrangement by Don Costa. (1981 Argentina)

Frank Sinatra: This is a lovely song by Johnny Mercer, and Don Costa’s orchestration. I love this song. (1991/09/21 – Italy)

Frank Sinatra: Great song by Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer. Orchestrated by Don Costa. I love to sing this song. Great song. (Live at Meadowlands)

Frank Sinatra: Good song by Harold Arlen, and Johnny Mercer. Don Costa’s orchestration. One of my favourite songs. (1993/ November 21, Foxwoods Casino)

Frank Sinatra: One of my favourite songs. I probably have 10 or 12 songs and there are thousands of them. This one is by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, orchestrated beautifully by the late Don Costa. For you, from me. Wonderful song, I love it. ( 1990/12/12 Meadowlands)

Frank Sinatra: I love singing it, it is a fine song. (1993/06/02 Hamburg, Germany)

Frank Sinatra: One of my favourite songs of all times. (1983/11/28 Nassau Coliseum)

Frank Sinatra: I like this song, almost more than any other song I have ever sang. Mr. Harold Arlen and Mr. Johnny Mercer, wonderful orchestration by Don Costa. (1985 Japan Concert)

Frank Sinatra: This is something by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen, and Don Costa’s
orchestration. This is an absolute statement coming from me to all of you
because the fact that you come to spend an evening with me. (September 28
1991, Oslo)*

Frank Sinatra: This next song is a marvelous song written by two of the great song writers, I speak of Harold Arlen and Mr. Johnny Mercer. And they wrote many many wonderful songs together. THIS one is very special to me. Wonderful arrangement by Don Costa. (August 20 1982, Dominican Republic)*

Frank Sinatra: This song was written by Charlie Chapman and Tom Mix, I don’t even know this. Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, and orchestrated by the great Don Costa. Good song. This is from me to you, everywhere. (April 24 1994, Radio City Music Hall)*

Frank Sinatra: If I had to choose from 50 songs or 100 songs that we know, most of us know, this one would be included at all times. It was written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, great team. And also orchestrated by a brilliant man named Don Costa. And this is directly from me to you. (October 9 1991, The Point)*

Frank Sinatra: This is a marvelous song, I like singing this one. (December 19-20 1994, Fukuoka Dome)*

Frank SInatra: This could be one of the finest pieces of popular music ever written, in spite of the wonderful tunes we have. Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, and Don Costa did the orchestration. (December 30 1993, MGM)*

Frank Sinatra: Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen wrote this one. Arranged by Don Costa, one of my favorite songs of all time. Great song. This is dedicated to all of you in this room. (March 20 1984, Veterans Memorial Coliseum)*

*Special thanks to Michael Wind for his contributions regarding what did Sinatra say about Come Rain or Come Shine.

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 – 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

 

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:38+00:00 August 11th, 2011|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Here’s a truly masterpiece, an awesome jazz piece, I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Written in 1936 by Cole Porter, it was not perfect till Nelson Riddle’s rearranged this song. Sinatra included this song in his album Songs For Swingin’ Lovers (1956), and it was a huge hit. From then on, I’ve Got You Under My Skin was to be a song he would sing all his life.

I've Got You Under My Skin Frank Sinatra

“…It took twenty-two takes of Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” to satisfy the singer. Sublimely erotic, this recording is the turning point in the Sinatra-Riddle epoch, the pivot on which all future Sinatra efforts would hinge. Ironically, it almost never came to pass, as it was added to the list of tunes for the Songs for Singin’ Lovers album shortly before the session at which it was recorded. In the forty-plus years since its waxing, the recording has become one of the most studied and admired Sinatra performances of all time…”

[Sessions With Sinatra]

Frank Sinatra was to re-perform I’ve Got You Under My Skin in 2 other albums later, in Sinatra’s Sinatra (1963) and Duets (1993) with U2’s soloist bono. Except the version with Bono, in which Bono can be considered as having ruined the song, it is very hard to find a bad version of this song. Mr. Sinatra included I’ve Got You Under My Skin in his concerts great many times, making it hard to count. And every time, he was legendary. The orchestration is very rich and highly enjoyable with a trombone solo, and Sinatra’s shouting “Don’t you know you fool, you never can win”, and stopping at a point and re-singing the chorus starting with “I would sacrifice anything…” makes it perfect.

What did Frank Sinatra say about I’ve Got You Under My Skin?

Here’s something that I don’t like leaving out because it’s a classic. And its arrangement is a classic.( 1976-05-10 Grand Ol’ Opry)

This is a Cole Porter Song. Great Song (Sinatra ’57 In Concert)

Nelson Riddle’s most identifiable orchestration I believe this would be. It’s bigger in Japan than it is here. (?,?)

Oh, here’s something we can’t leave out when we do a performance. Cole Porter’s shining hour and Nelson Riddle’s, at his best. (Main Event)

Ah! Here’s an old chestnut we can never leave out of program because people I think, sometimes we get letters say why didn’t you do it or you didn’t sing that song. This is a Cole Porter and Nelson Riddle’s wonderful orchestration, the song you know well. (Dublin, 1991)

Nelson Riddle and Cole Porter, something we never leave out. (Caesar’s Palace, 1975)

Ah, here’s a beauty. (?, 1973)

This is one of the best of Mr. Cole Porter and Mr. Nelson Riddle’s arrangements. (White House, 1973)

Cole Porter, My Way of Nelson Riddle (Royal Festival Hall, 1971)

Cole Porter and Nelson Riddle, this is a must! You don’t do this, you get hate letters. (1980-07-07 Universal Amphitheater)

 

Here’s a wonderful version of I’ve Got You Under My Skin from A Man and His Music.

I’ve Got You Under My Skin might not be as widely known as My Way, Strangers In The Night or New York New York, but surely it is known by almost everyone that knows Frank Sinatra, and I might add this is one of his greatest songs of all times.

Strangers In The Night

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:38+00:00 July 9th, 2011|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The worst fucking song I’ve ever heard. No! It’s not my opinion. In fact, i really love Strangers In The Night, but Frank Sinatra himself did not like this song at all, and in his concert in Dominican Republic in 1982 August, also known as “Concert for the Americas”, Frank Sinatra said so after he finished singing Strangers In The Night, when the audience was applauding for his great performance.

When Frank Sinatra comes to mind, he brings two great songs with him. One is “My Way” without any doubt, and the other is, most probably, “Strangers In The Night”. Though he liked neither, these two songs made him well known all over the world. Strangers In The Night was written by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder, and composed by Bert Kampfert. The song was performed by various singers before Sinatra, but when Frank Sinatra included the song in his album “Strangers In The Night” in 1966, it became a huge hit.

Strangers In The Night Frank Sinatra

Strangers In The Night was a song written for the movie “A Man Could Get Killed”. It was given to both Sinatra and Jack Jones, and when Reprise Records heard that Jack Jones was to release his version in few days, they immediately recorded it and made it ready before Jack Jones’s version was on the radio. It reached no 1 on the charts, but then replaced by Beatles’s “Yesterday”.

The following parts are form Barbara Sinatra’s book, Lady Blue Eyes: My Life With Frank.

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.

Barbara Sinatra: .. I could see he was thrown. Even when the crowd settled down a bit and allowed him to go on, he was overwhelmed. So much so that when the time come to sing “Strangers In The Night”, he was completely unable  to- the first time I’d ever seen that happen. He stood up there on stage, eyes welling, as the music carried on without him. Then the most amazing thing happened. Almost every one of the 175,000 people in that arena, many of whom had learned to speak English by listening to Sinatra records, began to sing the words to him, heavily accented. “Strangers in the night, exchanging glances. Wond’ring in the night, what were the chances…” Their voices welled as one until the night air was filled with melody. Tears slid down my face as well as down Frank’s. It was one of the most beautiful sounds I ever heard.

Frank Sinatra won four Grammy Awards including “Record of The Year” and “Best Male Vocal Performance” for recording “Strangers In The Night”, and many versions in different languages have been performed till then. This is another reason why the song is known by everyone.

A mistress of Saddam Hussein, Parisula Lampsos, was noted to say that Saddam loved to listen Strangers In The Night and dance to it.

What did Frank Sinatra say about the song?

Frank Sinatra: This is a marvelous song written by Charles Singleton and we would like to do it for you. (28-11-1983, Nassau Coliesum)

Frank Sinatra: Ah here is a song everybody in the world knows, everybody! (20-11-1994, Japan)

Frank Sinatra:  Yeah here’s a song that I can not stand. I just can not stand this song, but what the hell. (1975-11-27, Jerusalem, Israel)

Frank Sinatra: The worst fucking song I’ve ever heard. (29-08-1982, Dominican Republic)

Frank Sinatra: This is a song that I absolutely detested the first time I heard it. And strangely enough I keep saying to myself “Why are you still singing this song?” (1993-11-21, Faxwoods Casino, Connecticut)

Frank Sinatra: Oh you know this one (Sinatra 80th Live in Concert)

Frank Sinatra: Here’s a song, the first time I heard Don Costa played it for me some years ago. I hated it! I hated this goddamn song the first I’ve heard it. And I still hate it! So sue me, shoot bullets through me. Shoot. (New York Set, Cd 4)

Strangers In The Night was sung by Frank Sinatra many times during his concerts and among them, I love the 1985 Japan Concert version and the following one at most. The album version is as good as the live ones, but of course it lacks the “Do Be Do Be Do.”

 

 

Send In The Clowns

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:39+00:00 June 3rd, 2011|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Send In The Clowns is a song by Stephen Sondheim, for the musical “A Little Night Music” in 1973. Frank Sinatra recorded this song in his album “Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back”, in the same year. The song has a deep meaning and chooses an uncommon way to tell about a break-up.

Send In The Clowns Frank Sinatra

What did Frank Sinatra say about Send In The Clowns?

Frank Sinatra: This is a song about a couple of adult people who have spent quite a long time together to one day one of them gets restless and decides to leave. Whether it’s the man or woman who left is unimportant, it’s a break-up. It’s a lovely marriage of words and music, written by Stephen Sondheim.

Frank Sinatra: I’d like to do a song for you that I think it is one of the most beautiful songs written in maybe all the time i’ve been in this racket. This is very infrequently done, it’s not done often. (1975-03-26, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas)

Frank Sinatra: It’s quite pointing, quite beautiful.

Frank Sinatra: I would like to sing for you a very pretty song. Sad, beautifully written however. From a show called “A Little Night Music”, and it was written by Stephen Sondheim. It’s a story of two adult people who had had a very nice life together, and suddenly, in older age, one of them decides to split. (1974-09-15, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas)

Frank Sinatra: Probably one the best marriages of words and music done in a long time. (1975 MDA Telethon)

The following performance of Send In The Clowns is from his concert, “Concert For The Americas”, 1982. Tonny Mattola is playing the guitar.

Send In The Clowns is a very beautiful song indeed. The lyrics are simply amazing and when listening for the first time, it could be difficult to understand the song completely, but as the song is listened more and more times, it’s real beauty can be understood better. Although the song was written just in two days by Sondheim, he surely did an amazing work. Barbra Streisand’s version is also good, but not as good and emotional as Sinatra’s I believe.

And this is the other, more widely known version of Send In The Clowns, again by Mr. Sinatra.

On the following video, Stephen Sondheim tells about Send In The Clowns. If you would like to find out more about this song, this video could be helpful.

Stephen Sondheim: I get a lot of letters over the years asking what the title means and what the song’s about. I never thought it would be in any way esoteric. I wanted to use theatrical imagery in the song, because she’s an actress, but it’s not supposed to be a ‘circus’. It’s a theater reference meaning ‘if the show isn’t going well, let’s send in the clowns’; in other words, ‘let’s do the jokes.’ I always want to know, when I’m writing a song, what the end is going to be, so ‘Send in the Clowns’ didn’t settle in until I got the notion, ‘Don’t bother, they’re here’ which means that ‘We are the fools. And, that’s the story.

Moon Love

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:39+00:00 June 3rd, 2011|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

“Moon Love” is a beautiful song recorded by Frank Sinatra two times, first in 1939 with Harry James, and in 1966 in the album “Moonlight Sinatra“, arranged by Nelson Riddle (Reprise Records). The song is actually adapted from Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, and lyrics are written by Mack David, Mack Davis and Andre Kostelanetz.

Moon Love Frank Sinatra

 

And below is the 1939 version of of this song when Sinatra was working with Harry James orchestra.

Moon Love Lyrics

Will this be moon love, nothing but moon love
Will you be gone when the dawn comes stealing through
Are these just moon dreams, grand while the moon beams
But when the moon fades away, will my dreams come true
Much as I love you, don’t let me love you
If I must pay for your kiss with lonely tears, say it’s not moon love
Tell me it’s true love, say you’ll be mine when the moon disappears

Sadly no live version of Moon Love exists, it would be nice if Frank Sinatra had sang this song at least once in his concerts.

 

Fly Me To The Moon

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:39+00:00 June 3rd, 2011|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

There are many singers that recorded Fly Me To The Moon before Frank Sinatra, but it was Frank Sinatra who made the song famous, and even, a classic. Fly Me To The Moon was written by Bart Howard in 1954, and Frank Sinatra included it in his album “It Might As Well Be Swing” in the year 1964 with Quincy Jones’ arrangement. Fly Me To The Moon was performed by Sinatra great many times in his concerts and on TV, so we really have many options when choosing which version to listen to. I would never hesitate to include this song in my “Top 5” list, because it is really one of the best songs of all times. A perfect swing song, and always a pleasure to hear. Fly Me To The Moon was also included in the album Duets II, with Antonio Carlos Jobim.

fly me to the moon frank sinatra

An interesting fact is that Fly Me To The Moon was played on the Moon and also in the space during Apollo 11 and Apollo 10’s missions.

The following performance of Fly Me To The Moon is from 1985 Japan concert of Frank Sinatra. I believe this to be the best version of the song, because despite his age, Sinatra looks and sounds wonderful. He is full of life and just in the right swing mood for the song. I should also mention the amazing tenor saxophone solo that makes the song even better.

Finally, before moving to “What did Sinatra say about this song?” section, I would like to include Andy Williams and Peggy Lee’s short duet of Fly Me To The Moon. If it were longer, it would probably become boring but this way it is worth listening. They only sing:

Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars
And let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars
In other words, hold my hand
In other words, darling kiss me

What Did Sinatra Say About Fly Me To The Moon?

Though Frank Sinatra sang this song many times, he usually made no comments before singing Fly Me To The Moon. Here are two notable comments of Sinatra.

Frank Sinatra: This next song I’ve been singing for quite a few years, and during the time of one of our space shots, like all of us in country I was watching the television report, and in the middle of the reporting, and there were pictures coming through I heard myself singing this song from up there. And I want to tell you it was a great thrill, it really was. I’ve been in some altitudes but never that high, never that high. It was really a great honor to have them choose this song. (1973 White House Concert)

Frank Sinatra: Earlier this year ladies and gentleman I had one of the greatest thrills of my life. I watched three men fly to the moon. And imagine their surprise when they found out that I was there two nights ahead of them. And so to all the gallant and bereaves, man, the astronauts who made this mission impossible, possible, I respectfully dedicate the following. (xx-xx-19xx)

 

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:40+00:00 June 3rd, 2011|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered is a wonderful song from the musical Pal Joey (1940). Lyrics are by Lorenz Hart, music is by Richard Rodgers. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered was performed by Frank Sinatra many times in his concerts, and it can also be found in the album “The Concert Sinatra”, released in 1963.

On the album cover, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered is shortly written as “Bewitched”.

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered Concert Sinatra Frank

What did Frank Sinatra say about Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered?

Frank Sinatra: This is one of the finest things I’ve done in the entire career.

Frank Sinatra: This is a Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart song, Nelson’s Riddle orchestration. One of the best songs written, any language.

Frank Sinatra: I recently made a picture called Pal Joey with Kim Novak and Rita Hayworth. We had a song the the picture that, i think , is one of the finest Rodgers and Hart songs in their entire catolog. (1958-06-14)

Frank Sinatra: Nice song, good song.

Frank Sinatra: I did a film once with the late Rita Hayworth. We have wonderful music in the film. This is a song from Pal Joey. (1987-07-17)

Frank Sinatra: I did a picture some years ago with Kim Novak and Rita Hayworth and whole bunch of wonderful people called Pal Joey. And in Pal Joey, was this song from the score, written by Rodgers and Hart. ( Live at Meadowlands)

Frank Sinatra: From a production that we did years ago on the film, on the screen called Pal Joey. We’d like to do one of the songs from the score, written by Rodgers and Hart, orchestrated by Nelson Riddle, and I sang this to Rita Hayworth and I tried to do it for Kim Novak but she wouldn’t even look at me, so Kim Novak and Rita Hayworth. Maroon what a sandwich, Jesus Christ! Rodgers and Hart, and Nelson Riddle’s beautiful orchestration. It is such a pretty song. (1986/07/04 Golden Nugget)

Frank Sinatra: Beautiful song that I truly love to sing. There are about 10 songs or 15 songs in our language that I am so fond of, of which I am fond. Excuse me I want to get that straight. This is Rodgers and Hart, and the great Nelson Riddle’s orchestration. (1991 October 5, Frankfurt)

Frank Sinatra: Some years back I did a film for Columbia Pictures with 2 wonderful ladies, the late Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak, and we have some wonderful music by ROdgers and Hart in the picture. I would like to do one of those songs now for you. (1987/10/17 Worchester)

Frank Sinatra: Wonderful song from the film Pal Joey, written by Rodgers and Hart. (1980/01/26 Brazil)

Frank Sinatra: Some years ago I did a film in Los Angeles .., with a wonderful lady, the late Rita Hayworth. And in the film I did a song that is kind of the best Rodgers and Hart songs, I’d like to do it now, with Nelson’s orchestration. (1987/12/9 Carnegie Hall)

Almost all of the versions of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered by Frank Sinatra are outstanding and the way he sings the song is quite beautiful. But the versions of later years are a little bit better i think, due to the change of his voice. A must for all Sinatra fans.

Below is a live version of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.