Strangers In The Night

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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.”

 

 

7 Comments

  1. Sinatra Club Istanbul July 9, 2011 at 19:44 - Reply

    Very good Article… congrats. It is nesesary that people must know Sinatra never like this kind of popular songs… his art was much more than that … thanks

  2. Rat Pack Tribute Show July 15, 2011 at 05:02 - Reply

    This was a great article. I loved the quotes by Barbara and you can almost feel the emotion in her voice when she is describing the DR show. I would have loved to have heard it live when Frank said it was the worst F’in song, lol. As always, a great post!

  3. Ron Bencangey October 18, 2011 at 08:40 - Reply

    The song didn’t become popular “after” Sinatra put it in the LP. In fact he got Nelson to do the LP nothing like the single. Sinatra did the LP his way..much better than the single!!!!

  4. Garrett Meadows May 7, 2013 at 02:57 - Reply

    Did Sinatra really say out-loud to the audience, “Worst fucking song I ever heard,” after performing Strangers in the Night?

    • Ozgun Akalin May 9, 2013 at 23:14 - Reply

      Yes he did. You can refer to the video

      • Garrett Meadows May 10, 2013 at 02:52 - Reply

        Admittedly, I have had a love/hate association with Frank Sinatra from the mid-1960’s. Back then, when I was just a kid, I thought Sinatra was a dinosaur, but eventually grew to love him as a singer. Although, at times I thought him a better actor. If memory serves me correctly, during the Concert for the Americas, didn’t Sinatra take a drink and then spit it out on the stage, saying “Water!” It was that kind of crap that made it difficult for me to sustain a positive view of him. Also, I didn’t like the way he bullied people around. It was all so unnecessary. Still, I love to hear him sing.

        • Ozgun Akalin May 10, 2013 at 11:39 - Reply

          You are very correct. Well, legendaries are hard to love actually. Bing Crosby used to beat his family all night long, yet I can’t do anything but adore his voice when he is singing a song. Same for Sinatra. No matter what, we just like him.

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