I’ve been a Sinatra fan since I was a teenager. Like great classical music, I can listen to his music over and over again and hear something new in it almost every time.
Much has been written about his impeccable phrasing and breath control. It’s been said he never sang a song the same way twice. It all seems so effortless.
I focus on his recordings, but the sheer volume of his work is staggering. In his 60-year career, he made hundreds of concert, radio and television appearances. In his spare time, apparently, he became a movie star as well.
Ginny and I were at Caesar’s Palace on Frank’s opening night on Labor Day weekend 1976. I remember every detail. Barbara Sinatra and the Fifth Dimension were in the audience. Lola Falana winked at me as she breezed through the V.I.P. line. Sam Butera (of the great Las Vegas lounge act Sam Butera and the Witnesses) opened. It still seemed like old Las Vegas and was great fun.
At one point in the show, we got the Sinatra blessing. Jack Daniel’s glass raised, he toasted the audience. “May you live to be a hundred, and may the last voice you hear be mine.” Amen to that, Mr. Chairman.
A new slogan on the Siriusly Sinatra channel on Sirius-XM radio says it all for me. “Frank Sinatra: The voice that taught us how to listen.”
This is Frank Sinatra’s centennial year. A big exhibit is running in New York City. A “new” album has just been released called “Sinatra London.” Bob Dylan, of all people, just released an album of Sinatra songs. A four-hour documentary is to be seen on HBO beginning next month. Volume two of James Kaplan’s wonderful biography is expected to be published soon. All in all, it’s going to be a very good year.