P.S.-Pooh Says...

"What day is it? - 'It's today' - squeaked Piglet. 'My favourite day' - said Pooh."- A.A. Milne

12 December 2015

Forever Frank

 "Whatever else has been said about me personally is unimportant. When I sing, I believe. I'm honest."

Frank Sinatra

I don't think there is a single moment of our lives that can't be scored with a Sinatra song,  "In the wee small hours", "I did it my way", "Come fly with me", "The best is yet to come..."  His was the 20th century sound. Before Elvis or The Beatles or Michael Jackson there was Sinatra.   The first pop star, with screaming girls fainting in the seats and lining up for blocks and blocks to hear the skinny crooner from Hoboken NJ.  He was a star whose persona often shadowed his genius.  Ring-a ding, coolio, New York NewYork satires have often eclipsed what Frank Sinatra was really about...the song.  Yes, he defined "cool" for a generation with his tipped fedora, cigarette and glass of Jack Daniels...every guy wanted to be him and every girl wanted him.  He could be aloof, even a bully, with a temper but a huge heart who was ever present for a friend and who fought for what was right, standing side by side with his black friends and colleagues that couldn't enter the front doors of clubs they played or stay in the same hotels.  Sinatra was a loner who had a flip side.  A woman on each arm and a Rat Pack of good buddies to carouse with til dawn...every man of his generation emulated the look and the style of Sinatra.
"If you don't know the guy on the other side of the world, love him anyway because he's just like you. He has the same dreams, the same hopes and fears.
 It's one world, pal. We're all neighbors."

 Frank (everyone can call him Frank) took the fluff out of popular music and honed it into an art form.  He defined the American Songbook and infused each lyric with his emotion that resonated in every note.  No one to this day interpreted a song like Sinatra.  He found space and meaning and truth beyond what the songwriters themselves knew was there.  There have been a lot of great singers but only Sinatra could stamp a song with ownership.  So many songs that are considered standards belong to Sinatra and it is hard to hear them without hearing his voice...The Voice  In the 50s that voice evolved with a grittier edge as experience took over the crooner, he matured  from the Bobby Soxer popularity, stepped away from the bandstand and stood alone in front of the microphone.  He poured his emotion into each lyric and told his life through the music. Be it the cool playboy with "the world on a string" or the lonely guy at the bar asking "set 'em up Joe".    

" Throughout my career, if I have done anything, I have paid attention to every note and every word I sing - if I respect the song. If I cannot project this to a listener, I fail.”

  Often forgotten is his acting, fighting for legitimacy and acceptance he made his own way winning the roles and an Oscar for From Here to Eternity. But it was and remains the music that defined the legend . Don't go thinking New York New York was who he was, listen to the voice, listen to his years with Nelson Riddle, Tommy Dorsey, The Count Basie Orchestra, listen to the richness laid through cigarette smoke, Jack Daniels and LIFE.  Hear the man and the sound that will live forever. 
  "A man is only as good as his word...and I'm damned good with my words"
With my Dad's love for Frank, his was the soundtrack of my life. There was a Sinatra song playing in the background for every occasion...good and not so good. Beyond the persona, beyond the extraordinary celebrity, beyond the tabloids was and is the music.  There was Tony, Ella, Sarah Vaughan...but it is Frank, forever Frank, who makes me pull over, smile and reach for a Kleenex.

Happy 100th birthday Frances Albert


 "May you live to be 100 and may the last voice you hear be mine."