After You’ve Gone

frank jrHello My Fellow Sinatra Fans

It has been many moons since I posted on this blog. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, actually, and feeling rather guilty. This blog was never supposed to be something that I posted in every day, but I certainly have gotten quite bad at having any sort of regularity. That is why I’ve been trying hard to set aside some time to write a really great post.

But let me tell you, I was not prepared for it to be this one.

This last week, we lost a very important member of the Sinatra family.

Frank Sinatra Jr. passed away this week of cardiac arrest while on tour in Florida. I’m certain that the family is heartbroken, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot myself.

To be completely honest, I don’t know much about Frank Jr. I know that he was kidnapped while his father was filming the movie Robin and the Seven Hoods, and I know that it took some time for him to come to terms with the fact that he would always live in his father’s shadow and legacy. I don’t know much more than anybody else, unfortunately.frank and frankie

That is why I’m not going to pretend that I do. But what I am going to say is that it is a very sad day in the world of Sinatra fans everywhere. I can’t help thinking that this is the passing away of something very, very important, even if I’m not quite sure what that means. It also means that one of my biggest life goals, to meet Frank Jr., will never become a reality.

So now I can only send condolences to the family and hope that everything will be alright.

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The Christmas Waltz

Frosted window panes. Candles gleaming inside. Painted candy canes on the tree. Santa’s on his way. He’s filled his sleigh with things. Things for you and for me. It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love. Every song you hear, seems to say: Merry Christmas, may your New Year dreams come true. And this song of mine, in three quarter time, wishes you and yours the same thing, too. 

And a very Merry Christmas to all of you! May it be a time of joy and peace, of harmony and love. What a pleasure it is for me to share this joy with you on Singing About Sinatra. May your holiday be one of Frank’s Christmas album and family tradition.

The Christmas Waltz is one of my favorite Christmas songs, and of course who could sing it better? It brings such a wonderful feeling of peace into my heart to listen to this song and to hear Frank sing these lyrics. May you take them into your heart and enjoy your season to the fullest.

Merry Christmas.

All Or Nothing At All

Frank SinatraHappy Sinatra Centennial!!!

This is it!! Happy 100th birthday to Francis Albert Sinatra, the man who changed the world and loved life doing it. The man who has taught so many people so much about what it means to live. I couldn’t be happier or more excited, I’m sure. With a post like this, there isn’t really very much that you can say, honestly. It’s too big. There’s so much to say that I find myself unable to say anything. But if there’s one thing I’ll say, it’s that it may be 100 years now, but he’s still as amazing as he ever was. Only Frank could do that. So, take a moment and feel that magnitude. Oh, and:

Happy Birthday, Frank. And thank you for it all.

At Least A Little In Love

smileThis week is it, everyone. The Sinatra Centennial is officially two days away. This is a time that I’ve been waiting for for years.

And as the big day draws nearer, it’s caused me to think a lot. I’ve always thought that this week would be marked by lots of celebration and it would be a big day. I mean, it’s the Sinatra Centennial!! This day is huge in the world of Frank’s fans.

But, interestingly enough, it hasn’t been anything like I thought it would be.

On the way home from work tonight I listened to Frank. It was wonderful! The thing is, I love Frank Sinatra. I’m a huge Frank Sinatra fan and always will be. But I don’t have to have a party all week this week to prove it or to celebrate it.

There have been concerts, album re-releases, new merchandise, and the suit and hat.jpglist goes on and on and on. And it has been amazing! In the Frank Sinatra world, 2015 has been absolutely great. And this Saturday, December 12, 2015, it will be Frank’s 100th birthday.

I guess you could say, that though I may not have been the best deliverer on this blog, that I’ve still been celebrating. And I hope that all of you have to.

I guess you could say that, looking back on this Centennial year, we’re all at least a little in love.

All The Way

frankI’ll never forget the moment that I saw my very first Frank Sinatra record.

I was in Birmingham, Alabama, at the National Speech and Debate competition with my coach and two team members. We’d just gotten breakfast in this great little restaurant in Birmingham and saw an old record shop near where we’d parked. Naturally, there was no choice but to go inside.

It was up a narrow flight of wooden stairs, located in a tiny little room stuffed to the roof with records. Old movie posters covered the walls, tables and tables were filled with every record imaginable. The floor was covered in a thin carpet. Morning sunlight streamed through the windows and the air, of course, smelled slightly damp in the summer humidity. The shop had an old smell, and of course some music was playing from the corner.

I found the Frank records as soon as I possibly could, and purchased three, along with a Dean Martin record. For the rest of the trip in Birmingham they were my precious little find. I wrapped them carefully in my suitcase and prayed they would be safe on the trip back across the country.

And even more than that moment of finding the records in Birmingham, a moment where the sunlight streaming through the windows reflected off of the records like they were gold, is the moment when I got home and turned one on.

The very first song that I ever heard Frank Sinatra sing on a record player was “All the Way.”

I’d listened to Frank nonstop for years, but I’d never heard him on an actual record player until that very moment. My mom placed the needle on the record, and sound came out of the record player as if by magic. And then, in that really close yet somehow faraway and incredibly clear sound that a record player makes, he began singing.

“When somebody loves you, it’s no good unless he loves you all the way…taller than the tallest tree is, that’s how it’s got tofrankie feel. Deeper than the deep blue sea is, that’s how deep it goes if it’s real.”

I couldn’t help myself. I put my head in my hands and started crying. It’s been a while since I posted anything about Frank Sinatra, but most of you know that I’m a pretty big admirer of his. And when I heard that sound for the first time, it just got to me in a way I hadn’t expected.

Tonight I’m thinking about that experience, about how it felt. And it makes me grateful for beautiful things, and precious moments. For special things that tug at your heart and make you feel that deeply.

“Who knows where the road will lead us

Only a fool would say

But if you let me love you

It’s for sure I’m gonna love you, all the way…”

Don’t Change Your Mind About Me

This is it. I’m going to do it. The controversial question that I have heard about a million times was bound to come up on this blog sooner or later. And so in this post I’m going to address it. The question is this: Was Frank Sinatra part of the mafia?

17d0d4a27d4a8a823dc42c67e0810014Believe me, for some reason this is like the underlying thing that everybody on the planet thinks about him. I’ve heard it SO many times, and it’s one of the main reasons that being a Frank fan has it’s interesting moments. So, I’m going to give you the story.

Now, the reason that the question isn’t: was Frank Sinatra involved with the mafia? is because that actually isn’t a question. I’ll just go ahead and say it like it is: Frank Sinatra was involved with the mafia. And so were a lot of other stars. In the day and age when organized crime was such an industry, mafia bosses owned clubs and casinos: places where people like Frank had to go to perform as part of their career.

It’s also true though, that Frank had a fascination with the mafia. He had a sort of complex that way, I guess. He liked to be around them because he found it fascinating and captivating. In the end though, it seems that those people just ended up using him like they used everybody else: making connections here and there in order to make money. Now just for the record, Frank Sinatra was not the type of person who could be used or had, but in the end that’s what it was close to.

I think Frank considered those people friends, and they considered him a means to an end. So, yes, he was involved with them, but was he part of them? Absolutely not. And he spent his life trying to prove that. Frank had the right connections and a little fascination, and there the whole thing was born. He was eventually awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award possible.

And, though a little condensed, that is it. That is the story. Kind of anti-climactic, right?

Confidence Is King

Frank was a confident man. To say the very least. A popular saying attached to him is three very powerful words: Confidence Is King. I love this phrase. I love it for several different reasons. I love it because I think Frank was not only supremely confident because he had every right to be, but because that’s just how he was. I think we could all learn a really valuable lesson from that. About what confidence is and how important it is.

But this evening, I mostly love it because I’m going to be super confident and say this: the new header image on this Sinatra world of mine is absolutely incredible. It’s killing me with coolness. I look at it and can’t believe it’s a real thing. So, there you go. Enjoy the crazy coolness of this new header image. It is my gift to you.

Merry Christmas!

Ad-Lib Blues

I was waiting for an event. Not edge of my seat waiting, but lounging back with patience waiting. (Which, knowing my capacity for patience, is actually extremely impressive.) It has been so long since I’ve published a post on Singing About Sinatra, to my ultimate shame, I’m afraid, that I was waiting for something tremendous to happen. Something incredible to write about that would make this lapse in writing justified and spring us into another round of commemorative posts. I was waiting for an event, not really expecting one, truthfully.

This morning, it happened. IT HAPPENED!

I was driving to work, about a 25-30 minute commute. I got in the car, plugged in bluesmy music, pressed on my Frank playlist, and went on my merry way. I don’t know how many of you have experienced a time when the shuffle feature decided to tell a story to you. But, this morning, this very thing happened to me. Here is the story it told me:

  1. One For My Baby
  2. Taking A Chance On Love
  3. How Could You Do A Thing Like That To Me?
  4. Someone To Watch Over Me
  5. Put Your Dreams Away
  6. You Make Me Feel So Young
  7. You’ll Get Yours
  8. When Somebody Loves You

The shuffle feature decided to tell me a story about a heart broken man singing in a bar about love gone wrong, who then decides that he’ll take a chance again – a chance on this love business, which apparently then goes horribly wrong AGAIN, in which case we’d all need a shoulder to cry on, which shoulder apparently turns out to accidentally fall in love with our resilient character, and brings him youthful joy, and then leaves – breaking his heart yet again- leaving him in a state to sing that it will probably happen to said lover once more, at which point our character writes an essay on love and what it REALLY means to love somebody.

So, the story itself doesn’t have an incredibly happy ending, but I thought about it all day at work. Why? Because songs themselves are stories- expressions of life. And when you have a string of them put together in such a lovely fashion that the individual stories come together and tell you an even grander story, that is really quite something.

That, is Frank Sinatra.

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

There is, quite simply, no way around it. I’ve thought about it under my skinendlessly. I’ve gone different routes and attempted to dissect it. All to no avail. I can’t figure it out, and probably never will. If I’d known in the beginning that this would end up happening…I’d probably still do it all the same.

I am not alone in this feeling of mine. Not at all. In fact, it has been the plague of Sinatra fans since the beginning of his career. The dilemma is this: we find ourselves drawn to Frank. There was always, and still is, something about him that got at you. There was something about him that got under your skin and wouldn’t leave, something that makes you keep coming back and listening to the music over and over again. In her book about their life together, Frank’s wife Barbara talks often about his incredible magnetism. How people just couldn’t seem to get away. There is only one way I’ve ever heard this accurately explained, and it is this: He’s Frank Sinatra.

During the height of his career, and perhaps even more since Frank passed away, we’ve been trying to figure out why people flocked to him. What is it about Frank Sinatra that just gets at you? Is it the fact that he started a young immigrant boy from New Jersey and ended a legend? Is it that, even after all the books and articles and the endless things you can find about him, there is always an element of mystery? It always seems that no matter how much you think you know about him, you really don’t know anything at all.

I’m far from being able to answer this question with any kind of authority. All I can say about it is from my own personal experience, and I’ve had these exact thoughts so many times. Each time I meet somebody new and tell them how much I love Frank, I get the same question every time. “Oh, why Frank Sinatra?”

frankThe fact that I can never really come up with anything to say makes me realize that I am in this same boat as everybody else. I can really only say as an answer, “What do you mean? Why not?” Because it is something so intangible, I doubt that all of us philosophizing about it will get us anywhere. There is no answer, it is just the way it is. He is wonderful because he is Frank Sinatra. His music and movies are phenomenal because, no matter what, he gets under your skin. And on top of all of that, he does it with class.

I’ve got you under my skin.
I’ve got you deep in the heart of me.
So deep in my heart that you’re really a part of me.
I’ve got you under my skin.
I’d tried so not to give in.
I said to myself: this affair never will go so well.
But why should I try to resist when, baby, I know so well
I’ve got you under my skin?