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.

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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.

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!

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?

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

Dino youngDean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti on June 7, 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio, the son of Italian immigrants. And as if Dean Martin couldn’t get any cooler, the facts about his early life pre-career are incredible!

After dropping out of high school in the 10th grade, Dean’s life took some very interesting turns! He bootlegged liquor, served as a speakeasy croupier, dealt blackjack, worked in a steel mill, and boxed as a welterweight. In the boxing world he dubbed himself “Kid Crochet” and earned a broken nose, which was later straightened, and a lot of bruises.

Giving up boxing moved him on to his position as a croupier in andean in the ring illegal casino, and at the same time began singing with local bands. At this time he called himself Dino Martini after an opera tenor. In the early 1940’s he started singing for band leader Sammy Watkins who suggested that he change his name to Dean Martin.

Dean married his first wife Elizabeth “Betty” Anne McDonald in 1941 and they had four children together.

Although Dean continued to sing in nightclubs and with various bands, he didn’t enjoy the same success as Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra at first. He was yet another name in a world where many singers had the same style, which encouraged him to keep singing with different bands until he developed his own paired with his irresistible charm.

Though Dean didn’t do well when performing in a nightclub in New York just after Frank, it did set the stage for them to meet.

dean and jerryThings didn’t really take off for him until he teamed up with Jerry Lewis. They met at a nightclub in New York and formed a fast friendship which led to a ten year partnership. To this day the antics and laughter which they brought to their audiences are still enjoyed and loved. Though they both moved on to separate careers and lives, it is still very common to hear their names in a sentence together.

Dean and Jerry Lewis did enjoy a lot of success together. But it seems that even after it ended, there was still an entire world waiting for Dean.

Aren’t You Glad You’re You?

celebrateIn a recent post I briefly mentioned the things coming on Singing About Sinatra. It is, after all, a very important year in the world of Sinatra fans. With the Sinatra Centennial only five months away, I have known that I wanted to do some great things on this blog to bring in the celebrating. But I just could not think of anything extraordinary to do. Until today!

Yes, it’s true. I’ve figured it out! I’ve thought of an incredible way that we can bring in the Sinatra Centennial together, and I cannot tell you how excited I am. It is to the point where there are butterflies in my stomach and everything.

It occurred to me earlier today that one of the things that made Frank who he was were the people in his life. He once said, “I would like to be remembered as a man who had a wonderful time living life, a man who had good friends, fine family – and I don’t think I could ask for anything more than that, actually.” The people in Frank’s life were crucial to him!

It is for this reason that, in the months leading up to the Sinatra Centennial, I have decided to spend time featuring the different people that Frank loved and admired. His friends and family, the people that he spent his time with. The people that helped make Frank who he was.

Here’s how this is going to work: I’ll introduce our featured individual and spend posts talking about them, their life, and of course, how they were so important in Frank’s life. Aren’t you glad you get to be a part of this?

At this time, I’m very excited to introduce our first featured individual to you this evening. There were many, many people that I could’ve chosen from to be first, and many of them will most definitely appear later. But for innumerable reasons, there was really only one choice when it came down to it. So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to Singing About Sinatra:

deanDean Martin!

Oh, what can words really say about Dean Martin? I could spend hours and hours telling you how much I love and adore Dean Martin. Let me put it this way: if I wasn’t doing a Frank Sinatra blog, I’d be doing a Dean Martin blog. Dean Martin is absolutely amazing. Like I mentioned, there really are no words.

In the upcoming posts, I will be delighted to share some about Dean’s own life and career. Make sure you stick around for that! I am so excited to get to share the next handful of posts with you discussing the one and only Dean Martin!