This 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 list 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.
In 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:
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!
There are lots of risks involved with living. I’ve come to realize, the older I get, how complex we as human beings are. Everything about the way we live is a risk. If you start thinking about life this way, we sound like a bunch of crazy people just throwing ourselves in the path of emotional or physical destruction daily. Well, today I wanted to talk about a risk in my life.
Whether you think of it this way or not, this blog was a huge risk for me. I started this blog for one reason, and one reason only. I did not start this blog for recognition of any kind or to start debates on controversial issues or any of a million other things. I started this blog because I love Frank Sinatra.
I love his music, his movies. I love reading about him. I love how studying about his life has taught me a lot about life. I love how his music turns a bad day into a great one instantly. I love how, no matter what, Frank Sinatra is timeless and wonderful. Whether you are a fan of his or not, you simply cannot argue with his success or his impact. I mean…it’s Frank Sinatra.
But nevertheless, there was a lot of risk involved. I was throwing myself out there with something I’m very passionate about, and as we all know that can go downhill very quickly. But I decided that none of that mattered. That this is something that makes me happy, and sharing it would also make me happy, even if it was only with one person.
When I first started this blog, the amount of followers I received started to really, really matter to me. I mean, come on! I can’t be the only one left on this earth who loves Frank. But the more that I have written this blog and thought about it, I’ve been reminded of the reason I started all of this to begin with. I started this blog because I love Frank Sinatra, not because I was trying to prove something or gain validation. Because there is absolutely zero validation needed.
With the Sinatra Centennial this year, I’ve been doing a more than usual amount of thinking about Frank and about this blog of mine. As a self proclaimed bobbysoxer, I feel obligated to make this year one of amazing celebrations. I don’t know how it will turn out, to be honest with you. But what I do know is that no matter what happens here on Singing About Sinatra, I am so incredibly glad for this risk I have taken.
Here I go again I hear those trumpets blow again All aglow again Taking a chance on love…
As I’ve contemplated a way to write this post, many things have come into my mind. One of the things that I’ve often thought is that you may not believe that it’s actually me over here! You have, in fact, been getting not so consistent automated posts for about a year. I’m really sorry about that by the way. But it is true, it is me, I am back!
Well, it is an interesting turn my life has taken. I have returned home from serving my mission 6 months early due to some health reasons. I have not been home very long, but have also been a little bit hesitant to get back into the blogging scene. Partly because I think that I’ve been away from it longer than I was ever in it! But, I’m here, and it’s good to be with all of you again. As I’ve thought about it, I think I will allow the posts that are set to be published at the first of each month continue to be published. I was reading over them the other day and I actually really like them. So we’ll keep that going.
I have to say, coming home from serving a mission has been quite the experience! Mostly because my life was 100% gospel every day, and now I’m transitioning back into normal life. But, wow! It was a truly incredible experience, one that I don’t regret one second of and will be eternally grateful for. It is unbelievable to me how much the experience truly changed me, many things about me, but into simply a better person overall than I was. Serving others and teaching them about Jesus Christ gave me such a different perspective of life. It gave me such an appreciation for all I have been blessed with, and it filled me with a greater desire to help make the world a better place.
As of right now, I’ve no master plan on how I think I might do that. But I do want to take it on wholeheartedly, and swan dive into a life that God wants me to live and a life that will bless the lives of those around me. I want to create and inspire and spread peace and joy in any way that I can.
And what about you? What has happened in everybody’s lives this past year? I hope good things! I will also say this: it is so, so fabulous to be back on Singing About Sinatra to celebrate with y’all! As this year is the absolutely magnificent Sinatra Centennial, we’ve a lot to catch up on!
And here it is! The very first while I’m away post! And I’ll have you know that I’ve just experienced divine intervention. I was on my way to go and choose which song title to use as the title of this post, and then this song just started playing on my computer. So, this is completely meant to be! And it really fits quite well, actually. At this point, July 1 in case you didn’t know what day it was, I’ve been on my mission for a whopping 7 days. A whole week. I mean, I’m practically a seasoned veteran, really.
You know, Frank traveled a lot. (Understatement of the…duration of time.) He did a lot of things, he saw a lot of things. He reached heights that nobody would’ve ever expected him to reach. And through it all, he did it because that is what he believed in. He never let anything stop him. He did things because he knew that he could. One of his most famous quotes reads, “The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.”
As I’ve been going about this pre-mission journey of mine, I’ve thought about that mentality a lot. I’ve thought about this great and life changing decision I’ve made, this adventure that is going to be absolutely wonderful and probably harder than anything I’ve ever done. There have been so many times when I was out of my mind scared, but you know, as I sit here listening to (now) the theme from New York, New York, I’m not scared anymore. This is what I know I’m supposed to be doing, and it’s going to be wonderful. I’m going to do it because it’s what I believe in, and nothing is going to stop me.
Just another lesson that Frank has taught me. I hope you can take it into your life as well.
And here we are with only 6 more days left! Less than one week until Frank Sinatra Day, everyone! Because today marks the last day of our narrative, I just want to say that it has been extremely fun for me to give you the condensed version of Frank’s life. It has tested my knowledge a little, though I will proudly say that I only had to do research perhaps two or three times just to check specific years. Everything else I knew from heart. And so, let’s begin.
By the 1990’s Frank was in his late 70’s and early 80’s and was largely retired. He made his last movie and television appearances in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. His last public singing performance was at his 80th birthday party. It was a huge party where many, many stars showed up to pay their respects to Frank and his amazing career, the empire state building was lit up in blue. He sang My Way.
At this point, almost everybody that Frank had known and loved had already passed on. In her autobiography, Barbara talks about the last few years of Frank’s life and it seems almost sad. He would look around the empty house with those blue eyes of his and say things like, “This place ain’t doing to good for a hotel.” But honestly, I think you have to look past that. Frank had lived an amazing life and had so many wonderful memories. He had a wonderful wife that stayed by him every step of the way for 27 years, if you include their five years of courtship as well as 22 years of marriage. As the last one of all of his friends to pass away, he got to be the one to remember. One of Frank’s most well known quotes is, “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.”
On May 13, 1998 at the age of 82, Frank was rushed to the hospital. Barbara wasn’t with him at the time, ironically enough, but made it to the hospital in time to say good-bye. It had been obvious that Frank’s time was coming, but it still seemed rather sudden. The funeral was huge. Their were sky banners and, and special permission was even given by President Clinton to put a flag on Frank’s casket in the private ceremony. Barbara also talks about this in her book. Frank had loved his country so much, and had such an amazing respect for it. However, he had not been a soldier and he knew it. Barbara wasn’t sure that Frank would’ve wanted that honor because of that. Nevertheless, he was given that honor and the world said a last farewell the the man whose career had so touched everybody’s life in so many ways. It was absolutely clear that Frank Sinatra would always live on.
And now, the end is near; And so I face the final curtain. My friend, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.
I’ve lived a life that’s full. I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway; But more, much more than this, I did it my way.
Regrets, I’ve had a few; But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do And saw it through without exemption.
I planned each charted course; Each careful step along the byway, But more, much more than this, I did it my way.
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew When I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall; And did it my way.
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried. I’ve had my fill; my share of losing. And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing.
To think I did all that; And may I say – not in a shy way, “No, oh no not me, I did it my way”.
For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels; And not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows – And did it my way!
According to the countdown, there are now only 15 more days until Frank Sinatra Day! I am absolutely beyond excited, really, I can’t even tell you! And as promised, now that we’re closer to it I will begin posting different Frank facts to go along with the countdown. Since there are 15 days left, we’ll roll with the number 15.
Frank was born in 1915 on December 12. He was born at his parent’s small home in Hoboken, New Jersey and weighed an unbelievable 13 pounds. Because he was so large, he had to be removed with forceps, which caused his ear to almost be cut off, a punctured eardrum, and a deep gash from the left corner of his mouth down to his chin. (The scar from this is visible in some of his pictures.) However, he was not breathing and it was believed by the midwife that he was dead. He was therefore set on a table while the midwife turned her attention to Frank’s mother Dolly who was in danger of death. It was actually Frank’s aunt who realized that he was alive and saved him.
Every single time I think about this story I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for Frank’s aunt. She was clearly amazing. And so began the life of The Voice!
I would venture to say that Frank had a good childhood, even growing up as the child of Italian immigrants and the prejudices that brought. As the only child of his parents, however, he was admittedly a little spoiled. It is clear, though, that even as a child Frank always knew who he was and what he wanted. He didn’t decide that he wanted to become a singer until his teenage years, but that is part of a future post. But just take a look at the picture to the right. It is absolutely clear that even at the age of 8, Frank was who he was. The more I learn about him, the clearer it is that even from that moment on December 12, 1915 when he entered the world, Frank Sinatra was meant to be something.
Lately has been a time of deep reflection in my life. Maybe it’s because Spring is finally here or because the Easter season always offers such hope for the future and therefore causes you to think on your past. Whatever the case, I have been thinking quite a bit lately about myself and life in general and reflecting on what my life has been and what I want it to be. And as I think about these different reflections and all of the things that have been going through my mind, I’ve stumbled upon quite a few things actually. But one thing that keeps coming to me is just a sense of wonder at life. It is a crazy, beautiful thing and offers so much. Whether life gives you lemons or lemonade, there are memories and lessons in everything. I look back on my past and can say that I have learned so many lessons and I understand that there will be more of those to learn in the future.
However, the lessons you have already learned are almost like battle wounds. You went through things to learn them, and in the end you can hold them up and say that you were able to get through those challenges and learn those lessons. I think that largely there are challenges in everything. In other words, there is a down to every up. That might sound pessimistic but bear with me. I’m not saying that things are terrible all the time, but I also understand that we have to have challenges in our lives. Just looking at basic laws of science, isn’t it accurate to say that with every up there has to be a down?
And if that is the case, I will be more than honest with saying that being a Frank fan, though incredibly wonderful and a huge part of my existence, has brought on its own unique set of challenges. I’ve waded through controversy that’s way over my head and then some. But as I go through this journey, I’ve discovered that through it all, I have learned so much. And not just about Frank himself, though if you asked me just about anything about him I could probably answer you, but about life in general. Interesting, how studying one life can teach you so much about life in general. And of these many lessons that I’ve learned, I would like to share some with you. So, here are only a few of the many things that being a Frank Sinatra fan has taught me:
Never give up. Ever. There will be moments when the world steps all over you, and it won’t be easy. But you owe it to yourself to get back up again.
Believe in your abilities. There are enough people on this earth telling you that you aren’t good enough or won’t accomplish your goals. You don’t have to be one of them.
Be honest in your dreams. Frank once said that when he sang, he believed, he was honest. He felt the most open and honest when singing, when showing the world his amazing gift and what he could do. Through that gift he touched and still touches so many. I firmly believe that that honesty and passion that he put into his music was a huge part of this. Do the same with your dreams.
Live every single moment. Live your life to the absolute fullest. Squeeze the best experiences out of life and fill your memory book to overflowing. Cherish it all.
Don’t stop dreaming. Never stop having a dream, even if you get the point where you think you’ve seen them all come true. The world is such a beautiful place if you’ll allow it to be and there is still so much to see and to be and to do.
In the end, friends and family are the most important. Though Frank had a huge career, he was named entertainer of the century in 2000, at the end of the day he was actually a very private person. Friends and family were intensely important to Frank and he kept himself surrounded by the people that he loved.
Laugh. Be happy. Don’t search for happiness. Just be happy.
Share your talents. You have no idea how far reaching your talents may go, you have no idea the people you may be able to touch if you only try.
Live a life you won’t want to retire from. Frank attempted to retire once and then returned to his career only a few years later. I understand that at some point most of us want to retire from the regular day job. For a few people, perhaps they are lucky enough that they don’t want to do that. But whoever you are, don’t retire from your talents and dreams. From the things that make you happy.
Face it all, stand tall, and do it your way. Of course, Frank has taught this to numberless people over the years. As I’ve thought about this song, “My Way”, I’ve realized a few different things about it. It isn’t necessarily a song about how you should tell everybody how terrible they are and that you’re going to do what you want. It could certainly be interpreted that way but that isn’t how I look at it. I see it as a song that talks about living life in a way that lets you have as few regrets as possible. Try your very hardest, do everything you can, be the best person that you can be, and in the end as long as you understand all of that it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks about you. You know the truth.
Among my many souvenirs of this journey of mine, these are the things I hold closest to my heart.