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.

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…”

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.

Taking A Chance On Love

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 abFrank Sinatra.out 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 lyricscan’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…

Love And Marriage

Happy Frank Thursday and 5 days until Frank Sinatra Day! Because we have finished our narrative, today for the countdown we’re just going to go through the usual Frank Thursday routine and I’ll tell you about the movie I watched last week. For the rest of our countdown, I am open to suggestions! If there is something you want to know, just comment about it on this post and I’ll do my best to work it into the last four days of the countdown!

Frank standing under the office of Miguel Santos, played by Cesar Romero, in the movie.
Frank standing under the office of Miguel Santos, played by Cesar Romero, in the movie.

So last Thursday was an interesting one because one of my roommates had already moved back home and my other roommate and I had a lot of studying to do. So I turned a Frank movie on and then half watched/half listened to it while I studied. It is one my favorites actually, and such a great one!

Marriage on the Rocks (1965) is a wonderful comedy starring Frank, Dean Martin, Deborah Kerr [as a side note fun fact, this was the first movie that Frank and Deborah Kerr had worked on together since From Here to Eternity in 1953] Cesar Romero, and Frank’s daughter Nancy Sinatra who plays his daughter in the movie. Frank plays ad agency president Dan Edwards, who has been married to his wife Valerie, played by Deborah Kerr, for 19 years. He feels that their marriage is wonderful and stable, while she claims to their lawyer that she wants “a divorce on the grounds of boredom”.

Frank and Dean during a particularly great scene in the movie.
Frank and Dean during a particularly great scene in the movie.

Dan’s best friend Ernie, played by Dean, convinces Dan to take Valerie on a second honeymoon to fan the flames, so to speak. However, once they reach their second honeymoon destination in Mexico things take a turn for the crazy. There are divorces, marriage plans, marriages to the wrong people, and eventually this movie takes an exceedingly hilarious turn. Watch it, love it, and don’t forget to comment on this post if you have countdown requests.

Without A Song

Alright, everybody I apologize profusely for the tardiness of this post. I had a final this morning and moving out of my apartment in the afternoon, but as long as I get this post up in the ballpark of midnight we can call it good! And so, 11 more days until Frank Sinatra Day! However, tonight our story takes a not so great turn. This is when we look at a very dark period in Frank’s career and in his personal life.

One of the most famous pictures of a Hollywood couple ever taken.
One of the most famous pictures of a Hollywood couple ever taken. Frank and Ava look very happy here.

And since this is such an intense topic, I figure that it is best to just go at it in a straightforward manner. And although there wasn’t a single reason for this drop in his career, it can pretty much be summed up in two words: Ava Gardner. Frank was crazy about Ava, according to all of the stories Ava was the burning true love of Frank’s life. But the world definitely didn’t see it the way he did. And understandably so. He divorced his wife Nancy in 1951 after twelve years of marriage and three children. What’s more, Frank hadn’t been the most faithful of husbands from the beginning. He married Ava only ten days after the divorce was final, and the public was outraged. Despite the mass chaos this caused, Frank is reported to have said, “I love her, and God damn me for it.”

Well, eventually Frank had virtually no career left. It isn’t as if he hadn’t seen it coming either. It is also reported that Frank told Ava that his whole life all he’d ever wanted to do was sing, but now all that he wanted was her. At this point, his glittering career and massive success had come to a complete halt in a matter of years. It seemed that Frank Sinatra was finished. What’s more, by the time Frank and Ava had been married two years, they were already separated. The divorce would take four more years to finalize. It seems that they just couldn’t live with or without each other. Maybe they were too much alike or maybe while Ava’s career skyrocketed and Frank’s plummeted there was some tension.

Frank’s career was eventually saved, of course, in 1953 with his role as Angelo Maggio in From Here to EternityBut the fact remains that at this point, Frank really didn’t have much. It was an incredibly dark time for him, the loss of his career and then eventually the loss of a deep love after a tumultuous go of it. In later posts I’ll of course visit the comeback and all of that, but for tonight I think it is important to focus on these not so great times. I’m not making excuses for Frank, because in many ways up to this point I think he’d gotten away with a little bit too much. Perhaps he had it coming. But I also know that in the end it isn’t really my job to analyze or give a firm opinion because at the end of the day I don’t really know what happened. All I can do is look at the stories just like everybody else and see a man who had fallen into a hole after making huge mistakes. That is something that each of us can connect to.