I almost didn’t do Frank Sinatra, because how do you limit yourself to just two songs from a guy who’s recorded hundreds of them? The man is a legend, not only as a singer and recording artist but as an actor on film, TV and radio. Then I realized that he was such a huge entertainer, I couldn’t not feature him.
Frank’s musical career began with The Hoboken Four in 1935. He was a featured singer with the Big Bands of Harry James and Tommy Dorsey and worked with Count Basie, Nelson Riddle, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Duke Ellington, and his daughter Nancy over the years. In the early Fifties he hit a slump, caused by the breakup of his marriage, an affair with Ava Gardner, and the death of his publicist, George Evans, but came roaring back with the release of the 1953 movie From Here To Eternity and a renewed focus on his work.
One of his last singles for Columbia Records was “I Could Write A Book” in 1952, from the Rodgers and Hart 1940 musical Pal Joey. Music writer Charles L. Granata, who wrote the book Sessions with Sinatra: Frank Sinatra and the Art of Recording, called it a “turning point” in Sinatra’s career, foreshadowing his later work’s sensitivity. He’s backed by the Percy Faith Orchestra and Chorus.
I chose a personal favorite, 1964’s “My Kind Of Town (Chicago Is),” for today’s second song. It was written by Jimmy Van Heusen, a friend of Frank’s, with lyrics by Sammy Cahn, originally for the 1964 movie Robin and The 7 Hoods, which starred Sinatra and fellow Rat Packers Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby and Barbara Rush. Frank is backed by the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.
Frank Sinatra, your Two for Tuesday, November 14, 2017.