Two For Tuesday: Frank Sinatra (Baby Boom Years)

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.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

From The Blogger’s Best Friend:

“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” is a song written by Jimmy Webb. Originally recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1965, it was covered by American country music singer Glen Campbell on his album of the same name. Released on Capitol Records in 1967, Campbell’s version topped RPM’s Canada Country Tracks, reached number two on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart, and won two awards at the 10th Annual Grammys. Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) named it the third most performed song from 1940 to 1990. The song was ranked number 20 on BMI’s Top 100 Songs of the Century. Frank Sinatra called it “the greatest torch song ever written.”

Glen Campbell died a week ago today, and he’s best known for this song, so I thought it would be a fitting tribute to feature it in today’s Battle. And just for fun, I decided this will be a battle between members of The Rat Pack. I only wish that Sammy Davis Jr. had covered it… Anyway, here are your choices:

CONTESTANT #1: Frank Sinatra From his 1966 album Cycles.

CONTESTANT #2: Dean Martin from his 1969 album Gentle On My Mind.

So, which version of the song did you prefer? Whether it’s for Frank or for Dino, cast your ballot in the comments below. Then, visit STMcC Presents Battle of the Bands, because he has the list of all the current participants in this monthly challenge, and visit them as well.

I’ll announce the winner of today’s battle next Tuesday, so be sure and get your vote to me by then. And remember, you needn’t be a participant in Battle of the Bands to vote.

The lines are now open. Best of luck to Frank and Dean!

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Night And Day”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

Falling back on another standard this week, the song is Cole Porter’s “Night And Day.” Written in 1932 for the show The Gay Divorce, later the Astaire-Rogers film The Gay Divorcee, it’s probably Porter’s most famous tune.

The battle is between a couple of singers who haven’t fared well in my battles. As good as they are, they’ve lost the battles they’ve been in. See, this way, one or the other will win. Clever, huh? Here we go.

CONTESTANT #1: Ella Fitzgerald Ella recorded this on Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook.

CONTESTANT #2: Frank Sinatra The title track from Frank’s 1962 album.

Give these two great performances a listen and let me know in the comments which you prefer. Then, visit the other BotB participants and do the same for them.

Jingle Jangle Jungle
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
Janie Junebug Righting & Editing
Tossing It Out
THE DOGLADY’S DEN
J. A. Scott
YOUR DAILY DOSE
STMcC Presents ‘BATTLE OF THE BANDS’ *
Angels Bark
Cherdo on the Flipside
DiscConnected

* Stephen has the current list of participants on his site

I’ll announce the winner next Thursday, December 8, so get your vote in by then. The lines are now open… Good luck to Ella and Frank!

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Samba de Uma Nota So” (“One-Note Samba”)

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

I have my Uncle Jack to thank for this Battle of the Bands. He suggested that I do a version that featured Frank Sinatra as one of the contestants, in a “Battle of the Singers.” And I was like, yeah, that could work…

The song this time is “Samba de Uma Nota Só,” better known in this country as “One-Note Samba,” a classic bossa nova tune written by the great Antonio Carlos Jobim. So many people have recorded this song, I could do a tournament of versions of it. In fact, it’s almost impossible for me to hold it to just two contestants… but I’ll do that, because every time I feature more than two versions of a song, I get complaints.

I’m certain you’ve heard this song hundreds of times, but in case you haven’t, or aren’t sure, and definitely if you’ve never heard Jobim’s original instrumental version, here it is. As always, this recording is not one of the contestants.

Now, here’s the battle…

CONTESTANT #1: Frank Sinatra

Sinatra recorded this for his 1967 album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim. The album did very well, reaching #4 on the Jazz album chart and #19 on the overall album chart. It was also nominated for a Grammy in 1968, but lost to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. He was accompanied by Jobim on guitar and piano, and by a group of studio musicians led by Claus Ogerman.

CONTESTANT #2: Eydie Gormé

This was the opening track on Eydie’s 1963 album, Blame It On The Bossa Nova.

Now, time to vote…

I don’t mind telling you, I love this song, and as far as I’m concerned, these two versions are spectacular. But let’s hear from you: which of these two versions do you like better, Frank’s or Eydie’s? Leave me a comment and let me know what your choice is, and why.

And when you’re done here, visit the other battles going on today. Many, if not all, of the blogs below are doing battles, and the way things are going, there are probably a few that I haven’t listed.

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Women: We Shall Overcome
Cherdo on the Flipside
Holli’s Hoots ‘n’ Hollers

Results announced next Wednesday!