**picture from Wikipedia
December 12th, in the heart of the holiday season, is a day when we must all pause and celebrate the anniversary of the birth of one of the biggest musical giants of all time – The Chairman of the Board, Francis Albert Sinatra. Frank Sinatra would have been 100 today. While BourbonAndVinyl celebrates rock and roll music, I’m not sure the cool attitude that is rock and roll would have existed without Frank Sinatra. Even though he hated rock and roll, his influence over singers and singing is undeniable. Jim Morrison and Dave Gahan owe a giant debt to Frank. And let’s face it, nobody epitomizes the ethos of BourbonAndVinyl like Sinatra. “Nobody’s lived and loved the way Frank did” as the saying goes.
As a rock and roll guy, I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t really get turned onto Frank Sinatra until he let Michelob use his fabulous song “The Way You Look Tonight” on one of their commercials. I remember sitting in a bar watching football and that commercial came on. I had to shush the table of drinkers I was with so I could listen. I was hooked. My friend, Arkansas Joel, after hearing me belt that song out drunkenly at the top of my lungs, repeatedly, finally went out and bought me an album with that song on it. I was so obsessed with that song I recorded it on my outgoing message on my answering machine. “Lovely, don’t you ever change…” That song is perfect.
It was years later when I was in Chicago for a Chiefs game followed by a New Year’s Eve celebration when I was kicked out of a karaoke club for attempting a rather vulgar version of “Strangers In the Night”. I had forgotten the lyrics, the martinis were strong that day, and decided to explain the gist of the song in the parlance of the day. It was more of a rap song really. The stormtroopers who ran the club didn’t appreciate my free styling improvisation and bounced me out of the place. Some people… Clearly, Sinatra’s influence was deep on me.
My dear friend Nancy gave me a live album of Sinatra’s a few years ago. In the middle of the concert, between songs, he spends a few minutes extolling the virtues of Crown Royal whiskey. Talk about a BourbonAndVinyl moment.
Sinatra’s music, especially today on his Centennial, should not be the thing of steak joints and Italian restaurants. It’s music that everyone should be listening to. They should teach Sinatra in music classes in high schools. The technique, the talent, the dedication. This is music that should be played in homes everywhere. There are so many greatest hits albums in Sinatra’s catalog that you literally can’t go wrong picking any of them. I’m very fond of “Classic Sinatra” and of “Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years” (from his years on the Reprise label, the label he founded).
Tonight, as you’re headed out to some mundane annual Holiday Party… pick up a Sinatra CD and slip in the car stereo, or on the iPod and let the master’s voice wash over you. Later, pour a martini or a bourbon on the rocks and raise a glass for today is the birthday of giant, Frank Sinatra.
Happy 100th Frank!