Sinatra 100th: The Best Performances – 73-71
Here at TCOTS, we’re celebrating Frank Sinatra’s 100th Birthday by counting down what I think are his 100 best performances on Vinyl and CD. All of the songs on the List have been released on either one or both mediums. Interspersed with the countdown will be Honorable Mentions that didn’t make the List and a countdown of what I think are his best albums.
Francis Albert will be your pilot and Bobby Bell your navigator.
So sit back easy in your easy chair, fasten your seatbelts, and let’s take-off in the blue…
73 — The Coffee Song
Music & Lyrics: Bob Hilliard, Dick Miles
Recorded: 20 December 1960
From the album Ring-A-Ding-Ding
What a fun time this one is. Need to be put in a fun, upbeat mood — stop right here and let the vaudeville act of Sinatra And May take you there. The lyrics are a hoot.
72 — It Was A Very Good Year
Music & Lyrics: Ervin Drake
Recorded: 22 April 1965
From the album September Of My Years
Frank is turning fifty and he decides to take a semi-obscure Kingston Trio song and, with the help of Gordon Jenkins, finds the potential in Ervin Drake’s first foray into Folk Music.
Mark Steyn chose this tune to start his marvelous Sinatra Song Of The Century series which will be continuing until Franks Birthday. Some highlights from his insightful look at The Man and this particular piece of music:
…This song looks back, but without the foursquare bombast of “My Way”. It conjures the women, too. And it ties it all together in a very Sinatra metaphor: life as a wine cellar, full of vintage years — a little more rarified than the last guy in the barroom at quarter to three dropping another nickel in the jukebox to hear one last saloon song for long lost losers, but still brewed from the same basic ingredients — and with the perspective of a lifetime, too….
…It’s about the memory of loves as different as great wines, as intoxicating and as impermanent, save for the lingering savor of a sweet taste just beyond your tongue. By 1965, Sinatra was the acknowledged master vintner of alcohol-infused imagery, from “You Go To My Head” to “One For My Baby”, and…he heard the poetry in Ervin Drake’s words….
…As Frank introduced it, sometimes a song can be “the sum and substance of a man’s life” …but it took Sinatra and Jenkins to draw that out. “I couldn’t imagine that kind of reading,” said Drake. “Nobody had a mind like Sinatra …and the ability as an actor.”
If you’re a man, you can’t help appreciate this song more and more as you get older — I’ve discovered that. Frank’s quite wistful and nostalgic — just like I feel as I make my way through my fifties [by the way: the sweet taste is still there].
71 — It All Depends On You
Music & Lyrics: Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers
Recorded: 10 July 1949
From the album Swing And Dance With Frank Sinatra
Slightly slower and longer than the version that was released, this recording should have been the one included on the original album, Sing And Dance With Frank Sinatra. Thanks to Charles Granata, we can enjoy both versions [some background from him here on finding this recording], but this one is superior and suits the melody and lyrics much better than the faster, released take.
Frequent Sinatra Family Forum commentator Mark is spot-on in his comments:
What I’m hearing is the Columbia Frank just starting his segue into the Capitol Frank… what was is meeting what is about to be… The smooth, Columbia-voiced Frank beginning to turn into the Capitol top of the world Frank… To my ears, it’s like he’s dancing on the line between past and future, about to cross over, but not yet… Like Capitol Frank singing with the Columbia orchestras… just before they shed that 30s/40s ‘sound,’ making room for the swing sound of the 50s and early 60s.
This a peach of a mid-tempo swing…
See you next Friday as we head-off again to Bobsville.
Don’t forget to also keep checking out
Pundette’s Sinatra 100 countdown,
Ms Evi’s Sinatra Celebration,
& Mark Steyn’s Sinatra Songs Of The Century.
It’s a swingin’ world.
If you’re having trouble tracking down any of the performances on this List, contact me at Robert[dot]Belvedere[at]gmail[dot]com and I might be able to help you.