Sinatra 100th: The Best Performances – 49-47
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…
49 — TIE
Music & Lyrics: Tony Hatch
Recorded: 16 May 1966
From the album Strangers In The Night
Written by Tony Hatch as an Easy Listening Pop Song for Petula Clark, The Chairman’s version has what those kids lack themselves: Soul.
I Love Paris
Music & Lyrics: Cole Porter
Recorded: 13 April 1960
Released as a Single; included in the compilation albums Sinatra Sings…Of Love And Things, Sinatra 80th: All The Best, and The Complete Capitol Singles; also as a bonus track on a Come Fly With Me CD.
A great Swinger, this recording is too damn short.
Live, he often used to sing: ‘Why do I love Paris / [sarc]Holy Christ[/sarc], do I love Paris…’ — good question and there can only be one reason…
48 — You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You
Music & Lyrics: Larry Stock, Russ Morgan, James Cavanaugh
Recorded: 23 May 1961
From the album Swing Along With Me [aka: Sinatra Swings]
This is a unhurried swinger that just builds and builds and builds in intensity, but Frank and Billy May never lose control. Recently, I’ve discovered what a great slow finger-snapper this performance is.
Frank, here, is like he’s on A Mission From God…and a slow boat to China.
47 — I Won’t Dance
Music & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern, Otto Harbach, Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields
Recorded: 2 October 1962
From the album Sinatra-Basie
Francis Albert recorded this tune back in 1956 for A Swingin’ Affair and I’ve always felt he missed the mark in that interpretation [too Modern Jazzy — herky jerky], whereas on this version, backed by Count Basie and his Band, he captures the playful and suggestive mood lyricist Dorothy Fields intended and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers channeled in the movie musical Roberta, back in 1935. It’s no surprise that Frank used this arrangement for the rest of his career [The Concert For Americas version is a killer].
The difference between Frank’s two versions is summed-up nice ‘n’ easy by Mark Steyn:
…I’d have to say that Nelson Riddle’s sounds like no-way no-how does Frank want to dance, whereas Neal Hefti’s makes like he’s willing to have you talk him into it.
And that’s why the latter, in my opinion, works better: it’s more Romantic.
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.