Sinatra 100th: The Best Performances – 46-44
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…
46 — TIE
Music & Lyrics: Erroll Garner, Johnny Burke
Recorded: 21 November 1961
From the album Sinatra And Strings
Terry Teachout once commented:
…Frank Sinatra was first and foremost a musician, a protean interpreter who took the best popular songs of his time and etched his versions of their words in our memories, making them inseparable from the sound of his burnt-umber voice.
This song has been a favorite of Piano Men in their smoky lounges for decades and many a Jazz Great has jammed on the wonderful melody, but Frank’s performance is, in my opinion, the best version because it captures the mood of the lyrics and melody like no one else has.
This song is one of the best in The Great American Songbook and here it is sung by the greatest salesman for that revered tome.
I Don’t Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You
Music & Lyrics: Bing Crosby, Ned Washington, Victor Young
Recorded: 24 March 1959
From the album No One Cares
From the album that no one on Suicide Watch is allowed to listen to, No One Cares, the singing of this song could easily, in the wrong hands, veer into pathetic pleading. Francis Albert was many things, but he never was pathetic and he turns in a marvelously sad performance that is moving and so damn sad.
45 — Pennies From Heaven
Music & Lyrics: Johnny Burke, Arthur Johnston
Recorded: 03 October 1962
From the album Sinatra-Basie
Pundette remarked about this version [emphasis mine]:
…I was forced to choose between this Basie version and the earlier Nelson Riddle arrangement from the wonderful Songs for Swingin’ Lovers. The latter is a kinder, gentler version, but swingin’ for sure, just not in that muscular Basie band style.
This is Sinatra and Basie swinging a song that works best when it’s a mothery affair.
44 — (How Little It Matters) How Little We Know
Music & Lyrics: Carolyn Leigh, Phil Springer
Recorded: 30 April 1963
From the album Sinatra’s Sinatra, A Man And His Music
Unlike the original more lilting version, which was cut as a single during The Capital Years, this version from the 1960’s remains my favorite, I think, because of the more mature reading — I don’t why I love it like I do; I don’t know why…I just do.
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.