Saturday, March 29, 2014

Frank Sinatra A Man And His Music: The Collection & Primetime

Frank Sinatra A Man And His Music: The Collection & Primetime
Antonio G. Pereira © 2014 Antonio G. Pereira

        Frank Sinatra A Man And His Music: The Collection and Frank Sinatra: Primetime
        During his lifetime, Frank Sinatra made a series of Television Specials that reflected what was taking place in American History. None were more important, more moving and more powerful than those he did during that defining decade of change, the 1960s.
        As he spanned the changing face of music, from the 1930s to that '60s era, the Sinatra Specials, 'A Man And His Music', which ran every year from 1965 to 1969, are a time capsule of Popular Music.
        1965 - A retrospective of his career, along with his then current re-arrangement of The Kingston Trio's,  'It Was A Very Good Year'; with musical vignettes from his life. And here is a remarkable story written for Esquire Magazine, from the same period.
        1966 - With daughter Nancy, just as her career was taking off, and would lead to hits with producer Lee Hazelwood, the title song from the James Bond soundtrack 'You Only Live Twice', and another giant hit with 'Somethin' Stupid'; a duet with her father. As for Dad, during the latter part of this show, he does a smokin' version of 'Luck Be A Lady' from his film 'Guys and Dolls', and then does 'That's Life', his current single; where he gets downright 'cullud'.
        1967 - An incredible show with Ella Fitzgerald and Antonio Carlos Jobim. A must see.
        1968 - Another incredible show (in the wake of Dr. Kings murder) with Diahann Carroll and The Fifth Dimension, who are all in top form. A deeply moving show, as Frank duets on Spirituals with Diahann Carroll, and earlier in the show, sings a beautiful version of 'Baubles, Bangles and Beads', from the Broadway Show, 'Kismet'; as the song takes on extra meaning as Mia Farrow moves out of his life. And still later on, after a wonderful set with The Fifth Dimension, he dons a Nehru Jacket and Beads (I remember that, as I used to wear an orange one myself) to sing an old favourite 'Nice and Easy' with the orchestra.
        1969 - And finally in 1969, the final show of the series, Sinatra still listening and keyed in to what was current; with Teddy Randazzo and Bobby Weinstein's 'Goin' Out Of My Head', Rod McKuen's 'Loves Been Good To Me' and Paul Anka's 'My Way'; as well as a comical review of his acting career. But now we begin to notice a sadness in his eyes.
        We won't see anything like this again, and we're very lucky that these shows have been preserved. Just watch and listen.
        In these present times, with a plethora of News Networks, full of overconfidently and aggresively smug (in the absence of a Draft), sniveling, frightened rabbit drone employees with intentionally short attention spans, who mention 'The Great Depression' in passing as if it were some quaint curiosity, and much older employers, comfortable in their sloth, and who 'know better' than what they are turning out as news. 'Sports Figures', who talk only about 'the game' and 'their endorsements', and 'Entertainers', who operate the same way in 'this business' of across the board self serving Pretend Patriotism, it's quite startling (if you're old enough to remember and cared about what was happening to your country) to view these 'A Man And His Music' Specials; as you see the changes taking place.
        For very good first hand source material on this time period (with an entire chapter on Frank), check out Quincy Jones' autobiography, 'Q'. Published by Doubleday Books. A division of Random House, Inc. New York.

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