Frank Sinatra’s Family Shares Exclusive Photos in Honor of His 100th Birthday
20 Frank Sinatra classics to celebrate the singer’s 100th birthday.
On what would have been his 100th birthday Saturday, some residents of Hoboken and Sinatra fans worldwide will raise a glass to the award-winning singer and actor. If there was anything Frank Sinatra enjoyed more than a stiff glass of Jack Daniels, it was blowing out the candles on his birthday cake each and every year. “He loved his birthdays,” says his daughter Tina Sinatra, who’s been spearheading a number of gala celebrations of her late father’s 100th birthday throughout 2015. “Birthdays, they signify life.
When we celebrate the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra today (Dec. 12), we’re actually celebrating many careers and multiple lifetimes of one amazing individual.HOBOKEN — Frank Sinatra died nine years before Jackson Lore was born, but like Old Blue Eyes, 9-year-old Jackson is a Hoboken native, and so he’s also a Sinatra fan. “I played Sinatra last night for my two boys, and my son said, ‘Daddy, that’s a great song, “That’s Life.” ‘ ” said Jackson’s dad, Hoboken Deputy City Clerk Jerry Lore, referring to the hit title track of Sinatra’s 1966 album.
And he was very, very Italian and very happy to share and to bestow and to celebrate people and himself.” To commemorate the Dec. 12 centennial of the most significant pop vocalist of his age, the Sinatra family has shared with PEOPLE some personal and intimate – and sometimes very funny – images from the singer’s past. “We have pictures of him that are the silliest things you’ve ever seen about his birthday,” she says. 1. As well as many different musical personas: the more innocent Sinatra of the 1940s is a very different animal than the aggressive Sinatra of the 1960s — although there is a continuity that runs through all of his work.
Hoboken is a city that prides itself on being the birthplace of at least two gifts to the world: baseball, in 1946 at Elysian Fields, and Francis Albert Sinatra, exactly 100 years ago, on Dec. 12, 1915. Sparklers adorn Sinatra’s 42nd birthday cake during the 1957 party at Hollywood’s famed Villa Capri restaurant – a favorite for hangout the Rat Pack and A-list stars like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. 2. In this shot from the mid-to-late 1960s taken at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, Sinatra enthusiastically tears into a present as daughter Tina looks on. “You can see he was just a kid at heart when it came to birthdays and holidays,” she tells PEOPLE. 3.
The most obvious point of demarcation is the transition from from the young Sinatra to the more mature Sinatra, which begins with the most celebrated “comeback” in all of American popular culture. According to Hoboken Historical Museum director Robert Foster, despite initially living in a cold-water apartment at 415 Monroe St., the Sinatras eventually had such luxuries as a radio, telephone and car while his mother made sure her son had nice clothes. I would argue that the new phase begins with his breakthrough 1956 album, Songs For Swingin’ Lovers.The following is an exclusive excerpt from The Fifty Greatest Jazz & Pop Vocal Albums, an in-depth look at the recorded masterworks of the Great American Songbook, coming from Pantheon Books in Spring 2017. His dad works for one of Hoboken’s most dedicated keepers of the Sinatra flame, 68-year-old City Clerk James Farina, who has hosted a birthday party at City Hall in honor of the Chairman of the Board every year since Farina became clerk in 1984. Sinatra, a high school drop out, became a singing waiter at The Rustic Cabin in Englewood Cliffs, where he met songwriter Cole Porter, and forgot the words to Porter’s hit, “Night And Day,” according to the 100 Sinatra website.
In 2008, the Postal Service issued a 42-cent stamp with his image and took the rare step of holding three ceremonies in Hoboken, New York and Las Vegas. Sinatra shows off his sillier side with bows celebrating in the late 1970s with daughters Tina and Nancy at Tina’s Beverly Hills home. “He was so funny,” remembers Nancy. “He would always do silly things like put a box on his head, or ribbons on his face.
Dozens of local officials, Sinatra family friends, and ordinary fans crowded into the clerk’s office to wish a happy 100th birthday to Hoboken’s favorite son, with Sinatra music, memorabilia and a cake with cannoli filling and the singer’s likeness, delivered from across Washington Street by Hoboken’s celebrity bakery, Carlo’s, of television’s “Cake Boss” fame. But for a saloon singer who usually had a drink on stage, Sinatra’s ultimate honor came from Jack Daniel’s, which introduced Sinatra Select whiskey in 2003. To honor the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth, Jack Daniel’s produced 100 barrels of 100-proof Sinatra Century, which retails for $499.99 and includes an unreleased Sinatra recording. (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. In 1980 the cake for Ol’ Blues Eyes’ 65th birthday featured a toy train-shaped confection traveling across the landscape of one of his “home” neighborhoods, Palm Springs. “He loved model trains, and had quite the collection that he curated over the years,” says granddaughter Erlinger. “People from all over the world would also send him trains.” 8. Just as “Young at Heart” is a song about new beginnings and fresh starts, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers starts with Sinatra declaring “You Make Me Feel So Young,” in which he declaims loudly that there are bells to be rung and songs to be sung.
The museum has also organized a Sinatra dinner-dance at 7 p.m., in the Bissinger Room at Stevens Institute of Technology, featuring the Swingadelic Big Band and Sinatra vocalists. Farina and a few others even dared to warble along to a recording of Sinatra’s last and maybe most lasting hit, “New York, New York.” Anybody who had a Sinatra story told it. “I was drafted the same day as Sinatra,” said Vince Wassman, 91, wearing his Hoboken American Legion Post 107 hat. “I was standing in line in my underwear, and into the room walks Sinatra, who had an entourage with him.” Sinatra received a deferment for a perforated eardrum, and his military service was mainly on the silver screen, including an Oscar-winning supporting actor performance in the 1953 film drama, “From Here to Eternity,” about the lead-up to the Pearl Harbor invasion. Lambert and Amanda Erlinger make it a birthday blowout at Sinatra’s 77th birthday at the legendary Chasen’s restaurant in Los Angeles in 1992. “We had so much fun growing up,” says Erlinger. “I don’t know that I really got the full impact of who he was as an entertainer and as a celebrity. All 15 songs on the released album are standards, deriving from a 25 year span from the 1923 “Swingin’ Down the Lane” to the 1947 “Old Devil Moon.” This is the project where Riddle fully perfected his trademark introductions: after a few spins, even a casual listener can tell what tune is coming next just by the intros, none of which use the actual melody of the song in question. Sinatra would outline the general content of each arrangement to Riddle — the tempo, the structure, the general feeling – and the intros were one of Riddle’s key areas of creativity, and he used these introductions as connecting passages to link fifteen separate tracks to each other and unify them into a concept album.
Cole Porter wrote “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” as a rather torrid torch song, introduced by femme fatale Virginia Bruce in the 1936 Eleanor Powell vehicle Born to Dance; it was dark and dramatic, a light bolero and a sibling of “Begin the Beguine.” Some Latin rhythm remained in the DNA of Riddle’s arrangement; he had been listening to “23 Degrees North — 82 Degrees West,” an original composition by arranger-conductor Bill Russo for Stan Kenton’s orchestra. Sinatra sings over that riff a way that sounds as if he’s holding back, like enormous emotion is mounting within him but he’s trying not to let it show. Then, following the first chorus, it must have sounded to pop music listeners in 1956 as if all hell was breaking loose: the instrumental passage resembles Kenton at his most chaotic. Sinatra ends with a half chorus that illustrates his approach to climaxes, especially with regard to dynamics: he re-enters at the loudest point on the track and then gradually winds down for the ending, rather than going for a big long, loud note at the end, as say, Judy Garland might do.
To understand why Swingin’ Lovers was so amazingly influential in its day and why sixty years later it’s still revered as a milestone accomplishment, we have to start with the title. “Swinging Lovers” was not just a catchy turn of a phrase: Sinatra meant it literally. Sing!” or “Hit That Jive, Jack!” Many of these were direct descendants of Gershwin’s archetypical rhythm song, “I Got Rhythm,” which formed the template (both harmonically and philosophically) for hundreds of so-named “rhythm songs” throughout the swing era. Jazz musicians, following the lead of Louis Armstrong, one of Sinatra’s personal heroes, had already proven it was possible to take a song that started life as a romantic ballad and jazz it up.
But in doing so, they were changing a number from a love song to a rhythm song; they made it swing, but the romantic elements were neutered in the process.
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