Mark Stryker

Frank Sinatra

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A programming heads up: Turner Classics is devoting May to Sinatra movies and TV specials. Most notably they're broadcasting the "Man and His Music" programs from the mid '60s. Tonight is No. 2 from 1966 and in some ways it's my favorite, even though Nancy Sinatra takes a up a chunk with her dorky "hits" (ugh -- but nice legs) and the persistent organ in the orchestrations sounds dated to me (apologies to our hosts -- don't ban me!) and the set list isn't as hip as some of the other shows.

But Sinatra's voice is in extraordinarily good shape -- much better than on the more celebrated first "Man and His Music" from a year earlier. He sings one those heroic extended ballad medleys, roars through "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" and the version of "Moonlight In Vermont" is un-fucking-believable. Watch how he sings the transition from the bridge into the last 8 the second time around without a breath as the key goes up a step and time suspends in rubuto. My hair stands on end everytime I hear it -- one of my favorite moments in all of music.

8 and 11 p.m. tonight

Edited by Mark Stryker

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While his onstage patter when not singing could be a real turnoff, e.g., his occasional lapses into a Kingfish dialect, there's no denying his prowess as THE male singer of the American pop standard book. His rendition of "Moonlight in Vermont" is a killer every time I hear it whether on a Capitol recording or here on this TV program from '66. As such, I cringe whenever I witness such pale imitators as Michael Buble and wonder how many of the current audience recognizes Sinatra's legacy.

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Thanks for the heads-up! That was fun!

... and the version of "Moonlight In Vermont" is un-fucking-believable. Watch how he sings the transition from the bridge into the last 8 the second time around without a breath as the key goes up a half-step and time suspends in rubuto. My hair stands on end everytime I hear it -- one of my favorite moments in all of music.

Very nice, indeed.

Slightly off topic: I'm compelled, at the mention of "Moonlight In Vermont" to point out that the lyrics in the "A" sections are in the form of Haiku-

Pennies in a stream

Falling leaves a sycamore

Moonlight in vermont

Gentle finger waves

Ski trails down a mountain side

Snowlight in vermont

(Bridge is non-Haiku)

Evening summer breeze

Warblings of the meadowlark

Moonlight in vermont

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from fox news:

New postage stamp honoring Frank Sinatra to go on sale

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

WASHINGTON — A new stamp honoring Frank Sinatra goes on sale next week.

First-day-of-sale ceremonies for the 42-cent stamp will be held Tuesday at three locations familiar to the famed singer and actor. The price of a first-class stamp goes up a penny to 42 cents on Monday.

The first ceremony for the performer often known as the "Chairman of the Board" will be hosted by the post office's own chairman of the board of governors, Alan Kessler.

"Frank Sinatra was our nation's first modern entertainment superstar," Kessler said in a statement. "He had looks and charm, talent and skill, creativity, tenacity and style."

Joining Kessler at the 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Gotham Hall in New York will be Sinatra's daughter Nancy and son, Frank Sinatra Jr., as well as Rep. Jose E. Serrano, D-N.Y. Serrano has said he learned English by listening to Sinatra records.

Two other ceremonies will be held at 3 p.m. EDT. In Las Vegas, Tina Sinatra, another daughter, will join Postal Service governor James Bilbray in dedicating the stamp at the Bellagio fountain's main alcove on Las Vegas Boulevard.

And Frank Sinatra Jr. will join Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J., in a ceremony in Hoboken, N.J., Sinatra's hometown. The event will take place at Pier A Park at 1st Street and Frank Sinatra Drive.

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Slightly off topic: I'm compelled, at the mention of "Moonlight In Vermont" to point out that the lyrics in the "A" sections are in the form of Haiku-

Pennies in a stream

Falling leaves a sycamore

Moonlight in vermont

Gentle finger waves

Ski trails down a mountain side

Snowlight in vermont

(Bridge is non-Haiku)

Evening summer breeze

Warblings of the meadowlark

Moonlight in vermont

Wow! Never noticed that before -- thanks for the insight. Any other tunes with similar Haiku-derived lyrics?

FYI, one John Blackburn wrote the lyric to "Moonlight In Vermont." He apparently wrote a lot of songs but this was his only real shot at immortality. Not much info about him out on the web and a Nexis search revealed no major newspaper obituaries when he died in 2006. He does have a brief, sketchy wiki entry and I also found this small-townish story http://www.pioneer.net/~bandee/page7a1.html.

Plus this short bio: Composer ("Moonlight In Vermont", "Need You"), actor, director and author, educated at Western Reserve University. He directed the Cleveland Playhouse, and a teaching fellowship at the drama department at Bennington College for 2 years. He acted and directed at the Pasadena Playhouse for two years. He was a film agent and record distribution manager and song plugger, had his own record company, and worked for North American Aviation. He joined ASCAP in 1953, collaborating with Lew Porter and Karl Suessdorf.

Suessdorf, by the way, wrote the music for "Moonlight in Vermont."

Edited by Mark Stryker

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Wow, I never realized that about the lyrics of Moonlight in Vermont!

Will have to check out that Sinatra version some day, sounds fascinating!

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Can we expect jazzbo to be glued to the telly? :)

jazzbo can very tactfully relate that he does not have cable.

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Wow! Never noticed that before -- thanks for the insight. Any other tunes with similar Haiku-derived lyrics?

I don't know of any others. A quick Google search turned up a site that takes pop songs and converts them to haiku, but not much else.

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Slightly off topic: I'm compelled, at the mention of "Moonlight In Vermont" to point out that the lyrics in the "A" sections are in the form of Haiku-

Pennies in a stream

Falling leaves a sycamore

Moonlight in vermont

Gentle finger waves

Ski trails down a mountain side

Snowlight in vermont

(Bridge is non-Haiku)

Evening summer breeze

Warblings of the meadowlark

Moonlight in vermont

Wow! Never noticed that before -- thanks for the insight. Any other tunes with similar Haiku-derived lyrics?

FYI, one John Blackburn wrote the lyric to "Moonlight In Vermont." He apparently wrote a lot of songs but this was his only real shot at immortality. Not much info about him out on the web and a Nexis search revealed no major newspaper obituaries when he died in 2006. He does have a brief, sketchy wiki entry and I also found this small-townish story http://www.pioneer.net/~bandee/page7a1.html.

Plus this short bio: Composer ("Moonlight In Vermont", "Need You"), actor, director and author, educated at Western Reserve University. He directed the Cleveland Playhouse, and a teaching fellowship at the drama department at Bennington College for 2 years. He acted and directed at the Pasadena Playhouse for two years. He was a film agent and record distribution manager and song plugger, had his own record company, and worked for North American Aviation. He joined ASCAP in 1953, collaborating with Lew Porter and Karl Suessdorf.

Suessdorf, by the way, wrote the music for "Moonlight in Vermont."

I've loved that song almost forever, but never focused on the FORM of the words. Very interesting.

Henry Mancini used to say something like, "always write the music first, or you'll get doggerel", in giving his recipe for success. Well, I don't know about that but it seems to me that that song would have almost HAD to have been written words first; I really can't see any composer writing music that would allow a lyricist to write a Haiku poem to the tune.

A little more on John Blackburn. The record company he owned was Selective, based originally in LA, then Van Nuys, california. Active in 1949 & 1950, released two/three dozen R&B, Gospel & C&W 78s. Funny repertoire, I thought, for someone with that background.

MG

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TCM has posted some videos on their website. Click on "interview/specials." That gives you the choice of four tunes: "Come Fly With Me," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "I've Got the World on a String" and "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World." (On the last is from Part 2; the others are from part 1.)

http://www.tcm.com/2008/sinatra/index.jsp#video

Edited by Mark Stryker

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Great stuff! :tup

I have a photograph of Sinatra sitting in a chair looking at a cigarette. I've always wondered where it was taken and confirmed last night it was from that show.

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Great stuff! :tup

I have a photograph of Sinatra sitting in a chair looking at a cigarette. I've always wondered where it was taken and confirmed last night it was from that show.

That's another thing that bugs me about Sinatra's on stage mannerisms. What's the deal with glamorizing smoking? Surely he knew that smoking could have nothing but a deleterious effect on his singing, yet somehow he apparently felt the need to convey what he must have considered is the "hip" attitude of a smoker. Did he actually really smoke off camera? Hard to believe. In this last show he expresses in a funny, yet no nonsense way, how very important music is (was) in his life, yet the prop that promises to snuff (pun intended) the vitality out of his art has to be present. No excuse that this 1966 program represented a different attitude towards smoking - Surgeon Generals reports had been in the public consciousness for some time.

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Great stuff! :tup

I have a photograph of Sinatra sitting in a chair looking at a cigarette. I've always wondered where it was taken and confirmed last night it was from that show.

That's another thing that bugs me about Sinatra's on stage mannerisms. What's the deal with glamorizing smoking? Surely he knew that smoking could have nothing but a deleterious effect on his singing, yet somehow he apparently felt the need to convey what he must have considered is the "hip" attitude of a smoker. Did he actually really smoke off camera? Hard to believe. In this last show he expresses in a funny, yet no nonsense way, how very important music is (was) in his life, yet the prop that promises to snuff (pun intended) the vitality out of his art has to be present. No excuse that this 1966 program represented a different attitude towards smoking - Surgeon Generals reports had been in the public consciousness for some time.

Who in show business wasn't smoking at that time? Musicians especially. We even had a thread on this board about all those pictures of jazz musicians and their smokes. Sure, their was a warning about it, but these were indeed different times, that is no excuse, just a plain fact.

Honestly, it's not as if there isn't still a lot of that going on today. Plenty of the present day musicians/performers/actors are smokers.

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Great stuff! :tup

I have a photograph of Sinatra sitting in a chair looking at a cigarette. I've always wondered where it was taken and confirmed last night it was from that show.

That's another thing that bugs me about Sinatra's on stage mannerisms. What's the deal with glamorizing smoking? Surely he knew that smoking could have nothing but a deleterious effect on his singing, yet somehow he apparently felt the need to convey what he must have considered is the "hip" attitude of a smoker. Did he actually really smoke off camera? Hard to believe. In this last show he expresses in a funny, yet no nonsense way, how very important music is (was) in his life, yet the prop that promises to snuff (pun intended) the vitality out of his art has to be present. No excuse that this 1966 program represented a different attitude towards smoking - Surgeon Generals reports had been in the public consciousness for some time.

Actually, the landmark Surgeon's General Report was only issued at the start of 1964 so the degree to which it had saturated the public consciousness by 1966 is highly debatable. If you're looking for a watershed mark to measure the impact of the country's evolving attitude toward smoking, I'd suggest the ban on tobacco ads on TV and radio that began in 1971. That said, everybody always knew that smoking was bad for you in some general way and singers knew it was tough on the voice.

Sinatra smoked in real life, but my understanding is that he cut back when performing and might go weeks without any cigarettes leading up to important recordings or appearances -- somebody with a good Sinatra bio would have to give us more detail. I suspect he smoked for the same reason that most people smoke -- they are, more or less, addicted to nicotine. Which is not to say that smoking didn't evolve into part of his persona and remain an acting prop on stage. But in his time and milieu, smoking was as much a part of daily life as it was for jazz musicians. I wouldn't say he was glamorizing smoking; I would say he was living a lifestyle.

If you want to see something incredible on many levels, check out how he opens his weekly TV show in the '50s with a direct promotion for the sponsor, Chesterfield cigarettes. This is probably 6 years before the Surgeon General's report. They don't make 'em like this anymore.

http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/searc...-promotio_music

On a related note, I recall reading an interview with Lockjaw Davis who was arguing that jazz musicians should be spokespersons for cigarettes. His point was that jazz musicians should enjoy the same commercial benefits as other celebrities. Now, Jaws had a very sophisticated understanding of the music business, but I believe this interview dates to the mid '60s. Interesting as it relates to attitudes toward smoking.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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Can we expect jazzbo to be glued to the telly? :)

jazzbo can very tactfully relate that he does not have cable.

So did you watch it on your DirecTV or Dish Network? :)

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Can we expect jazzbo to be glued to the telly? :)

jazzbo can very tactfully relate that he does not have cable.

wow lon i thought i was the only one! no cable in our house either!

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Can we expect jazzbo to be glued to the telly? :)

jazzbo can very tactfully relate that he does not have cable.

So did you watch it on your DirecTV or Dish Network? :)

Ha!

No, don't have those either, just what comes over the airwaves.

Evan, I'm glad I don't have that stuff actually, it saves me from watching TOO much television (which I would define as more than I am already watching as a newly lonely boy!)

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Sinatra died ten years ago today. Seems like yesterday.

Will definitely spin some Ol' Blue Eyes this evening.

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Sinatra died ten years ago today. Seems like yesterday.

Will definitely spin some Ol' Blue Eyes this evening.

Jeeze, it sure doesn't seem like ten years ago!

Dang.

Edited by BruceH

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A couple years back, somebody gave me a rather beat-up but quite-playable used copy of the 4-CD Reprise box-set. I've never delved much into this era of FS (just have the album with Ellington & SINATRA & STRINGS, which I nabbed during a BMG fire-sale), but I can definitely recommend the Reprise collection for anybody wanting an overview of FS' 1960s/70s work. Some good singles and unreleased sides included as well.

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A couple years back, somebody gave me a rather beat-up but quite-playable used copy of the 4-CD Reprise box-set. I've never delved much into this era of FS (just have the album with Ellington & SINATRA & STRINGS, which I nabbed during a BMG fire-sale), but I can definitely recommend the Reprise collection for anybody wanting an overview of FS' 1960s/70s work. Some good singles and unreleased sides included as well.

His early Reprise albums "Ring a Ding" (with Johnny Mandel) and "Swingin' Brass" (wih Neal Hefti) are among the best things he ever recorded.

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Sneaking up on the Sinatra centennial in 1915. He would have beenn 98 today. Here's a peerless reading of "We'll Be Together Again" from television in '57. Sweets Edison is obviously the (unseen) trumpeter and Bill Miller the pianist, but anybody know who the the alto player is -- a studio cat with a Johnny Hodges in him ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw_5qZB7P-M

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He says, "Yeah, Skeets", so my guess would be Skeets Herfurt, who Nelson Riddle used a lot during that time (it's his chart, iirc).

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