THE VOICE – ‘CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD’ – OL’ BLUE EYES

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December 15th 2015 marked the Centenary of Frank Sinatra’s birth and these three epithets by which he was known span his career of over six decades. As an unabashed fan of Sinatra’s from my early teens, I have amassed a legendary collection of recordings and memorabilia in the form of books, magazine articles, concert progams, movies etc.

He remains one of the all-time great entertainers of our generation, or any generation for that matter. Some people are muddled in their thinking when it comes to his private life, his romances, his wives, connections to the Mafia (about which there is no doubt), his brushes with the paparazzi etc. I have always felt that we only have the right to access his public persona, his music, his performances and his films. Being a nightclub performer goes hand in hand with brushing with the demi-monde as they ALL experience to this very day. It especially became a big deal in the era of JFK when the help of Sinatra et al. was very much sought to get the man elected, organise his Inaugural Ball and to tee up clandestine sexual liaisons, until Frank was dumped on the advice of JFK’s Attorney-General brother.

I couldn’t venture to choose his greatest song, his greatest album, there being too many in the top tier category. Yes, there were movies and recordings that were “clunkers”, critical flops, but those are very much in the minority. Of interest is a double DVD or Blu-ray just released overseas, “All or Nothing at All” that includes officially sanctioned documentary material plus the legendary 1971 “retirement” concert, the first time he retired for a short-lived two years.

I can do no better than to quote famed musican Quincy Jones, “Let’s be real, he had the best songs ever written in America, he had the best arrangers, and he had the best bands, man, and he’s got the best voice. He couldn’t lose. He could not lose, you know.”

WRITTEN BY: JULES BLACK

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