I Really Dislike Frank Sinatra: How alone am I?

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Well, my girlfriend does too, and at least one other friend of mine, but when I revealed my revulsion to them, each reacted with this "You too?" sigh of relief. This made me think there are more of us out there.

I especially hate the song New York, New York, not because it's overplayed, but because it's the embodiment of the idiotic attitude of slicksters who drive around in their BMW convertables listening to Sinatra and thinking they're "king of the hill, top of the heap." And as my girlfriend pointed out, why should we start spreading the news? Who cares if you're leaving? By extension, I hear this putzy attitude in a lot of Sinatra's music. Sure, he had a powerful, distinctive voice, and he knew how to deliver a song, but I can't stand listening to him. I'll take Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima, Dean Martin, or about anyone else over Frank.

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I should add that it may have something to do with the fact that my best friend's tone-deaf dad, who used to drive us the twenty-minute ride to High School sometimes, would often put on his Sinatra tape and belt along.

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

judging sinatra on "ny, ny" is kinda like judging chuck berry on "my ding-a-ling"

j blount (papa la bas), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I'm not judging him on that, just using it as an example.

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I don't like his voice. I don't like the way he delivers every line as though he's singing about himself.

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

you hate billie holiday too?

j blount (papa la bas), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:46 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

No, I like Billie Holiday. It's just Sinatra that gets on my nerves.

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:54 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Please, please listen to 'Goodbye' off of Only the Lonely.

I don't like the way he delivers every line as though he's singing about himself.

But that's such a big jazz singer thing. He didn't write any of those songs, so he had to own them by how he sang them.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, but I guess what I mean is that when he's singing a love song, I feel like it's more about him than a lover. I also feel like he's always doing his tough guy schtick, even when he's supposed to be vulnerable.

I've heard Only the Lonely before, but I don't particularly remember it, so I'll try to give it more consideration.

I do admit, his phrasing was spot on.

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I love the arrangements on his records (Nelson Riddle, I guess?). I listen to him more for that than for anything else.

drfunk (DrFunktronic), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:11 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Oh, he's vastly overrated. I'll take Nancy any day. And Lee Hazlewood, for that matter.

Frank's a better actor than he is a singer.

Blightersrock (Da ve Segal), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

My Sinatra cd has an apocalyptic final track. The end is ny, ny

Frogman Henry, Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:19 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I like Frank, especially the sad bastard period. I could go my whole life without hearing "New York New York" or "Love and Marriage" again, though.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

It's all about "One For My Baby".

oh and side one of Sinatra and Company, the side w/Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Riot Gear! (Gear!), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

My grandmother hated Frank Sinatra because of his mafia ties.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:28 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Don't forget his mafia shirts and trousers.

Frogman Henry, Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:30 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

nice.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:30 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I don't mind Frank really, he's done some great stuff. But he got cheesy towards the end, and the fawning bullshit I saw on every talkshow right after he died, stories you'd read from, I dunno, Chazz Palmenteri gushing about how he'd shared a martini with Frank once, ignoring the fact that he was apparently sort of a prick overall, etc. He always struck me as the epitome of style over substance, and he always seemed like the sort of guy who felt that women had their place, and it was a distant second.

Riot Gear! (Gear!), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

that said, great music up til the early '60s, and some decent stuff scattered thereafter.

Riot Gear! (Gear!), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

In the Wee Small Hours is enough for me.

Aaron A., Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The man does seem to have unquestionably been an asshole, but the music is what we're left with and I love it like yer sposeta.

I wouldn't give up my Miles Davis or Charles Mingus records either, and nobody ever accused those guys of being wonderful human beings.

A personal favorite album, and I can't say whether it would sway you or not, is the record he did with Antonio Carlos Jobim. The version of "I Concentrate on You" in particular doesn't sound anything like this:

Yeah, but I guess what I mean is that when he's singing a love song, I feel like it's more about him than a lover. I also feel like he's always doing his tough guy schtick, even when he's supposed to be vulnerable.

Austin (Austin), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 06:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I used to hate Frank Sinatra, but then I realized I just dislike a- his image b- Maxim reading tools who think he's so cool. It's kind of how I like the Smiths but can't stand Smiths fans.

Heidy- Ho, Wednesday, 2 February 2005 07:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I was indifferent to Frank Sinatra before we started listening to his 'Capitol Years' collection alongside Dean Martin's 'Capitol Years' collection at work, and I realized that Dino was so much better all around. More character, better songs, and a wider range of arangements.

derrick (derrick), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 07:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

yeah i cannot fucking stand him

bulbs (bulbs), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 08:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

yipee! i'm not alone. FS couldn't sing! the songwriting is terrible too, though i'm not sure if that's his fault.

xenografia, Wednesday, 2 February 2005 09:20 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

can't stand him. but "a very good year" is funny.

i do want to hear that late 60s thing he did that's supposed to be some bizarre attempt to be hip.

el sabor de gene (yournullfame), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 10:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Dean > Frank

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 10:22 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Maxim reading tools who think he's so cool

absolutely. sinatra and his ilk ... it's become music for people who don't really like music, which is a terrible shame. the westlife and robbie covers are proof incarnate of this. "ooh, westlife are the new rat pack!" no they're not, they're a bunch of chancing fucks who haven't an original idea in their heads, and sinatra would have had them shot.

grimly fiendish (grimlord), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 11:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

There was a swing-type band at a wedding reception I was at last summer, and the singer kept introducing songs with 'Here's another one made famous by Robbie Williams', before launching into 'Mack the Knife' ect.
I agree that this perceived 'classiness' is offputting.

bham, Wednesday, 2 February 2005 12:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Practically everything the man did on Capitol is gold.

Jazzbo (jmcgaw), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 12:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

OTM. And some of the (early) Reprise stuff is silver.

lovebug starski (lovebug starski), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 13:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Have you guys actually listened to Sinatra? The guy who said, "It's kind of how I like the Smiths but can't stand Smiths fans " got it right. Just about every album from "In the Wee Small Hours" to "Come Fly With Me" is a masterpiece; I vouch for "Songs for Swingin' Lovers (as sexy and confident as the Elvis Sun sessions) and "Only the Lonely."

"My Way" is a piece of crap (I prefer Sid Vicious' version), and most of what he recorded after 1960-1961 is rather uneven, until 1968, when his output becomes unbearable. THAT'S when the style overwhelms the substance.

The image has interfered with his art for too long. I thought you guys were smarter than this.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 14:03 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

er, hang on. more than half the posters here - myself included - have expressed some admiration or love for his music. the image has become an enormous problem, though, and i can see how for some it would be insurmountable. hellfire, it almost is for me.

grimly fiendish (grimlord), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 14:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I've never been a fan of his.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 15:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

...and if I never heard "New York, New York" again, that'd be just fine with me.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 15:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Can't abide "My Way," "New York," "Pretty Good Year." The out-and-out worst thing he ever perpetrated was "That's Life," which is a lame-ass Ray Charles imitation.

But consider the Rodgers & Hart material: "Little Girl Blue," "My Funny Valentine," and above all "Fly Me to the Moon." Classic, classic, classic.

And as for this--

I especially hate the song New York, New York, not because it's overplayed, but because it's the embodiment of the idiotic attitude of slicksters who drive around in their BMW convertables listening to Sinatra and thinking they're "king of the hill, top of the heap."

Doesn't this critique verge on being extramusical? Along the lines of "I can't stand [insert act here]--it's music for frat boys/people who wear ties and work in offices/people's dads/people's moms."

Ditto on the "he was an asshole" line of argument.

Yeah, but what about the music?

Dude was a great artist in his prime. But the memory of his bloated decline is what stays in people's heads.

The Mad Puffin, Wednesday, 2 February 2005 15:11 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I don't especially like him, and I find him unappealingly cold most of the time. Also, this is a case where I find an artist's image really difficult to separate from the recordings themselves. But I have to admit, having done the fox trot to some of his songs (with a dance instructor I had a crush on, and with a girlfriend), that some of these songs (and I mean his recordings of them) can be fun. Not really my type of thing, overall.

RS £aRue (rockist_scientist), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 15:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"i do want to hear that late 60s thing he did that's supposed to be some bizarre attempt to be hip."

Do you mean Watertown? It's a concept album/song cycle thingy, done in collaboration with someone from The Four Seasons (I think). It's bloddy great. For some reason it reminds me of Berlin by Lou Reed.

Adam Faithless (Adam Faithless), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 15:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I once dismissed Sinatra. Why? Just because of generational issues. Anything pre-rock, bleh.

But I got the message about ten years ago. His work up until about '67 is mostly great...the Capitol concept albums are all masterpieces. In fact, I used to yank the chain of this dude in Memphis who called Dylan "the Shakespeare of our generation" and all that shit--I'd say, "yeah, Sinatra was far better than Elvis." 'Cause really when you think about it they kinda did the same thing, at root--reviving old music, interpreting, doing the hits of the day, all that. I like Elvis fine but Sinatra was far and away the better singer. The dude would say, "but Elvis was doing something new, Sinatra was not." Howzzat? Elvis started out doing songs that had been done before, from Crudup and Bill Monroe and others, just like Sinatra was doing his Great American Songbook shit. I mean, Junior Parker and Crudup and Monroe, don't they belong in the Great American Songbook? It's just a matter of who's reviving whom, whether you were from Hoboken or Memphis.

Anyway, I don't have anything to say one way or another to those who don't like Sinatra--fine, there are plenty of lauded people about whom I'm indifferent for my own reasons (Neil Young, Van Morrison, the Ramones, Bowie, etc.). But to say Sinatra couldn't sing--I dunno. He certainly had the respect of everyone who worked with him, he had ears, he thought about what he was doing, he was a totally conscious artist.

Nick Tosches wrote a funny book about Dean Martin--many have said he played fast and loose with the facts. I think Dean was really what Frank wanted to be, an actual tough guy and all that. And Dean could sing, he was very good. But it's just Nick Tosches takin' the piss when he said that Dean was just as much an artist as Frank. Come on. Entertaining but just a product of Tosches's desire to be an iconoclast. Listen to Sinatra with Red Norvo, that live stuff, and tell me if he didn't deserve to be ranked with great jazz singers like Holiday and Armstrong.

es hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 15:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I used to think I liked him a lot until I bought one of his CD's. I was really disappointed. I love "New York, New York". I used to go around singing it as a kid, and even sang it in an Asian karaoke bar out in the middle of bumfuck nowhere about 4 years ago!

Bimble... (Bimble...), Thursday, 3 February 2005 07:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

rockist kinda nailed it for me there. as an "interpreter" its all about HIM. now this can work for me if i like the him/her involved. but he seems like a cold heartless bastard

bulbs (bulbs), Thursday, 3 February 2005 07:31 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

es hurt, did Sinatra ever *reinvent* stuff like Elvis did, though? I mean, "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" in the Elvis version is almost a different song than the original, in mood and tempo, I can't really remember any Sinatra renditions that are like that.

As for Sinatra - it's all about "It Was A Very Good Year" for me, so sober and tragic and bittersweet; I like the way he talk-sings, so theatrical. I also associate the song with Leone's "Once Upon A Time In America" for some reason, all that nostalgia and regret and age. Bought "In The Wee Small Hours" last Summer, hoping for more stuff like that, but it kinda put me to sleep. Looking at the album cover seems much more rewarding than actually listening.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Thursday, 3 February 2005 10:21 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Frank never did anything new? His phrasing was radical, revolutionary, he didn't just interpret he really personalized and inhabited the lyrics. You feel like he's singing about his life, not a sensation I ever get from Bing Crosby. Whether they know it or not, every rock & roll singer from Elvis on down was influenced by his style.
But I could never stand the sound of Frank until I moved to New York and heard him "in context," on Sid Marks' all-Sinatra radio show every saturday night. Plus those 50s and 60s concept albums really start to resonate once you hit middle age...

lovebug starski (lovebug starski), Thursday, 3 February 2005 11:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I am not too fond of Sinatra, for different reasons (most notably: he bores me to tears), but to say that the guy can't sing is just plain wrong. Also, to ask Sinatra to change arrangements on a particular song (much like Elvis contributed in doing) is plain silly because Sinatra was not a musician and never pretended to be. The guy is an interpret in the strictest sense of the word. It is like speculating on the influence Joe Cocker had in arranging that "With a Little Help from my friends" cover, when you had Jimmy Page around...

blawa (blawa), Thursday, 3 February 2005 13:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

another vote for 'only the lonely'; gentleness, restraint, almost unbearably bleak evocations of loss and grief. i actually find it physically unsettling. franks voice runs through so many different and subtle gradations, shades of heartbreak. it's subtle at first, but once you fall into its world you're just awed by its power. singing near-existential torch songs: hardest game in the world innit?

all that swing shit is appaling though. bet jamie cullum's got his greedy little eye on an album of it too.

debden, Thursday, 3 February 2005 16:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i sometimes wonder how on earth sinatra could sing those songs so tenderly, with such a seeming understanding of longing and love, and yet be such a nasty arrogant little chauvinist?

debden, Thursday, 3 February 2005 16:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Speaking of, um, swing, I don't think anyone's mentioned the live stuff with the Count Basie band either. Shit's hot.

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 3 February 2005 16:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Sinatra was not a musician and never pretended to be

This is a ridiculous statement. Of course he was a musician, and a good one.

A few months ago I saw that one tv special where he does duets with Jobim and Ella Fitzgerald and then lets them do solo stuff, and it's so cool to see him sitting on the floor next to the stage just grinning and enjoying Ella's singing

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 3 February 2005 16:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"i sometimes wonder how on earth sinatra could sing those songs so tenderly, with such a seeming understanding of longing and love, and yet be such a nasty arrogant little chauvinist?"

that's one of the mysteries of art. Lou Reed is supposedly a real twat, and yet that twat wrote "Candy Says" and "Stephanie Says." The twat was responsible for "Berlin" and "Mistrial."

As for Sinatra not contributing to arrangements - well, that's ridiculous and ignorant assertion, based on the assumption that because he didn't play an instrument he just walked into a studio and sang the hell out of something. Sinatra not only sat down with Nelson Riddle and his orchestra to work out the arrangements, he also CONDUCTED the orchestra on several albums, most notably on a Dean Martin album whose name escapes me.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 3 February 2005 16:54 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

yeah i know what you mean about reed, also dylan, verlaine, lord even eric matthews. the list is endless

it's just that this seems to go some way further; it's like the most extreme case i've ever heard - how can he ache so much for something he considers fundamentally worthless? it's such a mystery.

yep he was often quite passionate about the arrangements

debden, Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

es hurt, did Sinatra ever *reinvent* stuff like Elvis did, though? I mean, "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" in the Elvis version is almost a different song than the original, in mood and tempo, I can't really remember any Sinatra renditions that are like that.

And the Elvis version SUCKED compared to the original.

David Allen (David Allen), Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

it's like the most extreme case i've ever heard - how can he ache so much for something he considers fundamentally worthless? it's such a mystery.

you wanna hear extreme, listen to charles manson singing "home is where you're happy." as imperfect men making perfect art go, sinatra was but one of a million. nothing remarkable about him in that sense.

fact checking cuz (fcc), Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Sinatra was not a musician and never pretended to be

OK from my nickname you probably know how I'm going to vote here, but certainly his peers would have disagreed. Many years ago someone (the BBC?) conducted a poll of over a hundred jazz musicians, arrangers etc as to who were the greatest ever jazz singers, male and female. Guys like Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones etc were among the respondents. Sinatra not only won the male category, he scored more than 60% of all votes cast (including Miles's, obv). To put it another way, in a constituency made up of jazz greats, the combined total of votes for every other male jazz singer who ever lived was less than 2/3 of the votes cast for Sinatra.

frankiemachine, Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:12 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

he didn't play an instrument he just walked into a studio and sang the hell out of something.
Doesn't Dan Perry usually show up around now.

I read the Nick Tosches book- Dino, Living High In The Dirty Business of Dreams, I believe- and it was very entertaining, but I agree with es hurt, NT was taking the piss a little bit. It was written before Rat Pack Cool came in- at the time all those guys (except Frank, I think) were viewed as jokes. I like Dino in movies- when he sings "My Rifle, My Pony and Me" with Rick Nelson(!) in Rio Bravo or especially when he sends up his own image playing a character called Dino in the underrated Kiss Me, Stupid.

I think Hurting's original objection is sort of personal rather than technical, unless I misread something. And I haven't thought about it much, but it seems to me that influence-wise, he's the number-two popular singer of the past century, after Louis Armstrong, if the wisdom I have received is correct.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:16 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i've probably argued this on 17 other threads, but whatever ... no one ever complains that jimmy page just walked into a studio and played guitar, he never sang or anything; and no one ever complains that john coltrane was just a sax player, couldn't sing worth a lick. why do artists suddenly become suspect when they "only" sing? i can walk out on the street right now and probably find a dozen great guitarists without trying. great singing -- truly great vocal chops -- is a much rarer skill, is every bit the craft that playing any instrument is, and has arguably played a bigger role in the development of the popular song.

which is all to say: sinatra was a fucking grandmaster of a musician.

fact checking cuz (fcc), Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

truly great vocal chops -- is a much rarer skill
True dat. It's interesting you mention Coltrane, because I remember somebody saying on one of the sax threads something like "it's relatively easy to play beginner's sax, but hard to play it well." But I can't find it, maybe it was actually on the Born to Run thread?

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Sinatra... smug hack with a four note range and a two note personality, unjustly bigged-up because Nelson Riddle made him sound good. Nat King Cole is 10x better. Hell, even Cole Porter is better.

Lord Custos Epsilon (Lord Custos Epsilon), Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:46 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Amg bio:

Frank Sinatra was arguably the most important popular music figure of the 20th century, his only real rivals for the title being Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles.

Horseshit

Masked Gazza, Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

How To Erase All Non White People From Popular Music, lesson one

Masked Gazza, Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"it seems to me that influence-wise, he's the number-two popular singer of the past century, after Louis Armstrong, if the wisdom I have received is correct."

My recieved Wisdom throws Ella up there too, for what that's worth.

Austin (Austin), Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Apologies if that seems random. Enthused by this thread I go over to AMG to see which Sinatra albums I should order over the weekend and am confronted by....that.

Masked Gazza, Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:20 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

You should order In the Wee Small Hours and Only the Lonely for sure...

Stormy Davis (diamond), Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:22 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Sounds like maybe someone is trying to make a distinction between pop and jazz but I agree - that hardly justifies it if they mean by pop is crackas and all jazz means is darkies.

Stormy's recommendations are solid, and as I mentioned above, I'd also get "Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim."

Also good: "Come Sing With Me" and "Come Fly With Me"

Austin (Austin), Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Thanks. Some of those album covers are really iconic aren't they.
Come Dance with Me is er, creepy.

Masked Gazza, Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:30 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Only the Lonely and

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I think that what Sinatra and Bing Crosby were to the 40s is what Elvis was to the 50s and the Beatles to the 60s - ie., an epoch-defining artist that anyone who came of age in that generation could basically not avoid reacting to one way or another. So that AMG bio is really not far off the mark - though you could quibble with how they define importance.

It's hard for us to see why Sinatra and Crosby were so revolutionary in their day, because just about everyone who came after absorbed their innovations. Try talking to someone who lived through the 40s though, and you'll get a different perspective.

o. nate (onate), Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Sinatra was not a musician and never pretended to be

This is a ridiculous statement. Of course he was a musician, and a good one.

I meant that he was not an arranger nor a songwriter, and he didn't try to be one. People layed the music down and then he proceded to phrase the lyrics around that.

blawa (blawa), Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:53 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

that's not entirely accurate. as noted above, Sinatra worked closely with arrangers and had a lot of say in the material.

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:54 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Sorry, I meant to say Only the Lonely and Live at the Sands, or whatever the thing with Basie is called.

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Please note that I am not dismissing his vocal chops, because he had one hell of a set of pipes.

I guess he had as say in arrangements but I am pretty sure he didn't layed any scores down. There is no reason, especially with the power he held, why he wouldn't have had a say in what he sung. All I am saying is that his main contribution was in the vocal arrangements and singing the song as best he could.

blawa (blawa), Thursday, 3 February 2005 20:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

that Live at the Sands album is amazing.

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 3 February 2005 20:06 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Buddy Rich never wrote a tune or an arrangement either.

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 3 February 2005 20:12 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

in the wee small hours, only the lonely, and especially No One Cares, really made me love sinatra.

kyle (akmonday), Thursday, 3 February 2005 20:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

actually, I meant Where Are You? No ONe Cares is good too

kyle (akmonday), Thursday, 3 February 2005 20:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Interesting discussion, very informative.

"My Way" is a piece of crap (I prefer Sid Vicious' version), and most of what he recorded after 1960-1961 is rather uneven, until 1968, when his output becomes unbearable. THAT'S when the style overwhelms the substance.

Lyrically and musically, the song always struck me as a piece of defiant hubris - the kind of thing you might sing before being sucked straight into hell. There is something about it that suggests the character has not only failed to triumph except in his own mind, but that he has somehow failed to see beyond his own needs. One could imagine, perhaps, a very rich and unhappy man singing that song.

thee music mole, Thursday, 3 February 2005 20:20 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I think that what Sinatra and Bing Crosby were to the 40s is what Elvis was to the 50s and the Beatles to the 60s - ie., an epoch-defining artist that anyone who came of age in that generation could basically not avoid reacting to one way or another. So that AMG bio is really not far off the mark - though you could quibble with how they define importance.

OK just to remind you, AMG says Frank Sinatra was arguably the most important popular music figure of the 20th century, his only real rivals for the title being Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles. So this is about 'figures', ie great musicians who largely defined 20th century popular music. Can anyone seriously think Duke Ellington, James Brown, Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Ray Charles
come nowhere near the likes of Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley in terms of overarching importance? As you say, if you define importance as popularity then AMG's picks might be the ones, but that's not what the word conveys to me.

Masked Gazza, Thursday, 3 February 2005 21:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i don't know if anyone's mentioned this, but when he took the opportunity sinatra was a gifted conductor and arranger as well. mostly in his youth--after he reached a certain level of popularity he abandoned some of his adventurism and eventually became really uninteresting musically. but for a while he was great at discovering underappreciated songwriters. see his "frank sinatra conducts alec wilder" lp for proof.

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Thursday, 3 February 2005 21:42 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Masked Gazza: you're getting stuck in semantics. Everyone of those figures AMG cites profoundly altered the course of popular music. That's all the site is trying to say.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 3 February 2005 21:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

xpost

yeah, this whole "no, so-and-so was the most important" stuff is k-boring.

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Thursday, 3 February 2005 21:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

xpost
Well I don't think so. I think it's saying something something else ie what it's actually saying, rather than the words you use, which aren't in the quote at all. Apart from "popular music".

Masked Gazza, Thursday, 3 February 2005 21:47 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

(x-post)
actually what amg is saying is that those four are THE most important figures of the century and they have no rivals besides each other. so masked gazza is totally on point.

and i agree this stuff is k-boring, but amg started it!

fact checking cuz (fcc), Thursday, 3 February 2005 21:49 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

xpost
Well it is boring, but ridiculous statements often are.

Masked Gazza, Thursday, 3 February 2005 21:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I think there's a legit beef in there about excluding r&b/jazz/black performers from some hypothetical pantheon, but I don't know what it has to do with this thread.

Austin (Austin), Thursday, 3 February 2005 21:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

for a while he was great at discovering underappreciated songwriters
I wish I could remember where I heard him doing a funny bit during a show about the hits that got away- "Boy, I sure know how to pick 'em, don't I? " He then proceeds to tell some anecdotes about being given famous songs to record and rejecting them including: "And then I told that kid with the beard and the sandals to get out of town." At which point he sings a few bars of "Nature Boy." And so on.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 3 February 2005 22:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Frank Sinatra was arguably the most important popular music figure of the 20th century, his only real rivals for the title being Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles.

Those wacky AMG dudes! Sometimes they right, sometimes...but the above is one stupid-ass statement. Obviously, it's Louis Armstrong. I think Bing and the Chairman would've agreed...Elvis, I dunno, he would've said "that little negor fellow we bumped into on the Strip," or something. Or one of the Blackwoods maybe. That's one thing I never got about Elvis--why couldn't he have called up Sinatra and said, "I wish to work with the guys who play for you, that Bill Miller..Basie, is he available?" It's one of the reasons I say Sinatra over Elvis--I mean, OK, Elvis did use some good guys like in his band, like James Burton, they were fine, but he could've done so much more. "The New New Tennessee Waltz: Elvis and Jimmy Rowles Sing and Play Stick McGhee." "Elvis/Dolphy Summit at the Chicken Shack!!," an album of Louis Jordan tunes arr. by Oliver Nelson. "Delta Duck Got Webb-Foot: Presley, Jim Webb Style." "Hillbilly Bop: Elvis Presley and Sonny Stitt, Burnin' at the Village Vanguard." Instead, he hung out in Vegas and Memphis and ate Nutty Buddies. I don't get it...I guess he really didn't have any fuckin' idea what he was doing, and Sinatra did.

fatsdominoruins (ddduncan), Thursday, 3 February 2005 22:28 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

OMGWTF, I am listening to the Basie album right now and Frank is doing some between-song Amos 'n Andy routine. It is offensive.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 3 February 2005 22:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

has he done any of his "boy Dino sure is a drunk!" material yet?

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 3 February 2005 22:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, he's just done that. Now he's doing his po' boy growing up in Hoboken schtick.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 3 February 2005 22:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I have one Sinatra-conducts LP, it's quite rare, and it's no fucking good--"Plays Music from Plays and Films" or something, mood music of no discernible interest.

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Thursday, 3 February 2005 22:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

yeah that banter is godawful. but the toons! just think of it as the pre-hip hop equivalent to all those totally offensive skits that litter hip hop albums...

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 3 February 2005 22:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

TS: Sinatra's racist banter vs. Eminem shooting gays

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 3 February 2005 22:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I'd rather listen to racists, homophobes, misogynists -- hell, even rockists -- than hear little boys crying wolf about it.

Heidy- Ho, Thursday, 3 February 2005 23:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I saw Ray Price doing some Mexican schtick with his band leader a few years ago- it was actually kind of fascinating, like he stepped out of some showbiz time machine.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 3 February 2005 23:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I hate that "New York, New York" (though I love the real one, by Comden and Green). And I used to dislike Sinatra generally, too. But if you get the Capitol stuff, you'll come to appreciate him.

TS: Sinatra's racist banter vs. Eminem shooting gays

uh, you don't get it

gabbneb (gabbneb), Thursday, 3 February 2005 23:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

oh right, one's a "metaphor".

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 3 February 2005 23:40 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

I can't stand Frank, either. Beautiful voice, I will grant you, but most of his music makes me want to kill myself. Depressing stuff when you think about it.

The Biggest Regret of My Life (u s steel), Tuesday, 8 February 2011 17:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

But that's so often what makes it great! I imagine you don't like Joy Division either.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 8 February 2011 19:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

He wasn't too popular with the GI's coming back in '45 and '46 either.

Le mépris vient de la tête, la haine vient du cœur (Michael White), Tuesday, 8 February 2011 19:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

Xpost
Songs for Swingin' Lovers, A Swingin' Affair, Come Fly With Me, Come Dance With Me and Sinatra's Swingin' Session!!! — all of which are great — are hardly depressing affairs.

Jazzbo, Tuesday, 8 February 2011 19:23 (eight years ago) Permalink

I still have a vivid memory of being in the back seat of my parents' car as a youngster on a rainy day, and hearing the radio play Frank's version of "Cottage For Sale." Being a rock and roll loving youth, I thought this was the most lugubrious, horrible song ever, and it pretty much summed up what I thought of Sinatra in general. It took me another decade or so to come around to the swingier stuff, and even longer to "get" this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_hVwk3CXzk

Glorified Lolcat (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 8 February 2011 19:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

yipee! i'm not alone. FS couldn't sing! the songwriting is terrible too, though i'm not sure if that's his fault.
― xenografia, Wednesday, February 2, 2005 4:20 AM (6 years ago) Bookmark

can we look into retroactive SBs?

door to door legume salesman (San Te), Wednesday, 9 February 2011 01:13 (eight years ago) Permalink

also re: My Way, Frankie himself hated that song for many of the reasons listed ITT. He hated the lyrical content.

door to door legume salesman (San Te), Wednesday, 9 February 2011 01:13 (eight years ago) Permalink

Jesus fuck, this thread is a monument to tin-eared idiocy.

that's not funny. (unperson), Wednesday, 9 February 2011 01:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

You just need to get him under your skin to appreciate him.

Jim, Wednesday, 9 February 2011 13:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

Man, fuck Frank Sinatra; I can't go out for Italian, go to a mall, go to the fucking dentist without hearing this shit nonstop!

Dan I., Tuesday, 6 February 2018 20:41 (one year ago) Permalink

"music for people who don't really like music," is right

Dan I., Tuesday, 6 February 2018 20:44 (one year ago) Permalink

I could listen to the sad-bastard ballad albums forever tbh, but fuck ever listening to the upbeat stuff

Simon H., Tuesday, 6 February 2018 20:46 (one year ago) Permalink

So you haven't got the world on a swing?

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 20:59 (one year ago) Permalink

geez Dan I, an awful lotta musicians like Sinatra.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 21:00 (one year ago) Permalink

Jesus fuck, this thread is a monument to tin-eared idiocy.

― that's not funny. (unperson), Wednesday, February 9, 2011 1:46 AM (six years ago)

yeah, what he said.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 21:04 (one year ago) Permalink

I'd rather listen to racists, homophobes, misogynists -- hell, even rockists -- than hear little boys crying wolf about it.
― Heidy- Ho, Thursday, February 3, 2005 5:02 PM (thirteen years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

haha this is classic old skool ilm - rockism as being perhaps worse than racism, homophobia, and misogyny

It's not delivery, it's Adorno! (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 21:17 (one year ago) Permalink

I could listen to the sad-bastard ballad albums forever tbh, but fuck ever listening to the upbeat stuff

― Simon H., Tuesday, February 6, 2018 1:46 PM (thirty-four minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

idk man i feel like you need both sides

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 21:20 (one year ago) Permalink

It took me forever to realize that Sinatra's style reminds me post of spoken word poets. You either buy into how he's using rhythm and emoting across the sung lines and it gels when the material is good or it just seems incredibly indulgent and induces terminal eye-rolling

mh, Tuesday, 6 February 2018 21:42 (one year ago) Permalink

are there any Sinatra songs with falsetto?

Dominique, Tuesday, 6 February 2018 21:45 (one year ago) Permalink

idk man i feel like you need both sides

just not his "Both Sides Now"

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 21:45 (one year ago) Permalink

lol i set it up, you knocked it down morbs

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 21:52 (one year ago) Permalink

stick around, jack, it may show

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 22:12 (one year ago) Permalink

besides disliking his musical output a lot there's something really off-putting about his face

like i try not to judge because people can't help their face shape, but he always makes me think of a sculpture bust that was so badly made it turned cursed and malevolent

heliogabberlus, Tuesday, 6 February 2018 22:18 (one year ago) Permalink

Man, fuck Frank Sinatra; I can't go out for Italian, go to a mall, go to the fucking dentist without hearing this shit nonstop!

― Dan I., Tuesday, February 6, 2018 3:41 PM (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

first thing I picture when I hear his music in my head is the Maggiano's next to the Border's near my parents house blaring Sinatra out front.

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 22:37 (one year ago) Permalink

Man, fuck Frank Sinatra; I can't go out for Italian, go to a mall, go to the fucking dentist without hearing this shit nonstop!

― Dan I., Tuesday, February 6, 2018 3:41 PM (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

weird, i don't hear him played as background music anywhere.

vicious almond beliefs (crüt), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 22:40 (one year ago) Permalink

Literally everywhere that wants to project "class" or "manliness" or "classy manliness"

Dan I., Tuesday, 6 February 2018 23:02 (one year ago) Permalink

MitchDan I., out!

Some Dusty in Here (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 23:03 (one year ago) Permalink

I mean, i don't spend a lot of time in haberdasheries, but I assume it's all sinatra all the time

Dan I., Tuesday, 6 February 2018 23:04 (one year ago) Permalink

Sinatra fucking rules btw

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 04:16 (one year ago) Permalink

fuuuuck frank sinatra right in his smug mouth

davey, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 04:27 (one year ago) Permalink

Or, IDK, maybe it was excusable in his heyday but being into Sinatra was already atavistic in the 70s, forget about now.

davey, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 04:29 (one year ago) Permalink

you're atavistic

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 11:18 (one year ago) Permalink

Watertown is one of my favorite albums ever and I'm glad no filmmaker has ever gotten around to making a movie out of it.

Simon H., Wednesday, 7 February 2018 13:48 (one year ago) Permalink

This ^^^

I was APPALLED to find no Watertown tracks on Alfred's best of list.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 13:54 (one year ago) Permalink

I hadn't heard it! Facebook friends introduced me.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 13:57 (one year ago) Permalink

Tell it to the judge.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 13:58 (one year ago) Permalink

Doobie doobie doo-doo imo

I'm very active in the pegasus community (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 13:58 (one year ago) Permalink

It's a testament to his talent that you can buy him as a working-class schlub just trying to keep his family together (while in reality he was, on top of everything else, a damned steel magnate)

Simon H., Wednesday, 7 February 2018 13:59 (one year ago) Permalink

I don't think I've ever listened to Sinatra on purpose. Him and Elvis, I get it but I don't really need it.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 14:22 (one year ago) Permalink

he was an awful person. and most of his most famous (nowadays) music sucks balls, and that badness is magnified a thousand times by the losers making a career off of being fake sinatras.

however, In the Wee Small Hours (and some of Where Are You?) is absolutely god tier amazing and pretty different to his usual swingin' prick persona.

jamiesummerz, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 14:35 (one year ago) Permalink

challenging opinions

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 14:36 (one year ago) Permalink

What's this about Sinatra's swinging prick?

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 14:38 (one year ago) Permalink

Ava had no problem

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 14:43 (one year ago) Permalink

fake sinatra sounds like the name of a ska band

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 17:02 (one year ago) Permalink

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trash_Can_Sinatras

mh, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 17:04 (one year ago) Permalink

ILM lol

Alderweireld Horses (darraghmac), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 17:09 (one year ago) Permalink

there was a fellow when I was in college who posted to a local music messageboard who was obsessed with that, among other lesser-known bands

certainly out of my realm of expertise

mh, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 17:10 (one year ago) Permalink

??? their second album is really great

brimstead, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 17:12 (one year ago) Permalink

Their fans call them "the Trashies"

not "Frank Jr"

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 17:12 (one year ago) Permalink

darraghmac are you into trash can sinatras?

brimstead, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 17:13 (one year ago) Permalink

Hum their big hit

Alderweireld Horses (darraghmac), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 17:13 (one year ago) Permalink

My wife is into the TCSs, they're good!

Btw the largest outdoor malls in L.A. play Frank Sinatra all the time. I mean I think it's literally all the time.

omar little, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 17:17 (one year ago) Permalink

this thread is like if someone started a beach boys thread and just complained about how much they hated "kokomo" and how sick they were of all those stupid guys w/ their dumb surfboards trying to be cool. it's music for ppl who don't really like music, man!

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 18:12 (one year ago) Permalink

nah man, beach boys is music for people who think they like music but don't

Dan I., Wednesday, 7 February 2018 18:15 (one year ago) Permalink

but re: sinatra being played non-stop in certain public places, are there any other artists that get this treatment? I've been in many public places where they seem to play Sinatra exclusively at all times. I think this is where the "music for people who don't really like music" thing comes from--there are a shocking number of people out there for whom music literally begins and ends with sinatra; they don't listen to anything else, at all. only thing I can think of that comes close is a dude I knew who had the complete discographies of leonard cohen and billy joel on his ipod and nothing else.

Dan I., Wednesday, 7 February 2018 18:22 (one year ago) Permalink

like maybe Jimmy Buffett in the florida keys?

Dan I., Wednesday, 7 February 2018 18:27 (one year ago) Permalink

i mainly hear sinatra in, like, those pizza places that have black and white photos of new york on the wall

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 18:27 (one year ago) Permalink

oh shit, i just remembered what probably was subliminally the entire reason I posted in this thread in the firs place! I was recently dragged to a lower-middle-brow cathedral: the dale chihuly museum at the foot of the space needle, and it was all-sinatra up in there. it was very fitting.

Dan I., Wednesday, 7 February 2018 18:47 (one year ago) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuIcRiHlHoY

kornrulez6969, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 18:55 (one year ago) Permalink

I have def been in a supermarket in the last year (in Brooklyn) where the PA was tuned to the Sirius Sinatra station.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 19:05 (one year ago) Permalink

if u dont fuck with this song i dont wanna know u on a deep personal level
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG9YAHYe80I

Men's Scarehouse - "You're gonna like the way you're shook." (m bison), Thursday, 8 February 2018 03:58 (one year ago) Permalink

the fuck is wrong w you people

Entrepreneurial Jism Unshackler (Hadrian VIII), Thursday, 8 February 2018 04:03 (one year ago) Permalink

September of my Years is a great album, maybe my second-fave overall

Simon H., Thursday, 8 February 2018 04:13 (one year ago) Permalink

I fuck with "water to drink"

brimstead, Thursday, 8 February 2018 06:12 (one year ago) Permalink

xps all time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5F6PXAZIRg

sleepingbag, Thursday, 8 February 2018 06:46 (one year ago) Permalink

"if u dont fuck with this song i dont wanna know u on a deep personal level"

"the fuck is wrong w you people"

couldn't help but hear both of these in sinatra's speaking voice

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 8 February 2018 07:11 (one year ago) Permalink

well I mean I am frank sinatra so that makes sense

Men's Scarehouse - "You're gonna like the way you're shook." (m bison), Thursday, 8 February 2018 11:34 (one year ago) Permalink


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