Frank Sinatra and the Concept Album

Starting in the 50’s, Frank Sinatra embraced the notion of putting out albums that had a unifying theme.  And he continued the idea over the years with many great collections based on a single concept.  As a result, he may be more associated with the concept album than any other recording artist.

Early Sinatra concept album examples include Songs For Young Lovers and Swing Easy.  But the first full Sinatra concept album was In The Wee Small Hours Of the Morning, released in 1955.  Its songs were all specifically recorded for the album and like the title song, they were all ballads about lost love and loneliness.

The list of Frank Sinatra concept albums is extensive, with many sorrowful ballad collections like Where Are You, No One Cares, All Alone, Point Of No Return, and Only The Lonely.  That last one had an album cover featuring a tearful Sinatra that won a grammy for album cover art.

Many more Sinatra concept albums came along, including uptempo releases like Come Fly With Me, Come  Dance With Me, Songs For Swingin’ Lovers, A Swingin’ Affair, and Sinatra Swingin’ Session.   And then there was Nice n Easy, The Concert Sinatra and an ambitious project called Trilogy.

Probably the most specific of the Sinatra concept albums would be Moonlight Sinatra, which only contained songs with the word moon in the title, although it didn’t include Fly Me  To The Moon.

One of the least known Sinatra concept albums is Watertown, which actually tells a story.  It didn’t exactly become part of the mainstream, but definitely has its fans.

Later on, an inspired collection of songs sung from a mature point of view was called September Of My Years.  And of course, there was the great collaboration with one of Brazil’s finest singer/composers, which resulted in an album called simply Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim.  And the two of them can be seen performing together in a relaxed setting on a Sinatra TV special.

A discussion of these great concept albums is definitely relevant to a Frank Sinatra Tribute, whose contribution is kept alive by the incredible library of recordings he left, and even by all the performers who continue to perform his songs, as Frank Sinatra tribute artists or Sinatra impersonators, as they’re also known.

For those who want to catch up on most of the titles above, you might want to pick up a CD box set of Frank Sinatra concept albums available from Capitol Records, where most of them originated.

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