Archive for the Music Category

Frank Sinatra and the Twin Palms

Posted in Entertainment, Music on May 24, 2015 by franksinatratribute

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In 1947, a home was built in Palm Springs California, and from the very beginning, this property was destined to become famous just like its owner.  Along with 4500 square feet of living space on one level, it featured an impressive sound system in the living room, and outside, a swimming pool in the shape of a grand piano.  The house was built for Frank Sinatra and has become known as Twin Palms, for the two tall trees that tower above it.

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Although Frank had asked for a Georgian-style mansion with a brick facade and columns, the designer he hired, E. Stewart Williams influenced him to go with the modern style residence that became this desert home, with floor to ceiling windows that offer views of the well groomed grounds and that spectacular pool.  And since 2011, it has been designated a historic site, complete with a plaque at the front door.

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The home was known to be the scene of many parties and get-togethers during the Sinatra years there, first with Frank and his wife Nancy, and later with Frank and second wife Ava Gardner.  And to this day, the parties continue, as the current owners have made it available for rent for special events.  It’s preserved the way it was in Sinatra’s day, but these days, it plays host to corporate events, private parties and even wedding receptions, often featuring a performance by a Frank Sinatra tribute artist, like Monty Aidem.  All the while, the twin palms still reach to the sky as if to punctuate the words Fly Me To The Moon.

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A Frank Sinatra Tribute on CD

Posted in Entertainment, Music on July 20, 2014 by franksinatratribute

MarqueeCovina72w580Because of Frank Sinatra’s enduring popularity, many tributes to his music are performed in theaters and concert venues around the world.  They range from solo vocalists in front of a small band, to vocal groups and large symphony orchestras.  And there are many Frank Sinatra tribute CD’s as well.  One new one features a re-creation of the Sinatra sound by a performer with a background in TV as a writer for many top stars including Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, and on several occasions, Frank Sinatra.  

The CD is by Monty Aidem, who performs a solo Frank Sinatra tribute show, and leads a Rat Pack tribute show co-starring two top performers from Las Vegas.

This new release consists of 15 songs in the Sinatra style, including several songs performed regularly in concert by Frank Sinatra, and several significant, but lesser-known songs from the extensive Sinatra library of recordings.  The collection is titled Some Special Favorites.  Samples of each song are available, along with the ordering information, at the performer’s web page for the Frank Sinatra Tribute CD.   

I’ve Got A Crush On You

Posted in Entertainment, Music with tags , on July 25, 2013 by franksinatratribute

Frank Sinatra Tribute - Crush On You

George and Ira Gershwin wrote many memorable songs, including one that was recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1947, 1960 and 1993.  It’s a beautiful ballad called I’ve Got A Crush On You and Frank also sang it in concert many times throughout the years.  That includes a playful rendition preserved as part of Frank’s concert recorded live at the Sands in Las Vegas in the 60’s.

The song was first featured in a Broadway show called Treasure Girl in 1928, and it was later recorded by artists including Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Steve Tyrell, and Michael Buble.  And a duet version was recorded by Rod Stewart and Diana Ross in 2005.  Even Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys recorded the song in an album titled Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin.

But one of the most memorable recordings of the song was the duet between Frank and Barbra Streisand for the Sinatra Duets album in 1993.  All of the duets on that album used vocals recorded separately by Frank and his duet partners that were blended together in the studio by the engineer.

But the  Sinatra/Streisand duet has a unique exchange on it that sets it apart from the other duets.  Barbra personalized her vocal by singing “You make me blush, Francis”.  Hearing that, it was decided that Frank should respond vocally.  Since his vocal had already been recorded, an unusual step was taken.  Standing backstage at a concert in Atlantic City, Frank sang into a portable DAT recorder, singing the words “I have got a crush, my Barbra, on you”.  The combination, with Frank’s line actually coming first, was then incorporated into the mix, and I’ve Got A Crush On You by Frank and Barbra is considered one of the best tracks on the two Sinatra Duets albums.

For more background on the duet, visit the Barbra Archives.  And for more stories about Frank Sinatra, visit the Frank Sinatra Tribute website, FrankTribute.com 

A Sinatra Daughter Speaks

Posted in Entertainment, Music with tags , on January 15, 2013 by franksinatratribute
Tina Sinatra

Tina Sinatra

Not many people could know Frank Sinatra as well as his family, which includes daughter Tina, Frank’s youngest child, who executive-produced the excellent TV movie Sinatra in 1992.  The film, which was an honest reflection of Sinatra’s life, received a total of seven prime time Emmy nominations, two of which it won.    Tina also wrote a wonderfully interesting peek into life in the Sinatra family in her book My Father’s Daughter, co-authored with Jeff Coplon.

For a quick introduction to Tina Sinatra, there’s an interview with Tina on the web at a site called Spinner.com.  In her conversation with Spinner, Tina covers a variety of subjects, including what it was like hanging out as a teenager with Frank’s Rat Pack associates.  She has great personal insights into the lives of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.  From her observations, you can tell she was close to both of them and definitely saw another side they didn’t show to the general public.  Tina shares her insight into the Rat Pack’s appeal and their enduring popularity going back those 50 years to the Rat Pack’s heyday spent in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, among other locations.

And Tina talks about the proposed feature film on her dad’s life to be brought to the screen by Martin Scorsese sometime in  the future.  The project is said to feature a favorite actor of Scorsese’s, Leonardo Di Caprio in the lead.  And although Tina declares her support for Scorsese and his judgment, she also offers some casting ideas of her own in her interview, which you’ll find at Spinner.com 

Lady Blue Eyes

Posted in Entertainment, Music on June 13, 2012 by franksinatratribute

Frank Sinatra was marrried four times, first to Nancy Barbato, then to Ava Gardner, followed by Mia Farrow.  His fourth marriage was his longest, and its story is a fascinating one told by Frank’s fourth wife, Barbara Sinatra in her book called Lady Blue Eyes; My Life With Frank, co-authored by Wendy Holden.

Barbara shares the good and the not so good of the 22 year marriage, from the luxurious lifestyle and generosity of her husband, to his moodiness and temper.  He courted her with a flair for gift-giving and romantic gestures, including a knack for picking out the best jewelry.  But drinking gin brought out a mean streak in Frank, not to mention the effect on him of reporters who said bad things about him.  There is no mention of Nancy or Tina Sinatra in Barbara’s book because of the almost non-existent relationship between Barbara and Frank’s daughters. 

According to the book, Frank’s tastes could be simple, favoring mundane things like grilled cheese sandwiches, and he often spent quiet time at home reading and doing crossword puzzles.  And he was known to cook up pasta dishes himself for his celebrity guests.

All in all, it’s a revealing, private peek into marriage to Frank Sinatra, an honest tribute that shares revelations of his many complicated traits, including his obsession with being clean to the point of showering as often as twelve times a day, which he acknowledged by signing his love notes to Barbara with the name “Charlie Neat”.

For more inside looks into Frank from people who knew him in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, visit The Frank Sinatra Las Vegas style Tribute.

 

 

 

 

 

A Frank Sinatra Tribute By His Conductor

Posted in Entertainment, Music on August 18, 2011 by franksinatratribute

For many years, Frank Sinatra was joined on stage by a musician named Vincent Falcone Jr. who served as Frank’s conductor and piano player.  Vinnie has also played and conducted for many other great performers, including Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, Jack Jones, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Robert Goulet, Connie Francis and several other artists.

You can read about Vinnie’s relationship with Frank Sinatra in Vinnie’s book titled Frankly Just Between Us; My Life Conducting Frank Sinatra’s Music, written by Falcone and Bob Popyk.  It’s a great inside look at performing with one of the world’s greatest entertainers, told from a musician’s point of view.  In this book, the musicians aren’t only in the background, but their roles are clearly defined and featured.  And Vinnie’s personal role as Frank’s conductor makes for a fascinating read.

It starts with the story of Vinnie’s beginnings in Syracuse New York, to landing work in Las Vegas and on to traveling the world with Frank and company.  And Vinnie includes stories of his work with many other great vocalists as well.

Although things didn’t always go smoothly, with occasional drama within the band and Vinnie being fired and rehired by Frank, Vinnie makes it clear that he wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything else, and that, along with all the great stories that are shared makes Frankly Just Between Us quite a compelling book, for fans, musicians, and every performer of a Frank Sinatra Tribute Show.

Frank Sinatra and the Concept Album

Posted in Music with tags on July 17, 2010 by franksinatratribute

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.