ON SINATRA or HOW TO BE TIMELESS TONIGHT
Back in New York, where he started, where twenty thousand bobby soxers
once pressed themselves against the doors of The Paramount Theatre to
see him, things are different. The brilliant bronze doors are green with
neglect. On one side wall, the chalk legend "The Animals Are Loved
Only by Girls Named Josephine."
Animals may come, and they sure do go, but Sinatra stayeth. He stays
to sing. Whatever it says at the top of your calendar, that's what Sinatra
sings like: 66, 67, 99... He isn't with the times. More than
any other singer, he is the times.
If the electric guitar were disinvented tonight, a few thousand singers
would be out on their amps. But not Sinatra.
He defies fads. He stayeth. He has known more and felt more about the
stuff songs are made of, the words of poets. He's been a Stranger in the
Night, and you have to be long rid of baby fat to be that Stranger. You
can't sing the way he does until you've been belly to belly with Reality
a few times.
That's what makes insight, and what's made The Sinatra. What's made him
last, and get better. Allowed him to last through The Age of Anxiety and
The Age of the Atom and The Age of Acne.
He's lasted. Most men would give away twenty years of life to be him,
or even to have his memories.
And if he tosses off a tired joke about his tired tonsils... If he smiles
about hoping one of his kids comes along soon so he can retire... If he
clears his throat with a line about having just swallowed a shot glass,
the people all laugh. If they didn't, he'd know he was in trouble. When
they stop laughing, then you're in trouble. But Frank ain't in no trouble.
He leans into the front end of Strangers and starts singing
all the way to "The End." And there's no chop-choppy phrasing
along the way. No dit-dit-dit. It comes out mmmmmmmmm all the way. It's
like he makes a contest out of singing without breathing. If he runs out
of gas on a phrase, which is a very rare bird for the man, then he runs
out of gas two-and-a-half miles after anybody else would. He sings like
he's got an extra tank of Texaco in his tummy.
So the man's the master of pop singing form. But that's not the big thing.
What's the big thing is the way he uses form.
Sinatra, when he sings at you, doesn't look at you. He looks about six
inches behind your eyes.
His eyes a little far away. A little closer to where the truth lives.
If you want to pick a word for it, pick one in seven easy letters: Honesty.
The thing is, no singer else is quite as honest. And that makes no one
else quite as good, doesn't it.
Strangers In The Night (1966)
Strangers In The Night
All Or Nothing At All
You're Driving Me Crazy
On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)
My Baby Just Cares For Me
Yes Sir, That's My Baby
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
In The Night from Amazon.co.uk.