Ol’ Blue Eyes.
The Voice, Swoonatra, The Bony Baritone.
The Innkeeper, The Groovy Galahad, The Swing-Shift Caruso.
10 years ago today the Chairman of the Board passed on. Francis Albert Sinatra died of a heart attack on Thursday night, May 14, 1998. Same night as the final Seinfeld show.
With a swagger that drove women mad, a style that men aspired to emulate and unequalled charisma and charm, Frank Sinatra was more than just another Hollywood star – He was a legend, an enigma. Simultaneously relatable and untouchable. But I was never really aware of any of that growing up.
I honestly never really cared much about Frank Sinatra when I was a kid. My older brother Scott is a huge Frank fan, and I would often hear his music playing when we would spend time together. I always liked it well enough, but it really didn’t do much for me. Being younger, I recall foolishly thinking it was “old people’s music” and not really giving it a second thought. When I grew older, though, I began to appreciate Frank Sinatra. The nuances in Frank’s voice, the arrangement of the music and way the songs sounded. Not just the words and melody, but the way the songs sounded. The way he emphasized certain parts of a song. Frank had an amazing ability to really draw you in to his music and make it a meaningful experience.
Dean, Sammy, Nat, hey I love you guys too. But Frank, man…Frank is The End. My favorite Sinatra songs change all the time, from season to season, even moment to moment. It depends on what’s going on my life at the time. Anything, everything can relate to Sinatra. That’s what’s amazing about the man’s music.
David Patrone summed it up perfectly on his blog recently: You hear this phrase a lot: "The thing about Frank Sinatra is…" well that’s just it. Sinatra did it all; his life, his music, an Oscar, eleven Grammies, two Golden Globes, uncountable other awards, his philanthropy, his failures, his ups his downs, his pain, his love, his luck (both good and bad) and his success tell an amazing story. His was a full life and if you haven’t had a chance to read about it, you really should. You could learn a lot about livin’ from Frank Sinatra. He climbed to the top and landed at the bottom and pulled it back up to the top again several times in Global Proportions. He was loved and hated and revered and despised, sometimes by the same person. His actual life was a piece of art; simultaneously beautiful and ignoble in the making, sublime and terrible in the examination. I’ve never heard anyone discount Sinatra as an artist; they may say something like, "I like so and so better" or, "that guy was a real @$$@!" but I’ve never heard anyone say, "I don’t like Frank Sinatra." He was bonified. He was 100% real.
Tina Sinatra recently commented, "The world stopped 10 years ago May 14th. All over the world, cities were draped in black. It was bizarre. But it tells me, then and now, that music is universal and that the emotional triggers of music never pass in people. You don’t forget an emotional moment, good or bad, particularly if it is connected to a song. And Dad was the kind of singer that you listened to if you were happy, if you were sad, and when you were intimate. It was said when he died that he underscored our lives – and I think he did. All singers do that. He just did it a little better and he did it for longer."
So tonight, all you cats out there raise a glass and, like Frankie said, "Live every day like it’s your last."