Skip to comments.You've Gotta Love Livin' Baby, Because Dyin's a Pain in the a**: Sinatra Remembered, 15 Years On
Posted on 05/17/2013 8:35:35 PM PDT by nickcarraway
You've gotta love livin' baby, because dyin's a pain in the a**: Frank Sinatra remembered, 15 years on from his death
Fifteen years today, The Voice fell silent.
Lover, fighter, Oscar-winning actor and the most dapper of crooners (even though Frank himself was not over-keen on the term), one of the biggest popular music icons of passed away at the age of 82 from complications associated with dementia, heart and kidney disease and bladder cancer.
But, as befitting one of the greatest-selling artists of all time, he will never fade out.
Mirror Online pays tribute to The Chairman of the Board by recounting some of our favourite anecdotes about the man for whom everyone that met him had their own individual story.
RIP Frank Sinatra.
According to his widow Barbara, Frank's fragrance was unexpectedly floral.
The former Vegas showgirl revealed how she was won over by Sinatra's dizzying sexual allure in her memoir 'Lady Blue Eyes: My Life With Frank'.
"Once he turned on the charm, my defenses rolled away like tumbleweed," she wrote.
"Inhaling his heady scent of lavender water, Camel cigarettes, and Jack Daniel's, I could do nothing but savour the moment of intoxication, oblivious to the consequences.
"He had a sexual energy all his own. Even Elvis Presley, whom I'd met in Vegas, never had it quite like that."
Despite decades of wild living and constant speculation about an association with the Mafia, Sinatra was only pinched and charged once for the unlikely (in terms of prosecution, not the partaking) crime of adultery.
Caught in flagrante delicto near his hometown in north New Jersey in 1938, Frank often said to have a PhD in women - was nicked, fingerprinted and fined a whopping $500.
Further punishment was avoided when the charge against the lady-friendly crooner was dropped. Fair to say his brush with the law didnt put him off.
Following son Frank Jrs kidnapping ordeal in December 1963, for which his dad put up a $240,000 ransom, Sinatra picked up an unusual custom.
The kidnappers had demanded that Frank Sr contact them only from payphones and so Sinatra carried an abundance of change on him throughout the three-day nightmare.
And that stuck. Frank is reported to have carried 50 dimes with him at all times wherever he went.
He is even thought to have been buried with a roll of dimes in his jacket pocket.
Lyricist Paul Anka recalled how Franks imminent retirement inspired him to adapt a French song that he had bought up the rights for Sinatra. That 1969 hit would go on to become one of Franks most memorable works and an enduring karaoke classic.
I realized, Frank is retiring. I want to write something, Anka is reported to have said.
So I took the French record out and transposed it to the piano to get the feel and vibe. It started to mould into this different song. I sat at the typewriter. It was 1 in the morning, a storm outside, and I thought: What would Frank say if he was writing this?
I thought metaphorically. And now the end is near The song started to write itself. I used dialogue that I wouldve never normally used for a song, but it fit what he was about and what he would say.
Chewed it up and spit it out and all that stuff. For the next four or five hours, I worked on it and completed it.
I called them out in Vegas and said, Guys, Ive got something for the album. We all knew it was something special.
Three months later, Frank called me from United Studios and put the phone to the speaker and played it for me for the first time. I started to cry. Id never had a creative moment like that.
Remember the scene from The Godfather where a Hollywood bigwig wakes up to find the tears of a horses head on his pillow? Of course you do even if you havent seen the film or read the novel it was based on. That film boss character had been messing with mob singer Johnny Fontane a role widely thought to have been based on Frank. And it is said that he didnt like it one bit.
The Godfather novelist and screenwriter Mario Puzo was aware that Ol Blue Eyes wasnt his greatest fan, but was once pressed into an introduction by a very drunk mutual friend when both were out to dinner.
Frank was so incensed that he shouted abuse but without swearing with the coarsest slur hurled reported to be pimp.
Puzo recalled: I do remember him saying that if it wasn't that I was so much older than he, he would beat the hell out of me. What hurt was that here he was, a northern Italian, threatening me, a southern Italian, with physical violence. This was roughly equivalent to Einstein pulling a knife on Al Capone. It just wasn't done.
Sinatra kept up his abuse and I kept staring at him. He kept staring down at his plate. Yelling. He never looked up. Finally, I walked away and out of the restaurant.
My humiliation must have showed because he yelled after me, Choke. Go ahead and choke.'
"No more of that talk about 'the tragedy of fame.' The tragedy of fame is when no one shows up, and you're singing to the cleaning lady in some empty joint that hasn't seen a paying customer since St. Swithin's Day"
"The first thing I notice about a woman is her hands. How they're kept. Grooming is so important.... I like a woman's clothes to be tasteful and subtle. I don't like excessive makeup.... I don't go for topless. I've never seen a topless bathing suit, but I don't have to see one to know I wouldn't like it"
"I never really was a street fighter. My fights became street fights - they started in the saloon and then we went out into the street. When somebody called me 'a dirty little guinea' there was only one thing to do. Break his head"
On being dumped:
"It's happened to all of us and never gets any easier. I understand, however, that playing one of my albums can help"
On his work:
"Somewhere in my subconscious there's the constant alarm that rings, telling me what we're putting on tape might be around for a lotta, lotta years"
"I don't need it. I know who I am"
"You've gotta love livin', baby! Because dyin' is a pain in the ass!"
Sinatra was cool but I think he was bipolar. Why would he assume Puzo was writing about him? It could have been anybody, unless what he wrote was true?
I’m 52 and a music lover. I play the 70’s stuff on my guitar on a daily basis.
The 30’s, 40’s, 50’s are the best.
This guy keeps it alive.
It’s a great life if you don’t weaken....
People might like his music but hwe was the biggest asshole you would ever want to meet!!!
Earl Wilson was right. Sinatra was not-so-hotra. A jerk. Even his fans protested “You must separate the artist from the art!”
Don Rickles: “I’ll make you feel at home, Frank. Hit somebody!!”
A Jewish guy named Carl Cohen loosened Sinatra’s front teeth caps with a roundhouse right after the Crooner kicked over a craps table & then called him a `kike’.
The day he died the DJ who reported it said, “Good riddance to the biggest son of a bitch in the history of the American entertainment industry.” He was a first class jerk.
I once saw Sinatra perform live—he led the audience in singing “Happy Birthday” at a rally at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles to celebrate Ronald Reagan’s birthday in 1980.
If you ever knew him you would agree!
“Why would he assume Puzo was writing about him?”
Sinatra wanted a lead role in “From Here to Eternity”. The word was that a reluctant producer was made an offer that he couldn’t refuse by one of Sinatra’s mob friends and Sinatra got the part.
Puzo just used a little artistic license.
Sinatra thought he was the living end.
I play his LPs backwards just for s***s and giggles.
“People might like his music . . . “
Or might not.
Do you know what song he reportedly was working on and had in his pocket when he died?
Supposedly, it was “When October Goes” (music by Barry Manilow, lyrics by Johnny Mercer.)
Yeah from what I read about him I think Sinatra was bipolar or what they use to call “manic depressive” in his day. Impulsive, loss of temper, he was like Mel Gibson who has the same condition, just going freakin nuts then going into a depression. I think Sinatra even said once he was manic depressive. I use to work for a guy just like that and I had to quit, I couldn’t take it anymore.
He also gave us...Nancy...not too shabby either.
Not a lot of love for Old Blue eyes here tonight. In the 60’s and 70’s Sinatra use to go to a neighborhood bar when he was in Providence, Hart’s Cafe. All I know is that everyone there loved him.
His masterpiece, IMO.
By the early 1950s, the singer saw his career in decline, his teen "bobby soxer" audience having lost interest in him as he entered his late 30s. In 1951, he went so far as to attempt suicide. Later that year, a second season of The Frank Sinatra Show was aired on CBS, but failed to receive the same positive reception the first season had, with its host having lost his previous energy. Later, in 1952, Sinatra was dropped from Columbia Records.
Against the wishes of his colleagues, on March 14, 1953 then-Vice President of A&R at Capitol Records, Alan Livingston, signed Sinatra to a seven-year deal on his label. The deal proved to be a success; later that year in August, Sinatra appeared as Private Angelo Maggio in the film From Here to Eternity. The film was highly successful and his performance was highly acclaimed, winning him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. With this new-found popularity he recorded two albums in 1954, Songs for Young Lovers and Swing Easy!, which both peaked at number 3 on the US charts, and the latter number 5 on the UK Album Charts. Sinatra made another acclaimed performance in February as the lead character, Frankie Machine, in the film The Man with the Golden Arm, which won him nominations for the Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Actor and Actor in Lead Role respectively.
Despite his new commercial gain, by the time of the recording of In the Wee Small Hours, Sinatra witnessed the messy end of a chain of relationships. He and his first wife, Nancy Barbato, had separated on Valentine's Day 1950. While still married, Sinatra began a relationship with Ava Gardner, which became very controversial. After he and Nancy finally divorced in October 1951, he married Ava just ten days later. However, they were both jealous of the others' extramarital affairs. Despite having considerable influence in getting him his part in From Here to Eternity, Ava broke off from Sinatra two months after the release of the film, divorcing in 1957. She claimed "We don't have the ability to live together like any normal married couple." Critics presume that these events are the reason behind the melancholy atmosphere of the album.
As a matter of fact I did take a music appreciation course at our local technical college. I learned how to greatly appreciate the music of Mozart, Beethoven, & Brahms.
Meanwhile, I still enjoy listening to “tihgnoT ydaL a eb kcuL” and “tfarchctiW”. While reading the Kitty Kelley bio on the Chairman.
Heh, heh, the music appreciation class had some good looking chicks; my main effort was in welding school learning stick, TIG, & pressure joint technique.
Backmasking has an extensive Wikipedia entry but I don’t go in for hidden meanings, although somebody took a vid of Hillary conceding the Dem nomination to Obama & when it was reversed her syllables came out like “W-w-w-hite House throne it is mi-i-i-ine!!”
Check out a 1955 sound lab album, “Strange to Your Ears”. The advent of magnetic tape led to experimenting with speed & direction which resulted in Dave Seville & the Chipmunks among other acts.
Yours is the most thought out response to my backwards silliness. More than once some Sinatra fan has said he’ll beat up anyone he hears playing ol’ Blue Eyes reversed. Which is why I never understood Sinatra’s claim that anti-Italian prejudice explained his hot temper. I actually had a co-worker who resembled Tony Soprano and who drew an absolute blank at the word “guinea”. Had no idea what it meant; we went to the Oxford unabridged & nothing in it about Italians.
Then there was Rush Limbaugh making fun of preachers who found satanic lyrics everywhere; he played on the air a Slim Whitman tune backwards & the voice of Beelzebub roared forth, scaring his fans who then burned their Slim albums.
The first backwards spinner was Thomas Edison himself. Before an audience he would record his own voice on the talking machine & then spin the cylinder backwards to gales of laughter. What really freaked people out was to hear their own recorded voices; to this day most folks are appalled by what they really sound like.
But the fierce loyalty of Sinatra fans still amazes me. I bought fifteen albums for $10.00 on eBay. Each one bore the owner’s address label on the cover and on the record label itself.
Yes, it was a New Jersey address.