I tuned in to the CBS tribute Sinatra 100 Sunday night with great anticipation.
A fan of Frank Sinatra my whole life — or at since my father Frank introduced me to the music of the man known as both Ol’ Blue Eyes and The Chairman of the Board before I even went to kindergarten — I thought the Grammy folks were right to take the legend in the Centennial year of his birth and make sure the seeds were planted with stars of several generations sharing his words and sounds.
And the music was outstanding.
Hover over any gallery photo for a description. Click on the bottom right photo for an enlarged slide show.
And the music was pretty wonderful.
The orchestra, led by Don Was, handled the original arrangements as played by all those bands that backed Sinatra from the 1940s to the early 1990s to the note.
The singers included the go-to for this tribute, including great crooner Harry Connick Jr., who’s carried Sinatra’s love of the Great American Songbook onward for another generation and Frank’s friend, octogenarian and fellow legend Tony Bennett.
They also included country stars Garth Brooks and Zac Brown (both who wore black hats of different types) to represent the 80s/90s and this millennium, and Carrie Underwood, and pop giant Lady Gaga.
My favorite touch was from rock giant Bono and band mate from U2 The Edge, on film from London, who performed a wonderfully intimate version of a song they wrote specifically for Sinatra with the hopes he’d record or perform it. Indeed, One Shot of Happy, Two Shots of Sad. Sinatra, he shot them down. My second came from Colombian star Juanes, who backed up a clip of Sinatra and his friend Antonio Carlos Jobim with spectacular performance.
Yes, the music was special.
So were the moments when they let the old clips of Sinatra of speak for themselves.
But I kept waiting for somebody to take the stage and tell the world why the man is still so important these 100 years after he was born in Hoboken, N.J., spend a moment or two in words to inform the younger folks who might be enjoying their stars perform his music why the dots should be connected.
They had Tony Bennett right there to tell of that friendship and what made Sinatra special.
They had Quincy Jones there, to talk about the man and the music. Our treasured producer, now 82, came closest, relating a Sinatra quote: “Live every day like it could be your last. Someday you’ll be right.”
Sinatra fans in Syracuse will get a chance to relive his songs as well as the work of the great Billie Holiday with a nightclub-style show tonight at Drumlins on Nottingham Road. Ronnie Leigh sings the songs of Sinatra, and Patricia Oasis performs the songs of Holiday, who also was born 100 years ago. Tickets are $25, available at the door. Doors open at 6, and show time is 7 p.m.
Here’s the link to the photo of Garth Brooks.
Here’s the link to the photos of Lady Gaga and Carrie Underwood.
Here’s the link to my WAER podcast with Ronnie Leigh talking about Sinatra’s legend and the details about tonight’s Sinatra show at Drumlins in Syracuse.
If you saw the Sinatra special, which was your favorite song performance, and why? Would you prefer more songs or more words about the legend, and why? Who’s the best cover singer of a Sinatra standard you’ve ever heard, and why?