The Best of Ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra
Ol’ Blue Eyes was born Francis Albert Sinatra on December 12, 1915. He definitely enjoyed a successful career by doing things his way. After first choosing retirement in 1971, he returned just 16 months later to the delight of thousands of fans. His last public performance was on February 25, 1995, at the Marriott Hotel in Palm Springs, California, where he sang six short songs leaving the stage for the last time after signing The Best is Yet to Come. Even though he died on May 14, 1998, his music is still loved by crowds around the world.
The music for My Way was originally released as the French song Comme d’habitude which translates as My Usual. Paul Anka, who was popular for singing songs like Put Your Head On My Shoulder, encountered the song while he was on vacation in the south of France. After quickly obtaining rights to the song, he wrote lyrics in under four hours. The lyrics that Anka penned have nothing to do with the original song. He then called Sinatra at 5 AM telling Sinatra that he had his next hit in his hands. Sinatra recorded the song on December 30, 1968. Quickly becoming Sinatra’s theme song, it went on to sell 989,000 copies spending 75 weeks on the Top 40. Amazingly, the highest it ever rose was fifth.
Strangers in the Night
The German orchestra leader Bert Kaempfert is credited with writing Strangers in the Night who developed the instrumental for the movie A Man Could Get Killed. The English lyrics for the song was written by Charles Singleton who would go on to write Moon Over Naples, and Eddie Snyder who went on to write many hits for Doris Day. When the song was turned down by several other artists, it was given to Sinatra to perform at the last minute with Glen Campbell serving as the guitarist. Glen messed the part up the first take, and this made Sinatra very angry. Not until the second take did Frank Sinatra added the famous doo-bie-doo-bie-doo.” In 1966, Sinatra used the song as the lead for his new album which became Sinatra’s most successful album ever.
C. Carson Parks, who is most famous for singing San Antonio Rose, wrote and recorded Somethin’ Stupid with Gaile Foote. Someone played the song for Frank Sinatra who instantly fell in love with it. Sinatra took the song to his daughter’s producer Lee Hazelwood asking if he liked it. Hazelwood instantly told Sinatra that if he did not record the song with Nancy, then he would do it himself. The record was cut on February 1, 1967. It almost instantly became Sinatra’s third gold record and Nancy’s second. It is still the only song father-daughter duet to rise to the top of US Billboard Top 100.
Three Coins in a Fountain
Sammy Cahn and Julie Styne were given the impossible task of writing a song in under 24 hours for the movie Three Coins in a Fountain. They actually succeeded with writing the song in under an hour despite the fact that they had no knowledge of the movie. Since 20th Century Fox was in such a hurry to get the song written, they forgot to have the artist’s sign away their rights to the song. Therefore, the artists introduced the song to Sinatra who recorded the demonstration record the next day. The song went on to sell 376,000 times.
Theme from New York, New York
In many ways, this song was autobiographical for Sinatra as the song tells the story of a small town boy who made it big in New York City. Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey and had definitely already made it big by the time that he started performing it in his acts at Radio City Music Hall. The song sold 301,000 times.
Three Sinatra Christmas songs take the next three spots in Sinatra’s top 10 hits.
– Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas was written by Paul Martin
– Let It Snow Let It Snow was written by Julie Styne and Sammy Cahn during a heat wave
– Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie
The Tender Trap
Jimmy Van Heusen wrote the music to the Tender Trap while Sammy Cahn wrote the lyrics for the Sinatra movie The Tender Trap. Despite being nominated for an Academy Award for best original song, it lost out in 1957 to Love is a Mighty Splendored Thing.
Learnin’ the Blues
This song written by Dolores “Vicki” Silvers was originally released as the B side on the album If I Had Three Wishes. Despite the fact that Sinatra had already been in retirement for several years, and dead for 10, Alicia Keys opened the 2008 Grammy Awards by singing this song while archival footage of Sinatra was played.