Frank Sinatra is arguably the most famous singer the U.S. has ever produced. With affectionate mantles such as “Ol’ Blue Eyes” and “The Chairman of the Board,” this prolific, multi-talented musical star made an indelible impression courtesy of the American Songbook.
In my opinion, Sinatra was a singing storyteller. Perhaps his natural affinity for acting translated itself well when he took to the microphone. He started his career as a bobby soxer’s dream, possessing a very natural, creamy baritone that gave life to many a romantic ballad. But his real musical footprint seemed to outline itself in the later Columbia years and beyond, after he had an Oscar in his pocket and was finding movie roles fewer to come by.
When his breath control and intonation was compromised from years of cigarettes and booz, he showed his ability to swing with superb orchestrations from some of the era’s best arrangers. He never really seemed to retire, with more come backs than Nellie Melba, the Australian opera diva from the early 20th Century. At this point in his career, he was not only a superstar, but a living cultural legend. He could stand and bellow and people would still go bananas.
I’ve heard many wonderful versions of the classic Porter tune “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” But, with some of the qualities named above, Sinatra has the interpretation that I enjoy the most. Of course, it’s almost unjust to list one Sinatra song, but I’ll certainly revisit his impressive contributions again.