SDStaff Jill's mailbag this week re: Franky

Me and Frank are not on the best of terms, I listen to his tunes every now and then. He ain’t my favorite either, but I don’t need to hear Jill’s libel, thank you very much. The editorialising is NOT obligatory. The least she could have done is tie it in somehow to the story and not make it sound like outright bashing. Please, If you’re going to do that, take it to the pit.

“C’mon, it’s not even tomorrow yet…” - Rupert

If you need a graphic solution, http:\\Piglet

Hey, I do these things for free, and you’re telling me no editorializing? Hah, fat chance. Wait till I weigh in on Jim Croce.

Thank you, Jill for Speaking The Truth about ol’ Frankie. His whole career was made with a vocal range of maybe one octave. Eventually, he became a caricature of himself. His popularity was born out of the same demographic pile of swooning teens that accelerated the Beatles to stardom. The difference is that the Beatles were supremely talented, but look at them closely, they’re really not four attractive guys, it’s just that swooning teenage girls become blind to either lack of exceptional talent or exceptional looks. Frankie filled a postwar need for teen idols, who cared if he couldn’t really sing?

For years growing up, on Sunday mornings my parents would put the radio on to the Sid Mark show. Sid played only one thing: Frank Sinatra. Over and over and over. Every sunday I would preach to them breifly about how badly he sucked, and I would get the same answer: It’s his “phrasing”. “You just don’t understand”. Slowly the answer mutated into, “He used to be so good. His phrasing was wonderful”. Finally, after years of suffering, I won. They stopped playing him. I asked why. The reply, “He can’t sing, and his phrasing is so contrived that we just can’t stand to hear him anymore”.

That’s alright with me, Jack!

(Hey, Jill, what’s the problem with Croce? He was good!)

I am not a Frank Sinatra fan but he had been a good (not great) singer at one time, early in his career. I especially like his duet with Bing Crosby in High Society. But between abusing his voice with cigarettes and alchohol and becoming too full of himself, his talent erroded until it was just the PR left. But you always get people who will hear what he USED to sound like instead of what he actually sounds like when he sings. I gues love is deaf as well as blind.

Understand when you talk about Frank Sinatra, you are talking about many things: musician, actor, cultural icon. Those different images may color what you see.

If you don’t understand Frank Sinatra in the context of his work and the times around him, then you probably won’t appreciate what he did or who he was. This is especially true if your points of reference are all post-Beatles. You might even be resentful, because the early pr around Frank (that whole bobby-soxers thing was manufactured) eventually gave birth to the selfsame cult of personality that killed the Beatles. (They stopped touring, playing, working together because they got sick and tired of all the screaming.)

Over the arc of his life Frank Sinatra was many things. It can be argued that he probably should have stopped performing long before he went to that big jam session in the sky (like, say, before he was forced to put his lyrics on a Teleprompter because he didn’t have them in his head anymore), but he was first and foremost an entertainer and as long as somebody was willing to put their fanny in a seat to hear him, Ol’ Blue Eyes was on the job. Can’t fault his work ethic, even if you thought the product was bogus.
your humble TubaDiva
“It’s Frank’s world, we just live in it.”

<< I especially like his duet with Bing Crosby in High Society. >>

Brrrrrrrr. And I am forever saddled with that horrendous remake. See the original, no singing, no dancing, but wonderful dialog and great actors.

[[Can’t fault his work ethic, even if you thought the product was bogus.]]

I don’t buy records based on work ethic. I acknowledge there is obviously much more to this guy and his music than I appreciate or get in any sense, but some people don’t like artichokes, either.

artichokes have a lot of heart!
boo hiss

We live in an age that reads to much to be wise, and thinks too much to be beautiful–Oscar Wilde

How to Learn How to Hate Frankie:

  1. Listen very carefully to the phrasing, especially the last two notes of the phrase.

  2. Note that he glissandos (glides) from the penultimate (second to last) note to final note.

  3. Note that the glissando isn’t so much an artistic choice as a bad habit.

  4. Note that for any song he recorded in the latter half of his life, that glissando turned from bad habit to tone deafness – he glided until he ‘found’ the last note.

  5. The more you note all this, the more you’ll hate listening to anything Chairman of the Boardish.


How To Learn How To Love Frankie:

Pour yourself a glass of scotch, preferably after your sweetheart just left you, turn the lights down, and listen to “In The Wee Small Hours.”

Rolling Stone called him, “Indisputably the Twentieth Century’s greatest singer of popular song”.

One assumes Rolling Stone had never heard of Bing Crosby.

Well, if Jann Wenner says so, it MUST be true.