April 3, 2010

Sinatra: Best of the Columbia Era

Bobby soxers gone wild -
"Fans wait for a glimpse of Frank Sinatra, Los Angeles, 1944."

(The New York Times)

The skinny boy singer in 1944, disappearing behind the microphone stand.

Using Sinatra 101: 101 Best Recordings and the Stories Behind Them as a guide, here are the songs which are considered to be the best of the best among the ones Frank Sinatra recorded during his time with Columbia Records. My favorites are asterisked** below.

  • **"All the Things You Are" - recorded on January 29, 1945, in Hollywood. Sinatra nails the uncharacteristically high note at the end!

    When they composed "All the Things You Are," Hammerstein and Kern were at the apex of their songwriting brilliance. "The dearest things I know a what you are" is one of the greatest romantic lines ever written.
    (Sinatra 101: 101 Best Recordings and the Stories Behind Them, page 11)

  • "Embraceable You" - December 19, 1944

  • "She's Funny That Way" - December 19, 1944

  • "If I Loved You" - May 1, 1945

  • **"These Foolish Things" - July 30, 1945

  • "The Song Is You" - March 10, 1946

  • **"Time After Time" - an absolute favorite, perhaps my favorite of Sinatra's Columbia period. It's just so lovely.

    A warmly passionate reading by Sinatra and a virtually flawless vocal performance. Axel Stordahl's orchestration perfectly complements the marvelous breath control and impeccable phrasing of the singer.

    A high point in the collaborative work of Styne and Cahn, this ballad was written for the film It Happened in Brooklyn, starring Frank Sinatra.

    (Sinatra 101: 101 Best Recordings and the Stories Behind Them, page 19)

    It Happened in Brooklyn, 1947

  • "Always" - January 9, 1947

  • **"But Beautiful" - August 17, 1947

  • "Night and Day" - October 22, 1947

  • "Fools Rush In" - October 31, 1947

  • **"Body and Soul" - November 9, 1947

  • "Lover" - April 14, 1950, this is an early appearance of the swingin' tempo Sinatra would use so effectively at Capitol Records during the 1950s.

  • "Nevertheless" - October 9, 1950

  • "I'm a Fool to Want You" - March 27, 1951, the "Ava Gardner song." Supposedly, after this take, Sinatra walked out of the studio, exhausted, spent, done for the recording session.

  • "The Birth of the Blues" - June 3, 1952, though still a Columbia Records recording, this is the beginning of Sinatra Phase II:

    "The Birth of the Blues" may be the first great recording of the mature Sinatra. Certainly a harbinger of things to come. On this track, Sinatra employs a rough guttural sound that he would call upon in the 1950s to "punch up" his swing tunes. This technique would serve Sinatra well for more than four decades.
    (Sinatra 101: 101 Best Recordings and the Stories Behind Them, page 34)

  • **"Why Try to Change Me Now?" - September 17, 1952, Sinatra's last recording for Columbia Records-

    -and an appropriate song in the context of his life. Gone was the innocent, naive singer of the previous decade. Burned by love, the singer is able to convey the darkness, the sadness, and the cynicism that would characterize much of his work in the years to come.
    (Sinatra 101: 101 Best Recordings and the Stories Behind Them, page 35)

  • 1 comment:

    Dream BIG said...

    Cool blog, came across this while searching for pics of the SFA's Rusk bldg