OK, it looks as if I'm trying to win the un-announced contest of:
"The Most Off-topic Topic Contest." But then again, maybe not.....
What especially caught my eye while reading this Tony Bennett
interview about his life-long friendship with Frank Sinatra, was
the phrase about how Sinatra used to watch 1930-1940s bandleader
Tommy Dorsey's ability with his trombone, and applied TD's technique
to better control his own breathing and lyric phrasing while singing a song,
giving each word ~ the unmistakable Sinatra sound.
This in turn reminded me of a fairly recent appearance by a former trombone player
(who don't sing too shabby none) who had an on-stage interview at a Hollywood
music school location, performed a few songs, and then, during the waiting line
of new fans for the "meet and greet" was heard by a "GHCP-reporter" to say:
"This guy isn't human."
So I think this conversation / interview has a place here.............
That Old Sinatra Magic ~
Tony Bennett salutes Frank Sinatra for showing the way ~
Vanity Fair Magazine ~
August 2009 ~
Frank Sinatra was my best friend. Seventy years ago this summer,
he released his first recordings with Harry James' Orchestra. But my
earliest recollection of hearing his voice actually comes from four years before.
Every week, as an 11-year-old kid, I would tune in to what was really the first
American Idol-type program, a radio show called Major Bowes' Amateur Hour.
The winning group on the evening of September 8, 1935, was called the
Hoboken Four and their spokesman was Frank Sinatra, then aged 19.
Even before I heard them sing I was captivated by Sinatra's confidence.
In responce to Major Bowes' booming query "Who will speak for the group?"
Sinatra piped up, "I will. I'm Frankie. We're looking for jobs....how 'bout it?
Everone that's ever heard us liked us." Even Bowes had to chuckle.
By 1939, Sinatra was singing and recording with Harry James, and the magic
was spreading. Musicians were the first to notice his uniqueness.
In less than a year Sinatra would join one of the best of the big bands,
the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. And I was amazed at how Frank, from studying how
T.D. played, learned to extend his breathing, which gave him better vocal control
and the ability to sing two or three sentences before taking another breath.
That subtle and elegant nuance kept a listener hanging on every word,
captivated the imagination, and caused his fans, myself included, to swoon.
I couldn't believe anyone could sing that lovely. When I would see Frank
at the Paramount in Manhattan, the streets were so crowded with people hoping
to get in to his shows that it looked like New Year's Eve in Times Square, every day.
Obviously, it was beyond my scope as an 11-year-old to imagine that Sinatra
would go on to become the first popular singer responsible for mass hysteria
from an audience - before Elvis or the Beatles.
But as Sinatra matured, the one element of his singing that had the most lasting impact
on me was best articulated by the man himself. He once observed in an interview,
"Whatever else has been said about me personally is unimportant.
When I sing, I believe.
To me, the hallmark of success in singing is "honesty," and this is true for all manner
of vocalist, from Hank Williams to k.d. lang, from Billie Holiday to Luciano Pavarotti,
to Sinatra himself. The singers who are the most honest are the ones who become immortalized.
The writer Pete Hamill once noted that, unlike Bing Crosby's, Sinatra's singing "always revealed
more than it concealed." Emotional honesty really became the premise of every record I've made
and every performance I've given.
Sinatra was the featured cover story in the April 23, 1965, edition of Life magazine. It was entitled
"Sinatra Opens Up," and he spoke candidly of how he felt about other singers such as Ella Fitzgerald
and Sarah Vaughan. At one point he said, "But for my money Tony Bennett is the best singer
in the business. [He] gets across what the composer had in mind, and probably a little more."
I like to think that what he heard in my singing was the same honesty that I, and millions of others,
found in his.
I remember an evening in the early 1970s when I was appearing at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas
and I got a phone call from one of Sinatra's closest musician friends, saxophonist Vido Musso.
He said Frank wanted to invite me to join him and Vido (who was a superb Italian cook) for dinner
after my show, adding, "And bring your pianist, Ralph Sharon." He gave me an address, which
turned out to be a small restaurant way off the Vegas Strip, that would offer privacy. It was just
the four of us, and the meal and conversation were memorable. Frank reflected on his life...
....the ups and downs.....the amazing path he'd traveled from that evening with the Hobaken Four
in 1935 to becoming "King" of the entertainment world. Toward the end of the evening Sinatra said,
"Before we go, I'd really enjoy it if you and Ralph could perform a song." And in this small room,
late in the evening, with Frank Sinatra sitting only a couple of feet away, and inspired by our time
together that night, I sang a Jerome Kern song. It was a moment I will never forget:
"Yesterdays / Yesterdays / Days I knew as sweet / Sequestered days.......
Sad am I / Glad am I / For today I'm dreaming / Of yesterdays."
He started out as Frankie, then became Frank, then the Chairman of the Board and, of course,
Ol' Blue Eyes - but he remained true to himself and his friends......and he was a best friend to me.
One of Frank's favorite toasts: "May you live to be 100 and may the last voice you hear be mine."
PS......I think this interview / article belongs, very much so,
on the Glenn Hughes web site.
I don't care where it's posted, anything about Frank Sinatra is NOT off topic !! The man was just a TRUE superstar. Had the pleasure of meeting the man in the 60s and still remember him very well, even though it was only a few hours and I was a "young'n" at the time.
I don't care where it's posted,
anything about Frank Sinatra is NOT off topic !!
Glad that you enjoyed this Anthony Dominick Benedetto
interview about Sinatra. By the way, did I ever tell you
that my maiden name was Rovegno? (row-ven-yo)
Now I'm gonna' go watch that 33-second "You Tube" video
of Glenn singing "The Golden One" from "Voodoo Hill."
And I still can't figure out how our boy does it