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Hey, drink up, all you people. Not anything, you see. Funny you happy people. The drink. This is the first of four programs entitled Sinatra in Retrospect. My name is Michael Lasser. Frank Sinatra died on May 15th, 1998, at the age of 82. It's tempting to say that a remarkable career has come to an end. But in fact, Sinatra stopped singing several years ago and some would argue he should have stopped. Years before that, the voice had become thin, tight and unreliable.
On the other hand, you can also say his career, certainly his achievement, his extraordinary achievement will be there for us and those who come after us. Thanks to movies, television and recordings. In his later years, Sinatra continued to perform before huge audiences working back over the songs and arrangements that transformed him from an amiable band singer to one of the supreme performers of popular music. He may very well be the single most important singer in the history of popular song. Stay tuned for the first of four hours examining the career of Frank Sinatra. Sinatra's style was formed by the early crooners he listened to as a youngster in Hoboken, New Jersey. He listened to Bing Crosby, Rudy Valli and Russ Columbo and came to the conclusion that he, too, could do what they did. It obviously wasn't that simple. He was speaking with the confidence of the young, but he made it happen. In fact, he made it happen more than once in a career where both public and private
lives were played out for all to see. But this isn't a biography. It's about the singer and the singing. I won't be talking about who he married, when or who his kids are or who he hung out with. But over the next four programs, I'll play dozens of recordings to look at the breadth and depth of his achievement. I may not play some of your personal favorites, and there may be important things about Sinatra I never get to. But here's a chance to look at what the man they used to call the voice has meant to music and to us. The first impressions and earliest memories of Frank Sinatra are inseparable from World War Two. He was a great singer and almost certainly would have been a great star even if there'd been no war. The wartime ballads were about loneliness, partying and the dream of return. They lent themselves, especially to Sinatra's boyishly sexy voice, his sweetly suggestive crooning. This is Sammy Fain and Irving Cale's. I'll be seeing you.
I'll be seeing you and all the old. Familiar places that this heart and mind embraces all day through. That small cafe, the park. The children's carousel. I'll be seeing you in every lovely summer's day, in everything that's light and gay, I'll always think of you that way. I'll find you in the morning sun and when. I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you.
When Sinatra recorded I'll Be Seeing You in 1944, he'd already come a long way from the skinny, tousle haired kid who sang with Harry James and then with Tommy Dorsey. He was still skinny. He still wore limp bow ties. He still draped himself over a microphone. He was somehow sexy and detumescent at the same time. But by the mid 40s, he'd learned a lot about singing, much of it from Tommy Dorsey. The Dorsey band was especially good at sustaining the mood of a romantic ballad. Thanks to Dorseys, warm trombone and Sinatra's mellow vocals, big bands were still more important than solo singers in the early 40s. But as Sinatra grew in importance, Dorsey agreed to a recording in which one entire side of the 78 RPM record was devoted to a vocalist from 1940. This is Sinatra's first best selling record, I'll Never Smile Again, followed by his first million records seller from 1943.
There are such things. One. Again. Monday at. And that is what. Would it be? For two years, what her. My heart was. The.
I'll never lie again. I'm sorry. Again. The. With an. I know I will never stop. To smile again and realize that.
With an. Until I smile, my. Until I my. Oh. The. Biocides.
To. Someone who is. Is Scott. Well.
One more raise you raise just. Because there are such that. Brings you raise just. Because the.
Dorsey's reluctant agreement to feature Sinatra on I'll Never Smile Again was his recognition not only of Sinatra's talent, but also of the growing importance of singers to a band success. By the time Sinatra released his second million seller, he was on his way to becoming the most important singer of his generation and probably of the century. He'd originally cut a recording of this song in 1939, when he was an unknown working for Harry James. It flopped. But during a musicians strike in 1943, Columbia Records rereleased it with Sinatra's name in bigger letters than James. The song was one of Sinatra's favorites, all or nothing at all. All or nothing at all?
Never appealed to me. Is your heart never put you? I have nothing at all. All or nothing at all? If it's the law, there is no in between. Why begin and cry for something that might have been. I have nothing at all. Well, please don't bring your lips so close to my.
Don't small. Just to be on the record. The kiss in your eyes and the touch of your hand makes me wish. And my heart may grow dizzy. And live by. Under the spell of your call. I would be caught in the undertow. And so, you see, I've got to say no.
That was Arthur Altman and Jack Lawrences all or nothing at all. After the war, popular taste shifted from the bands to the singers, or, as David Ewan put it, the swing era became the singing era. Sinatra helped make it happen when he left Dorsey in 43 to pursue a career as a soloist. He struggled for a year before the famous encounters between one skinny singer and tens of thousands of pubescent females at New York's Paramount Theater. So Sinatra helped make the switch happen, just as he was also its most important beneficiary. He understood that his singing could touch the loneliness of young men and women separated by war. He also saw that no band, no matter how good, could do just that. He was also lucky he decided to act just as the musicians union called a national strike. For 13 months, records used vocal accompaniment for soloists backed by voices. Sinatra recorded the Harry Warren MacNaughton ballad You'll
Never Know. You'll Never Know. Just Tom. I miss you. You never know just how much. Mind if I try, I still couldn't. You you know, haven't I told you so a million or more times you went away and my heart
went with you? I speak your name and my. Fred. If there is some other way to prove that, I swear. You never know if you don't know. You there with more?
I see your name and my name. If there is some other way to pull that off, I swear. You never know if you don't know. That was you'll never know by the time Sinatra appeared at the Paramount, he had a well-established reputation. He was a regular on the hit parade radio program and he'd signed with Columbia Records, which was promoting him as one of the leading singers. He wrote two of his earliest hits for Columbia.
The first came from Rodgers and Hammerstein, first Broadway collaboration Oklahoma, the second from his friends, Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke. People will say We're in love and Sunday, Monday and always. Oh. Don't throw. Oh, bouquets at me. Don't please my folks, too. I've heard my jokes to my. People will say, well.
Deucy. And gaze at me. Your son. Are so like my. My son, global. People will say. People will say, well, we love those. Collecting things. Give me my rules
and my gloves. Sweetheart. They're suspecting. Oh, well, several oh oh oh. Collecting things. It made my roads and my. Sweetheart. They're suspecting, say.
People will say we're. Well, stemware and. Would you tell me where we will? Sunday, Monday on. If you're satisfied, I'll be at your side Sunday or Monday. Always.
No need to tell me now what makes. Well, at the side of you, my heart begins to pound. What am I to do? Can I be? Sunday, Monday. Oh, oh o town. You know what makes the world go round? My biggest problem was and one of my.
Well, would you tell me when we will meet on Sunday? And if you're satisfied, I'll be at your side Sunday and Monday, oh, wait. When at the side of you, my heart begins to pound. Oh, and what am I to do?
Sun. Always. People will say we're in love and Sunday, Monday and always. You're listening to the first of four special hours entitled Sinatra in Retrospect, I'm Michael Lasser. In the early and mid 40s, lyricist Sammy Kahn became Sinatra's close
friend and soon became known as his personal songwriter when both of them were starting out, Khan and composer Julie Stein, who just started their own collaboration, wrote a song for a movie called Youthen Parade. Harry James and vocalist Helen Forrest had the big recording, but Frank Sinatra introduced it in the movie. This is I've heard that song before, followed by another Styne and con song made into a hit by Frank Sinatra. I Fall in love too easily. It seems to me I've heard that song before. It's from an old school. I know it well, that melody. It's funny how he recalls
a favorite dream. A dream that brought you so close to the. I know it would, because I've heard that song before. The lyrics said forevermore, forever, a loss of memory. Please have them play it again. And I remember just when I heard that lovely song before.
Sinatra in Retrospective, Parts 1 and 2
Part 1
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WXXI Public Broadcasting (Rochester, New York)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Program Description
This four-part series chronicles the music of Frank Sinatra. Between the songs, Michael Lasser provides historical context and biographical notes on Sinatra's life and music. Part one and two delves into Sinatra's early works and big-band music.
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Narrator: Lasser, Michael
Performer: Sinatra, Frank, 1915-1998
Producing Organization: WXXI-FM
AAPB Contributor Holdings
WXXI Public Broadcasting (WXXI-TV)
Identifier: CIP-1-1253 (Assigned)
Format: DAT
Duration: 7185.999999999999
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: 98009enr-1-arch (Peabody Object Identifier)
Format: Audio cassette
Duration: 1:00:00
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Chicago: “Sinatra in Retrospective, Parts 1 and 2; Part 1,” 1998-00-00, WXXI Public Broadcasting, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 9, 2022,
MLA: “Sinatra in Retrospective, Parts 1 and 2; Part 1.” 1998-00-00. WXXI Public Broadcasting, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 9, 2022. <>.
APA: Sinatra in Retrospective, Parts 1 and 2; Part 1. Boston, MA: WXXI Public Broadcasting, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from