“I’m having a few and wishin’ that you were here….”

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You may recall that post I wrote last summer about Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night song. I enjoy settling back now and then to his music. Last night, pre-dinner, I was listening courtesy of my iPad to a Christmas present that had come, uh, my way….

Screen capture of part of my iPad music collection.
Screen capture of part of my iPad music collection.

If you don’t understand what all the “fuss” is about regarding Frank Sinatra and would like to, I recommend that Ultimate Sinatra. The 4 CDs version has a helpful background booklet on his life and career. The compliation includes just about everything that marked him out as a distinctive artist.

This post came to mind this morning because our chalet owner here in La Clusaz has had a habit of putting his iPod on the bar and playing Sinatra – even in a room populated mostly by other first-language French speakers. That’s not a shock, though. Sinatra has always been popular here in France:

Excerpt from "Passports," on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Passports,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

Of course he was colossal in the U.S. I think it was a New York City newspaper columnist who’d summed Sinatra up this way: Teens bought Rolling Stones records with their allowances, but men bought Sinatra albums with their wages. Indeed both of my grandfathers nearly worshipped him – my mother’s dad in particular – which was hardly unusual given their similar sons of immigrants, working class backgrounds and age group.

That they did was probably the major reason as a teen I became curious about “that old guy.” I started to develop my own liking for Sinatra when I was in my early 20s. Both of those realities made me a bit odd in my peer group – as that Passports excerpt above also shows. That interest in him has merely deepened the older I’ve become.

Dinner bottle of wine last night. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Dinner bottle of wine last night. [Photo by me, 2016.]
My take is I believe you “grow” into Sinatra, particularly if you are a man. He’s unapologetically romantic and adult, and yes, perhaps a bit “old-fashioned” masculine. Lyrics like these aren’t common any longer in pop music – even if, privately, we may think this way inside the quiet of our longing souls:

I’m having a few and wishin’ that you were here….being a fool, just hopin’ that you’ll appear….dreams that used to be….look at me I’m drinking again….

Or:

Over and over I keep going over the world we knew….when you used to love me….

Or:

My gal just up and left last week, and Friday I got fired…

So if you’re a teenager or a young 20-something and feel you just don’t “get” the appeal of Frank Sinatra, that’s fine. That’s probably to be expected. We change as we mature and you are much more likely better to understand in your own 40s and beyond. Just give it time. 🙂

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