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He Was a Very Good Frank.

May 14th, 2008 by Kevin Murphy · 21 Comments

Frank Sinatra Studio  C11737531

Died ten years ago today. As a singer, I feel I have some measly credential to say that he had a hell of a voice. I can’t vouch for whether he was a nice guy or a jerk, I never met the man. But I can tell you that a lot of horn players wished they could play like he sang. Certainly nobody can sing like he did.

Here’s what I mean, and I’m not going to link any YouTube crap here, no mp3’s. Not near good enough. Find a clean LP copy of “In the Wee Small Hours” and play it on a good system in a comfortable room. Preferably in the evening after bar time. Listen to the whole thing. No other distractions – no cell phone, no computer, maybe a single light. Pour a little Scotch. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. Then you tell me: could the man sing, or could he.

Tags: Joey Pants · People Kevin Doesn't Resemble · RiffTrax · Riffer Blogs

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bob M. on May 14, 2008 at 7:10 am

    Simply put, one of the greatest vocalists of all time. Great idea for listening session, Kevin.

  • 2 Chris Hanel on May 14, 2008 at 7:11 am

    “I can’t vouch for whether he was a nice guy or a jerk, I never met the man.”

    I think Mad Magazine had the best commentary on this, in the form of a restaurant reservation:

    Sinatra, party of 1… Sinatra’s bodyguards, party of 12…

  • 3 Barry on May 14, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Your tag of “People Kevin Doesn’t Resemble” sounds like a challenge.

    Too bad I suck with Photoshop.

  • 4 jfruh on May 14, 2008 at 7:47 am

    One my very favorite celebrity slam quotes EVER came when Sinatra’s ex-wife Ava Gardner found out he was marrying Mia Farrow: “I always knew he’d go in for little boys.”

  • 5 Rufus T on May 14, 2008 at 8:05 am

    You’re right Kevin. He was quite phenominal.

  • 6 Tv Miller on May 14, 2008 at 8:07 am

    A man with presence without or without that voice, you can’t deny the man himself as a cut above. I worked for a crooner in a restaurant who was in that inner circle and the stories alone are what a modern ‘metropolitan cowboy’ dreams of.

    I always throw in that I can ‘Kevin Bacon’ myself to Sinatra in one. Tommy Lasorda held me as a baby on an airplane flight from CA to NY to keep me quiet where Tommy was headed to hang out with Frank who was touring. I’ll take what I can get. Long live ‘Ole Blue Eyes.

  • 7 Ben on May 14, 2008 at 8:10 am

    The good news is the world still has Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Frank Sr.’s clone Harry Connick, Jr. to drag along his legacy. or not.

  • 8 Bill Corbett on May 14, 2008 at 8:15 am


    I heard a much dirtier version of the above, but I shant repeat it.

    Don Rickles allegedly said this when Sinatra was watching his act:

    “Did you know that Frank saved my life tonight? Some guys were beating me up in an alley, and Frank walked up and said — ‘OK boys, he’s had enough.”

  • 9 dignan on May 14, 2008 at 8:21 am

    “In The Wee Small Hours” is one of the greatest albums, ever. I scoured the numerous record stores in Boston to find a copy on vinyl last summer, and finally turned up a battered-looking but beautiful sounding one. For me, it’s a perfect complement to his “Songs For Swinging Lovers” album: one’s exuberant, one’s meditative, and between the two, you’ve got songs for any occasion.

    And yes, the man could SING.

  • 10 Ron on May 14, 2008 at 8:45 am

    I’ll be following that suggestion tonight. I just wish I had it on vinyl instead of CD.

  • 11 Dfrag on May 14, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Kevin, that is quite a tribute. Couldn’t agree more. The man wasn’t just a singer he was an interpreter of songs. When he sang ou could feel his experience/turmoil/joy/ because he just got it.

    Summerwind is one of many Sinatra favorites for me. what a killer jazz vocalist. Viva Sinatra!

  • 12 Mr. Slick on May 14, 2008 at 9:07 am

    I don’t feel bad that he died, He had sex with Marilyn Monroe in life and he’s probablying doing it again now in death… down side?

  • 13 Hugh on May 14, 2008 at 9:47 am

    I’ve heard that version, Bill. It seems that Ava Gardner was a broad worthy of ol’ Frank. Love that woman.

  • 14 wurwolf on May 14, 2008 at 10:08 am

    I have loved Frank Sinatra all of my life. I even remember where I was when I heard that he had died. One of my favorite songs by him is “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” because it perfectly exemplified his versatility as a singer. He starts off crooning — that incomparable style that set many a bobby-soxer’s heart aflame — and then he suddenly swings out like the Sinatra we all know and love. The best songs (to me) are the ones where he starts off quietly and opens up that big ol’ voice, just slaying everything in his path (”From This Moment On” and “Where Or When” come to mind). That the man had a presence was undeniable — it came through not only in his singing and acting but also in his general personality. He was, and is and surely will be even decades after his death, a national treasure in every way.

  • 15 ms chii on May 14, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    rat pack was a rocking. not unlike other newer bands now a days. classic is the way to go…

  • 16 John on May 14, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    You scared me. When I saw the headline I was afraid I was about to read an obituary for TV’s Frank.

  • 17 RemmieBarrow on May 14, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Too bad Mr. Sinatra is dead and not Kevin Federline.

  • 18 Take5 on May 14, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.

  • 19 | Highly Advanced Cheese on May 14, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    [...] We are on the rain-slick precipice of regular updates now that I’m totally moved in. The only thing that needs to happen for regular updates to occur once more is for my cat to stop being sick and to stop bankrupting me with her sickness.  At any rate, it’s the tenth anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s death, and as I have nothing poignant to say, I’ll let Kevin Murphy of MST3k fame put it in his own words as he said on the Rifftrax blog. [...]

  • 20 Cibernetico 2 on May 15, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    You old timers amuse me. You still believe that some magical force causes recordings on old dimpled plastic frisbees to sound better than digital recordings. You probably think phrenology is still a valid scence.

  • 21 suzanne on May 20, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    frank sinatra was the second best frank that’s ever happened to me.