Imagine an awkward silence. Everyone in the dark waits impatiently when suddenly, the theater spotlights come on, people get excited and start clapping. The brass and percussion section of the orchestra reveals what is to come. He walks on stage in his traditional immaculate black tuxedo, and the crowd goes wild! On the one hand, he has an unfiltered Camel cigarette and, in front of him, a Neumann U47 microphone that he makes love to with every note of every song. It’s the characteristic entrance of a living legend – THE VOICE – The Chairman of the Board, ‘Ol Blue Eyes… Frank Sinatra.
“That’s life (that’s life). That’s what all people say
You’re riding high in April,
Shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change their tune,
When I’m back on top, back on top in June”.
Today, December 12, Frank would have been 107 years old. I ask myself: What would this icon of modern pop culture have done? I can guess many things, but two are the most feasible. First, a BIG party since no one could throw a party like “old Frank could” and how to be happy, even when he was going through some dark times. Second, Frank loved life, and every minute of it, as recorded in the graphic book of his life: “Sinatra, The Photographs” presented on October 27, 2015. A work by Barbara Sinatra and Andrew Howick, a young photographer whose job was to compile countless images of the legend that remained unknown to most people for a long time.
1954 was one of the most critical years in Frank Sinatra’s life. That year he won the Oscar for his participation in the film “From Here to Eternity,” a situation that would revive his career after a series of setbacks in the early 50s and a very unpleasant divorce. His performance in the film was so memorable that Columbia Records offered him a new contract. In addition, his relationship with Ava Gardner stabilized -according to several people, the greatest love of his life and for whom he co-wrote the song “I’m A Fool To Want You”-.
Frank’s remarkable mastery of his music and extraordinary voice has permeated through the years. Ava used to say, “Frank’s voice was so special, it made me cry with happiness…it was as if in front of you, like a perfect sunset.” Bob Dylan publicly expressed: “When frank sang “Ebb Tide” I could hear in his voice God, death and the universe… absolutely everything.”
Frank’s music has crossed musical genres, borders, languages, and generations. Yet, it is still as relevant as when he was alive because even in the melancholy of his tunes, he always sings about never giving up. Today in 2022, it is still one of the most listen to artists on platforms like Spotify with over 22 million listeners a month.
“Out of the tree of life
I just picked me a plumb
You came along and everything started to hum
Still, it’s a real good bet… The best is yet to come”
Robert Bisaccia, also known as “Bobby Cabert,” a childhood friend of Joe Pesci, who inspired him for his role in the movie “Goodfellas,” had been an excellent boxer as a young man before joining the mob, where he climbed to the important position of capo in the Gambino family. Bobby was serving a “life” sentence for first-degree murder, yet he was fighting the legal battle as if it was his first time in court or his first day in prison as if there was hope.
Whenever Bisaccia felt sad or discouraged, he would turn to Frank’s music to lift his spirits and again prepare to do battle. His favorite phrase was: When the bell rings, you’d better go out there and put up a fight.
Robert Bisaccia, a.k.a Bobby Cabert, died in prison. Still, he never, ever, ever, ever stopped putting up a fight and never, ever, ever stopped listening to Frank.
“To think I did all that;
And may I say – not in a shy way,
“Oh no, oh no not me,
I did it my way.”
Sinatra is the perfect portrait of his essence; the man who seized every moment, whether it was one of pain or happiness, and always turned it into something magical, incredible, just like his voice and his personality. On the first page of the book, there is a quote from Sinatra: “May we all live to be a hundred years old, and the last voice heard will be mine.”
Well, a hundred and seven years it has been Frank, and many, like me, listen to your music all the time.
As I write this, I take a break. In an “old fashioned” glass, I put three ice cubes, two fingers of Jack, and a splash of water and let the drink sit for a little while, not long, just long enough for the flavors to blend properly. Meanwhile, on my old record player, the silence is broken by the first harmonies of the brass and percussion section of the orchestra, revealing what is to come: -THE VOICE- ‘Ol Blue Eyes, The Chairman of the Board… Frank Sinatra.
Happy birthday Frank… SALUTE! Here´s for one hundred and seven more!
For Times Media Mexico / The Yucatan Times
José E. Urioste
Facebook – JoseUriosteMx
Twitter – @ JoseUrioste_