I think I was about 10 years old when I saw Sinatra sing. I knew it was a big deal, because my mom and dad got tickets to the show at an arena in Largo, Maryland, and our whole family went to see him. Our seats were outstanding, as we were only a couple of rows from the stage. I could see Sinatra plain as day, and though I didn’t understand at that time that I was witnessing the performance of an iconic singer, actor, and legendary entertainer, I do remember being in awe as I watched him do his thing: Sinatra knew how to light up a stage.
Today, my magazine class read and discussed the most notable profile article ever written entitled Frank Sinatra Has A Cold. Its author is Gay Talese, and he wrote the piece for Esquire without ever personally interviewing Frank Sinatra. The article spawned what was termed New Journalism, where writers took their time telling longer stories that covered a lot of bases using fictional techniques.
As an American whose heritage is Italian, I’m thrilled that I can say I saw Sinatra sing. I wish I’d seen him a couple of more times before he died. His collection of music permeates our house constantly. His Christmas album is a classic. My husband is a huge fan, as are his father and my parents, and there are very few weeks that go by where Sinatra—in some fashion—doesn’t croon from our stereo.
Sinatra’s voice is good, but more than that, he is a master of cadence and timing in his songs, which add to his emotional delivery and set him apart from other artists. He had charisma, dressed in suits and tuxedos, and exuded a bad-boy image mixed in with that classic Italian-American charm. The ladies loved him and men thought he was cool. His talent on the screen was impressive as well, and some of his dance numbers with Gene Kelly are legendary. His serious acting got noticed as well.
He was an all-around talent, that’s for sure. People like Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble help keep those of us who yearn for those traditional standards and swinging songs happy. I’ve seen Buble in concert, too, and he is certainly cut from the same mold as Sinatra where showmanship is concerned.
But there will only ever be one Sinatra.
Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the upcoming novel Inn Significant. She is also a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.