Ol’ Blue Eyes

Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, 100 years ago today.

This from Sinatra’s New York Times obituary in 1998:

Frank Sinatra
The Frank Sinatra commemorative stamp

Widely held to be the greatest singer in American pop history and one of the most successful entertainers of the 20th century, Sinatra was also the first modern pop superstar. He defined that role in the early 1940’s when his first solo appearances provoked the kind of mass pandemonium that later greeted Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

During a show business career that spanned more than 50 years and comprised recordings, film and television as well as countless performances in nightclubs, concert halls and sports arenas, Sinatra stood as a singular mirror of the American psyche.

His evolution from the idealistic crooner of the early 1940’s to the sophisticated swinger of the 50’s and 60’s seemed to personify the country’s loss of innocence. During World War II, Sinatra’s tender romanticism served as the dreamy emotional link between millions of women and their husbands and boyfriends fighting overseas. Reinventing himself in the 50’s, the starry-eyed boy next door turned into the cosmopolitan man of the world, a bruised romantic with a tough-guy streak and a song for every emotional season.

In a series of brilliant conceptual albums, he codified a musical vocabulary of adult relationships with which millions identified. The haunted voice heard on a jukebox in the wee small hours of the morning lamenting the end of a love affair was the same voice that jubilantly invited the world to “come fly with me” to exotic realms in a never-ending party.

Holiday Tunes

Mariah Carey’s 1994 song “All I Want for Christmas Is You” tops the Billboard Holiday 100.

Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is No. 2, followed by Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)”.

Burl Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas” is fourth, “Mary, Did You Know?” by Pentatonix fifth, and Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” sixth.