December 21, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra may not have embodied the sound of mod, but he certainly had the essence of it in his life and works. He spanned too many decades to count and in every one had some sort of musical impact, right up until his death in 1998. I could go on and on, but most readers are familiar with the Chairman, and if you're not, let me recommend you listen to his music (all of it, but especially his work with Capitol in the 50s and 60s), and check out a few of his films like The Man With The Golden Arm, Guys and Dolls, and Ocean's Eleven -- the last for its cultural cachet, not it's acting chops.

More than anything though it wasthe voice, the musical charisma, that Sinatra had that pushed him head and shoulders above all other entertainers. He could lay down a jazz patter, swing with the best of them, and deliver a pop song in such a way that would blow it right to the top of the charts, no matter how new or old it might be. He collaborated on musical projects with everyone from Count Basie to Burt Bacharach to Nelson Riddle, and mead each his own. When Sinatra sang a song, it pretty much became his.

The song here isn't one of his most famous, but it is my favorite, "Bim Bam Baby". It's a swingin' tune that he turned out somwhere between 1949 and 1952. No matter, it was during one of the lowest points in his early career, and right after that he left Columbia for Capitol records. Still, it's a fantastic song, a harbinger of the rock and roll to come later in the decade, and perfect for Sinatra's over-confident delivery. There's no not liking 'ol blue eyes.

Frank Sinatra -- Bim Bam Baby