An exquisitely civilizing moment: Sinatra and Jobim

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An exquisitely civilizing moment: Sinatra and Jobim

Frank Sina­tra was born in 1915 and two of my favorite writ­ers, Pun­dette and Mark Steyn, are cel­e­brat­ing for the entire year. Mark Steyn explains:

Frank Sina­tra was the most influ­en­tial pop­u­lar singer of the 20th cen­tury – not just because of a six-​decade career of big hit records, but because his taste in music and the longevity of his suc­cess helped shape and expand the Amer­i­can Song­book. Not all icons sur­vive death: I think of Leonard Bern­stein or Bob Fosse, both at their pass­ing the most cel­e­brated prac­ti­tion­ers in their respec­tive fields, or Bing Crosby, the biggest sell­ing record­ing artist of all time at the time he left us, and these days lit­tle more than a guy who gets played on the hol­i­day chan­nels in the month before Christ­mas. Either because of inept stew­ard­ship of the legacy, or a rep­u­ta­tion that depended on live pres­ence to main­tain the con­ceit, or a com­bi­na­tion of both, even the most dom­i­nant pop cul­ture celebrity can dwin­dle away to the point where a decade later on no-​one can quite recall what all the fuss was about. With Frank Sina­tra, the oppo­site seems to have hap­pened. When the grav­elly old bruiser of the global sta­dium tours finally expired in 1998, it made it eas­ier for a younger gen­er­a­tion to see the man in his prime: the best singer of the best songs by the best writ­ers in the best arrange­ments. Just about every­thing short of his morn­ing mouth­wash gar­gles has been exca­vated, dig­i­tally remas­tered and released on CD. And, if that’s not enough, younger fel­lows like Michael Bublé and Rob­bie Williams can build huge careers on what are essen­tially karaōke per­for­mances of Sina­tra sta­ples, rely­ing on the sheer power of his charts for “Come Fly With Me”, “For Once In My Life”, “One For My Baby” to deflect just enough retro-​cool their way.

Pun­dette has the Sina­tra Cen­te­nary blog.

I’m a sometimes-​fan of Sina­tra. Not all songs, not all the time, mostly because I still remem­ber “the grav­elly old bruiser of the global sta­dium tours” all to well. It is, how­ever, won­der­ful to read Stein’s arti­cles and lis­ten to Pundette’s selec­tions of decades of Sina­tra at his best.

This morn­ing this YouTube popped up on my Face­book feed. Sina­tra and Anto­nio Car­los Jobim per­form­ing a bossa nova med­ley, 1967: Quiet Night of Quiet Stars (also known as Cor­co­v­ado), Change Part­ners, I Con­cen­trate on You, and the Girl From Ipanema.

Jobim, one of the best-​known jazz com­posers of his time, wrote the music for The Girl From Ipanema, and the song became a world-​wide hit:

It is believed to be the sec­ond most recorded pop song in his­tory, after “Yes­ter­day” by The Bea­t­les.

Thou­sands of swim­suit clad, tall, long haired brunettes in every beach town in the world saun­tered to that song in 1967, myself included. Unfor­tu­nately, the song was so suc­cess­ful that it became ele­va­tor music. If Jobim’s estate (he died in 1994) still gets roy­al­ties, his heirs are doing very well indeed just from that song alone.

That aside, look at the video: Two manly men of the world in tuxe­dos and black tie, poised, at ease, doing what they did best, in syn­chrony, singing in the same key, inter­pret­ing the old and the new: two songs for which Jobim wrote the music bracket an Irv­ing Berlin and a Cole Porter song.

Excit­ing and relax­ing at the same time.

Smooth, per­fectly executed.

Enlight­en­ing. Refined.

An exquis­itely civ­i­liz­ing moment.

Visit Steyn and Pun­dette for more Sina­tra (UPDATE: and The Camp of the Saints). For more Jobim, I rec­om­mend Ella Abraca Jobim, and the excel­lent film Black Orpheus, for which Jobim wrote the soundtrack.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Pun­dette. Thank you!

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, news and cul­ture at Fausta’s Blog.

Frank Sinatra was born in 1915 and two of my favorite writers, Pundette and Mark Steyn, are celebrating for the entire year. Mark Steyn explains:

Frank Sinatra was the most influential popular singer of the 20th century – not just because of a six-decade career of big hit records, but because his taste in music and the longevity of his success helped shape and expand the American Songbook. Not all icons survive death: I think of Leonard Bernstein or Bob Fosse, both at their passing the most celebrated practitioners in their respective fields, or Bing Crosby, the biggest selling recording artist of all time at the time he left us, and these days little more than a guy who gets played on the holiday channels in the month before Christmas. Either because of inept stewardship of the legacy, or a reputation that depended on live presence to maintain the conceit, or a combination of both, even the most dominant pop culture celebrity can dwindle away to the point where a decade later on no-one can quite recall what all the fuss was about. With Frank Sinatra, the opposite seems to have happened. When the gravelly old bruiser of the global stadium tours finally expired in 1998, it made it easier for a younger generation to see the man in his prime: the best singer of the best songs by the best writers in the best arrangements. Just about everything short of his morning mouthwash gargles has been excavated, digitally remastered and released on CD. And, if that’s not enough, younger fellows like Michael Bublé and Robbie Williams can build huge careers on what are essentially karaoke performances of Sinatra staples, relying on the sheer power of his charts for “Come Fly With Me”, “For Once In My Life”, “One For My Baby” to deflect just enough retro-cool their way.

Pundette has the Sinatra Centenary blog.

I’m a sometimes-fan of Sinatra. Not all songs, not all the time, mostly because I still remember “the gravelly old bruiser of the global stadium tours” all to well. It is, however, wonderful to read Stein’s articles and listen to Pundette’s selections of decades of Sinatra at his best.

This morning this YouTube popped up on my Facebook feed. Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim performing a bossa nova medley, 1967: Quiet Night of Quiet Stars (also known as Corcovado), Change Partners, I Concentrate on You, and the Girl From Ipanema.

Jobim, one of the best-known jazz composers of his time, wrote the music for The Girl From Ipanema, and the song became a world-wide hit:

It is believed to be the second most recorded pop song in history, after “Yesterday” by The Beatles.

Thousands of  swimsuit clad, tall, long haired brunettes in every beach town in the world sauntered to that song in 1967, myself included. Unfortunately, the song was so successful that it became elevator music. If Jobim’s estate (he died in 1994) still gets royalties, his heirs are doing very well indeed just from that song alone.

That aside, look at the video: Two manly men of the world in tuxedos and black tie, poised, at ease, doing what they did best, in synchrony, singing in the same key, interpreting the old and the new: two songs for which Jobim wrote the music bracket an Irving Berlin and a Cole Porter song.

Exciting and relaxing at the same time.

Smooth, perfectly executed.

Enlightening. Refined.

An exquisitely civilizing moment.

Visit Steyn and Pundette for more Sinatra (UPDATE: and The Camp of the Saints). For more Jobim, I recommend Ella Abraca Jobim, and the excellent film Black Orpheus, for which Jobim wrote the soundtrack.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Pundette. Thank you!

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog