January 3, 2016

Favorite Sinatra albums, et cetera

Happy New Year, Sinatra fans! Because, due to the looming Christmas holiday and other obligations, I was barely able to drag myself over the finish line with my #1 song, I dropped all things Sinatra rather abruptly on December 12th. Now that I've come up for air, I'd like to tie up a few loose ends and maybe start posting my second hundred Sinatra favorites (in no particular order), as time permits.

But first, some more lists. Here are Bob Belvedere's top ten albums:

#10: Swing Along With Me
#9: Nice 'n' Easy
#8: I Remember Tommy
#7: Where Are You?
#6: Ring-A-Ding Ding!
#5: Swing Easy!
#4: All Alone
#3: Come Dance With Me!
#2: No One Cares
#1: Songs for Swingin' Lovers!

I thought sure he'd have a Basie album in there.

Here's my top twenty, or eighteen, depending on how you count them. Four of Bob's top ten made my top five:

#20 Sinatra's Sinatra

#19 Sinatra and Swingin' Brass

#18 It Might As Well Be Swing

#17 Come Swing With Me!

#16 Come Fly With Me

#15 I Remember Tommy

#14 Swing Along With Me

#13 & 12 Songs for Young Lovers/Swing Easy! (originally two separate albums but only available together on CD)

#11 & 10: Sinatra-Jobim
Frank did two albums with Antonio Jobim but the second one wasn't released until much later and then only as half of a set with the first. If I had to do it over again, I'd include two songs from the first one ("Change Partners" and "Dindi") and three from the second ("Wave," "Desafinado," and "Drinking Water").

#9 Sinatra-Basie

#8 Only the Lonely

#7 Sinatra's Swingin' Session!!!

#6 In the Wee Small Hours

#5 Nice 'n' Easy

#4 A Swingin' Affair!

#3 Come Dance With Me!

#2 Songs for Swingin' Lovers!

#1 Ring-a-Ding Ding!

The top two are virtually a tie, but RDD scored 12 songs on my list, beating SSL by two. But in my heart they're both at the top.

Mark Steyn has been busy producing Sinatra audio specials. You can find links to all of them here. I'm so far behind that I haven't even listened to them all yet. But I'll catch up soon.

As I mentioned previously, Cole Porter wins hands-down as the top composer on my list. Here's the rundown:

Cole Porter: 13
Sammy Cahn: 11
Jimmy Van Heusen: 10
(Cahn and Van Heusen together: 8)
Johnny Mercer: 9
Irving Berlin: 9
George and Ira Gershwin: 5
Dorothy Fields: 4
Jerome Kern: 4
Jule Styne: 4
Harold Arlen: 4

If you're interested in any particular songwriters you can look for them in the labels list on the side. (Scroll down.)

I thought it would be interesting to tabulate the songs by date of composition and identify the golden decade of the American songbook:

1910s: One song
1920s: 10
1930s: 41!
1940s: 19
1950s: 22
1960s: 7

No contest -- the Thirties were the greatest.

I'll be back soon with some more favorites.

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