Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Theme from New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra

Song#:  0157
Date:  05/03/1980
Debut:  76
Peak:  32
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Pop, Easy Listening



Pop Bits:  Here he is - Francis Albert Sinatra, the Chairman of the Board. What more can be said about one of the greatest pop singers in history? Yes, by this time his voice was flagging but the timing and nuance was still there and he could carry a tune from here to the moon. As mentioned in previous posts, the 80s signaled the end of the real pop vocalist on the chart. Those who had hits in the 50s, 60s and even 70s were struggling against the changing tides of music. Sinatra succumbed to this as well and this song was his final pop chart entry. It represented another one of his "comebacks" and even though it was his last hit, the song became another signature tune in his career. It was the first single from his triple-LP "Trilogy," where each disc had a past, present, and future theme. "Past" featured Sinatra re-recording a set of standards, "Present" had him singing more modern pop songs (which is where this song appeared), and "Future" was a freeform suite of songs almost experimental in nature. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1981 with Sinatra being nominated for Pop Vocal for this song. The song itself was nominated for Song of the Year.

ReduxReview:  This song was originally written for the Martin Scorsese film "New York, New York" (1977) and performed by Liza Minnelli. The song is associated with her and Sinatra, but he got the hit. When performed by either of them, this is really a classic. But I've heard it so many times by others where they drain every ounce of Velveeta out of it. Those are the times I really think this is an awful song. But then I hear Sinatra's or Minnelli's versions and I enjoy it. I prefer Minnelli's more Broadway-ish version, but Sinatra goes for the gusto and it was terrific he got one last hit with the song.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Sinatra is famous (or infamous) for his connections and power of persuasion. Radio personality Jonathan Schwarts, an expert on Sinatra, experienced this first-hand when discussing the "Trilogy" album on his radio show. Schwarts, who was considered very opinionated and of massive ego himself, stated that he enjoyed the first two discs of the project but the third ("Future") was "a shocking embarrassment." His assessment infuriated Sinatra and two days later, Schwarts found himself off the air. He returned a few months later and when asked what happened he has said "you had best ask Sinatra." However, Schwarts is not one to hold a grudge and he continued to play Sinatra's music and has even appeared on Sirius XM radio's "Siriusly Sinatra" channel.

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