While Sinatra does not mind hamming it up a bit on a movie set, he is extremely serious about his recording sessions; as he explained to a British writer, Robin Douglas-Home: ‘Once you’re on that record singing, it’s you and you alone. If it’s bad and gets you criticized, it’s you who’s to blame — no one else. If it’s good, it’s also you. With a film it’s never like that; there are producers and scriptwriters, and hundreds of men in offices and the thing is taken right out of your hands. With a record, you’re it….’
But now the days are short
I’m in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life
As vintage wine
From fine old kegs…
It no longer matters what song he is singing, or who wrote the words — they are all his words, his sentiments, they are chapters from the lyrical novel of his life.
Life is a beautiful thing
As long as I hold the string….
When Frank Sinatra drives to the studio, he seems to dance out of the car across the sidewalk into the front door; then, snapping his fingers, he is standing in front of the orchestra in an intimate, airtight room, and soon he is dominating every man, every instrument, every sound wave. Some of the musicians have accompanied him for twenty-five years, have gotten old hearing him sing “You Make Me Feel So Young.”
When his voice is on, as it was tonight, Sinatra is in ecstasy, the room becomes electric, there is an excitement that spreads through the orchestra and is felt in the control booth where a dozen men, Sinatra’s friends, wave at him from behind the glass.” —
An excerpt from Gay Talese’s famous and fantastic feature, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” originally published in Esquire’s April 1966 issue. It’s not one of the more well-known passages in the iconic story, but for me, it perfectly encapsulates what I love about this man’s near-flawless voice and his enduring legacy in the world of music.
I’m currently (finally!) reading Talese’s autobiography A Writer’s Life (2006), which makes me want to read this profile over and over in the hopes that I can absorb even the tiniest sliver of his story-telling prowess.