Tag Archives: Frank Sinatra

Louis Armstrong, The Rat Pack, & Cyndi Lauper: We All Just Wanna Have Fun

In the late 1950’s and early 60’s, the “Rat Pack” show at the Sands Hotel was the hottest ticket in Vegas. The group that eventually consisted of entertainers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop sang songs, told jokes, performed slapstick for laughs, and displayed various other forms of hijinks. But as those who were close to the action in those days tell it, the show was almost secondary. A seat at those shows was like an invitation to the greatest party on the planet.

The performers were having a blast, and you were now a part of their inner circle sharing in the fun.

Let’s take Louis Armstrong. Was there ever a moment that you watched him perform that you didn’t believe music was the purest form of joy on the planet? I think not.

That takes us to Cyndi Lauper. When she took the music world by storm in the 80’s, she came across as a quirky outsider with a flair for outrageous fashion. As her career progressed, however, she later became respected as a talented songwriter and musician, respected across musical genres. Her breakout hit? “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Fans were drawn to Cyndi by her love of music, and they have followed her on her 25+ year journey (30 million in global record sales at last count)

There’s a lesson for music educators and educators in general – Ultimately it’s your love of the subject matter that will inspire your students.

Sinatra Singing Advice: Pay Attention to Every Note and Every Word

“Throughout my career, if I have done anything, I have paid attention to every note and every word I sing – if I respect the song. If I cannot project this to a listener, I fail.”

– Frank Sinatra

I sometimes say (JOKINGLY) that growing up in an Italian-American Catholic family, there are 3 almighties – God, the Pope, and Frank Sinatra. I must say that growing up as a rock star wannabe guitar player in the 70’s, it wasn’t until later that I began to fully understand the brilliance of Sinatra as an artist. Frank was more or less like a favorite uncle to me – always a part of every family gathering and everyone was always happy when they heard him fill the room. His rise to fame and his fighter mentality became a symbolic source of pride to generations of Italian-American families, many of whom experienced discrimination for generations after their families immigrated to this country.

Every vocalist should be so lucky as to have one or two signature songs in their career. Frank had dozens. In some circles the term artist is reserved for those who compose music. Frank destroyed that myth. His ability to take great American songs and make them his own through brilliant phrasing, interpretation, and nuance was revolutionary in 20th century music.

Here’s a link to a Charlie Rose broadcast of an interview with John Lahr, author of “Frank Sinatra: The Artist and the Man,” followed by a panel discussion in honor of Frank Sinatra – a candid discussion that covers his talent, his influence, his life, his flaws, and his legacy.

Here’s Frank at his stylistic best – performing one of his most memorable torch songs, “One for My Baby (And Another One for the Road)”