Frank Sinatra: a lasting musical legacy

Frank Sinatra: a lasting musical legacy

January 27th, 2012

Oscar Wilde once said, “Whatever music sounds like – at least it does not sound in the smallest degree like German.” No offense to German, please consider the standard music genres of Classical, Pop, Country, Jazz, R&B, Classic Hits and Soundtrack versus the Indie/Alternative categories of Hip Hop/Rap, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Industrial Techno, Grunge, and my personal favorite – Jock Rock. If I take Mr. Wilde’s quip and substitute the word “German” for one of the genres on this list, I’d have a difficult time selecting just one and, no doubt, each person reading this would select something different.

The fact remains that our lives – both in our daily routines and over the course of time – are influenced and affected by the music that we are subjected to, is popular at the time or that we are simply drawn to. Some is soon forgotten; some stays relevant forever.

When I decided to set my novel, Hassie Calhoun, in Las Vegas in the early 1960s, there was no avoiding the presence of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. I had not been a die-hard fan of Frank’s but had a penchant for the old standards of which Frank recorded hundreds. His influence was intrinsic having been embedded at an early age and digging into the man’s life made me a great fan and ultimately drove me to make him a real character in the novel – an awesome task that was both joyful and daunting. In the end, his presence was monumentally important to the very young Hassie. I am forever grateful to Frank’s legacy.

Is Frank Sinatra and his music still relevant in today’s world? For many months while writing Hassie Calhoun, I made note of every time I either heard a Sinatra recording, saw his photograph or heard mention of him for any reason and rarely a day went by that I didn’t hear or see something. I would also call attention to Harry Connick, Jr. and Michael Bublé who, though great talents in their own right, owe much to their beginnings and the comparisons to the voice and stylings of Sinatra – obviously something that still matters to a lot of people.

When I wrote Hassie’s Song, I Just Can’t Figure It Out, — and in an effort to ensure it fit the era – I imagined Frank singing it. I believed that what I heard in my head was right, but it would have been wonderful if I could have actually heard him sing it.

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