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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Celebrating the Centenary of Sinatra - Holiday Style!

Welcome to Day #12 in A POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR, and I will say this right now.  This one is going to be an abbreviated one.  Not a whole lot of words will be typed, but you will hear some beautiful music.

(Well, as long as YouTube keeps it up, that is.)

I figure that I have to do something to get the Christmas spirit flowing, because having a look at the weather in my area, you'd never know that Christmas was just thirteen days away.

Now keep in mind...I live in CANADA!  These temperatures are in Celsius.  Right now, we're sitting at 5 C, which is equivalent to 41 F.  We're supposed to be sitting below zero this time of year, and we should have had snow by now!

Yes, I'm complaining about no Christmas snow.  I want Christmas snow, and I'm not talking about the character Suzanne Somers played on "Three's Company" either.

So, my idea was to get in the mood, I would share some Christmas music from one of the most notable and beloved crooners of his time.

I'm lucky that I am old enough to remember Frank Sinatra when he was still recording music.  I was just a few days shy of my 17th birthday when he passed away, and I remember being very sad about it because he was so much of a legend in the music scene.  I mean, granted, when I was a teenager, I very much listened to R.E.M., Stone Temple Pilots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and all the 1980s music in the world.  But I had a soft spot for Sinatra, and how Ol' Blue Eyes could make anybody stop and take notice with his perfect pipes and the way he inserted every emotion into his songs.

The reason why I wanted to spotlight Sinatra's music today of all days is because this would have been Sinatra's one hundredth birthday.  And although he only made it to year 82, what he did in those eighty-two years was provide us with enough music that it could continue to entertain generations of people.

And since the holidays are here, I thought that for today's entry, I'd feature some of his Christmas albums.  I don't exactly know how many albums there are (there have been so many compilations made that I couldn't possibly keep track of them all).  But I did find at least three albums that will keep you in the Christmas spirit.  In fact, since I'm periodically recommending gift ideas for all of you, I want to recommend all of these albums as potential gift ideas.  After all, Sinatra's music is very much timeless, and I'm sure that no matter how old you are, you can really appreciate the body of work he brought to the music industry.

Now, again...I have no idea how long these will stay up - so I'll ask that to listen to them, you click the links.  I'll tell a brief story about how the albums came to be, and add one video from each album.  The rest you can listen to by clicking the link.

This may surprise some of you, but this particular album was Sinatra's third album overall!  And what also may shock you is that this album was released as a four record set!  It may seem a bit much, given that the original pressing of the album had only eight songs, but each record had one song on each side (it was released on 78 rpm mode).

The album was re-released on cassette and CD in 1994, with the original eight songs, plus a variety of other songs that he recorded while he was contracted with Capitol Records.

While his 1948 album was really an album set, this record was Sinatra's first full-length Christmas album, released on September 21, 1957 (seems a bit EARLY for a Christmas album, but I suppose that's how a lot of holiday records were released back in the day).

This album featured the Ralph Brewster Singers and an orchestra conducted by Gordon James.  And, it's actually one of the few Christmas albums that was RE-RELEASED on vinyl during the vinyl resurrection of the 2010s.  How's that for a nice piece of trivia?

This album is a bittersweet one, as by the time this album was released, all three singers credited on this album were deceased (Sinatra died in 1998, Sammy Davis Jr. in 1990, and Dean Martin in 1995.)  But considering that Sinatra was a huge part of the Rat Pack in the 1950s, I have to include this one because it truly is a masterpiece in spreading holiday cheer.  Imagine taking three of the most well known singers in the world and putting their work on one whole album?  That's a gift that anyone would love to receive.

Happy birthday, Frank Sinatra.  May you continue to entertain people for all eternity.

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