Ten years ago today Frank Sinatra died. May 14, 1998.
In his absence, his legacy has grown—at least among fans—thanks in large measure to the release of the Sinatra:Vegas boxed set which collected some classic live performances, particularly the two Sands dates from 1961 and 1966. When his mouth was rolling—and he wasn't being sexist or racist—he had some comedic skills going on.
Yesterday, Reprise released, Nothing but The Best yet another collection of Sinatra hits mined from the archives of his own label, Reprise Records. The copy I received in the mail came with one of the new Sinatra U.S. postage stamps on a first–day–of –issue card. Sinatra bonus tracks, of which there have to be tons of sitting in vaults, but which so far are unusually hard to come by, exist on that set in the form of one lone cover of "Body and Soul," featuring a vocal Sinatra recorded in 1984. For whatever reason, the Sinatra estate is holding its unreleased material very close to the vest. Hopefully, as that stuff grows in value, the pressure to cash in may shake some of it loose.
I remember many times during lost teenage years that I thought Frank was the enemy, pure and simple. All his blather about rock 'n' roll being by punks for punks pissed me off. Forget about Elvis, Frank didn't get the Beatles either, which to me made him a cheesy, loud–mouthed relic.
Age has of course taught me better. The man was irreplaceable. So go home, have a shot of Jack Daniels, always Frank's drink, and listen to those wonderful, old ring–a–ding–ding records. R.I.P. Francis.