Thursday, May 15, 2008
I GET A LICK OUT OF YOU
It has been ten years since FRANK SINATRA left us. Some longtime friends refuse to believe it, preferring to think of him as just being on the road. I like that.
I was proud to be a small part of the postage stamp thing yesterday here in Las Vegas. (You'll note that the stamp I've featured on my websites and blogs is a 41 cent one, but by the time they released it, prices went up a penny).
He once asked me- from the stage- who wrote the song he was about to sing. I called out the composer's name from the audience and he took my word for it, repeating it to the Las Vegas audience. Going backstage after that 11PM show, the old man walked by me on his way out. Never making eye contact (he was actually looking at my date) he took the silk pocket square from his tux and stuffed it into my blazer in one smooth move. To me, that meant 'thank you.'
When I was twenty something, I said something to him that broke him up between shows. I had run it by Jilly who insisted I tell the boss. We entered the star's dressing room and it was filled with big shots. Jilly hit me in the arm. "Tell him.''
I did. It was a line about Jane Pauly and her husband, Garry Trudeau, who was really hammering Sinatra in his comic strip, Doonsbury. My joke was off-color, mean- spirited and pretty funny.
"Write that down," Sinatra asked/told me. I faxed the material the next day and the superstar used it on stage off and on for the next week or so.
The best book on Sinatra the singer is WILL FRIEDWALD'S 'The Song Is You.' I recently re-read it as Will was nice enough to sign a copy for me. And now, a decade after Sinatra's passing, the book more than ever is better than ever. Who cares, really, about the gossip? What remains is the music and Will got that and got it right. Will and producer JACK LEWIN put together "Our Sinatra" and if you're interested in hearing the music Sinatra made famous, make a point of catching that show.
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