Growing up I never really understood or respected the Sinatra of my time. This was the whiskey swilling, bloated out of his prime loud mouth Sinatra that had the audacity to scold Sinead O’Connor for ripping up a picture of the pope on Saturday Night Live. My parents weren’t music people so I never grew up listening to much of his work like many of my age would. So here comes this old man in dated earth tone suits pointing his finger at Sinead. His career would remain timeless while hers pretty much went straight in the crapper.
Two things changed my views on Sinatra in the late 80’s then again in the late 90’s. In the 80’s it was chicks. Sinatra could write the words and sing the songs that I couldn’t. I’d be cruising around the city blasting my Frank Reprise boxset (True story just ask Brian Fowler from the heyday of the End 107.9). I was one of those “alternative” listeners. Once it broke from college radio I wasn’t into it anymore. The End though was mainstream college radio only with commercials. So in between the Cure, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam, or Nirvana there was always Frank. The girls thought that was “Complex” or “Sensitive”. It added a mystique that gave me the edge on many dates.
Frank wasn’t hip in those days to the kids, but me and my buddy Kevin would listen to Frank and shoot pool. He was more of an Indigo Girls guy (yeah there is such a thing), where I was a Nick Cave guy. We rarely ever agreed on music except when it came to Frank. We played the hell out of that Reprise CD box set on a daily basis. My interests wavered over time and Frank would come out less and less until my buddy Adam took me to see an amazing movie in 1996 called Swingers.
Swingers so paralleled what we were doing only a couple years early. We would Kick back playing Sega (we were NBA Jams connoisseurs as opposed to their NHL 94 classic scene) listening to Frank before heading out to score some beautiful babies. Throw those characters out of Los Angeles we found almost a friend in that movie in Cleveland. That swing culture opened up the doors for bands like Squirrel Nut Zippers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and even the rebirth of Brian Setzer. Dean Martin was somehow cool again, Sinatra was the king of swing culture. Everything swanky was cool again. So I revisited not only my Sinatra collection but built on it with the new hip swing bands out there.
Alas it was short lived, but Sinatra stayed with me and still does. I have a ton of Sinatra records. Come Fly with Me has one of the coolest covers out there. Super blue sky matching Frank’s baby blues, the jet in the background where Frank is going to whisk away this lucky dame. You only see her hand on the cover but you know she’s something else. The album itself is pretty cool, but packs only three true hits with the title track, Autumn in New York and Let’s Get Away From it All. Yeah, yeah I know this one is built around different travel destinations but those three are the standouts.
Billy May was the conductor and possibly based only on a lack of imagination worked with Frank on two other records; Come Dance with Me, and Come Swing with Me. Maybe he ran out of Come ideas. Come Fly with Me is an essential part to any Sinatra collection. There are tons of different versions of this record and this abundance makes this album easy to score under $5.00. For the budget loving vinyl junkie it is super easy to stock up on a pretty impressive Sinatra collection for like $50. This should be in that collection though. It’s upbeat, it swings, it croons. It is the total Sinatra package.