Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! – Frank Sinatra

Released March 5, 1965 this album was the first ever to reach #1 on the UK Albums Chart. Often considered Frank’s best album and one of the greatest of its era. It’s certified Gold and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000 and is #306 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Jason: Hi there. Today we are discussing Ol’ Blue Eyes, The Chairman of the Board. The Voice. Ladies and gentlemen….Frank Sinatra.

Brad: That’s quite an introduction!

Jason: He has earned it.

Brad: Yes. He has. Have you ever listened to this album before?

Jason: No but I know all of the songs. They are standards from the late 1930s to early ’40s. Full disclosure Sinatra is my third favorite member of the Rat Pack. 

Brad: Who are the first two?

Jason: Dean Martin is #1 by a long shot. Sammy Davis Jr. is second Then Sinatra, Eddie Fisher, then I guess Joey Bishop. How about you?

Brad: I think Frank would be top on my list just a hair above Dean Martin.

Jason: Really? Sinatra is fine and I don’t mind him but I don’t fawn over him like a lot of people. What do you like about him and this album? 

Brad: He has such confidence and swagger and it really comes across on his recordings. Although, I had never heard this album before this week. 

Jason: I have never listened to this album either but I am sure we have heard these songs by him in our 45 years on earth.

Brad: Honestly, I know some of these songs really well but I have never heard a few of them before. For example… “It Happened in Monterey” “How About You?” or “Swingin’ Down The Lane”

Jason: Did you enjoy listening to Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!? I thought it was perfectly good background music.

Brad: I wasn’t exactly dreading it but I wasn’t looking forward to it. I guess I never think to listen to Frank Sinatra. However, I really enjoyed it. It put me in a good mood. It made me feel like I was walking around in a romantic comedy and that everyone could break out into choreographed dancing at any moment

Jason: Yes his songs are still everywhere.  Every romantic comedy, every steak house in Chicago, every Starbucks. One minor thing that bugs me is in “Too Marvelous For Words” at exactly 2:14 it sounds like he misses the note. Did you notice that? 

Brad: No, I didn’t notice that previously. That’s being pretty nitpick-y

Jason: It’s just an observation. I’m just sayin’ that if this album is his best ever maybe fix it in post. By the way, this album is titled “Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!” a few  years prior to this he had an album called “Songs for Young Lovers!” so I assume that this is for those same couples who have left the honeymoon period and now have an open marriage. Play this at your next key party!

Brad: LOL…maybe? It sounds like his life was a revolving door of romances so that would be fitting.

Jason: That’s true. He was married four times and dated half of Hollywood.

Brad: By the way, you know how you hate Elvis impersonators? Well, I hate Frank Sinatra impersonators

Jason: Yeah, I get that because it’s too hackneyed at this point. Anyone can do an Elvis or a Sinatra. It’s like do something different! Do an impression of Frank Sinatra Jr.’s….kidnapper or something.

Brad: Yeah, I even hate when performers take on that Sinatra swagger. I remember one time you and I went to see a show at the Symphony Center and Grammy Winning singer Kurt Elling was one of the performers. He’s super talented and has a great voice but his Sinatra-esque swagger really turned me off.

Jason: Per usual I recall none of that. I understand why people emulate Sinatra though, he was cool and badass and talented and intimidating and a Lothario and a jerk and possibly a mobster. 

Brad: One thing I was really impressed with on this album is the sound quality. The orchestra sounds really good and not at all like this is a recording from 1956.  I discovered while listening to this album that Nelson Riddle did the arrangements. 

Jason: Yes, the reissue is mastered really well.

Brad: Do you remember when Nelson Riddle had a huge comeback and did three really popular albums with Linda Ronstadt in the ’80s?

Jason: Of course not. Did you know who Riddle was prior to that?

Brad: Well, I remember that he worked with many greats in the 50s and 60s like Nat King Cole who I really liked when I was younger.

Jason: Yes, Nat King Cole was my maternal grandmother’s favorite. I do like him a lot. So what grade would you give Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (who want to have sex with their neighbors and not feel guilty about it because Frank says it’s okay)?

Brad: I think I would give this a solid B. Not my usual choice of music but I enjoyed it.

Jason: During this entire chat I was listening to Dean Martin because I like him better. I am going to give this album a C+ simply because while it isn’t bad by any means and definitely listenable, it’s nothing earth-shattering for me.

Brad: Good thing he’s still not alive. You would end up at the bottom of the Chicago River for giving him that grade.

Jason: With cement shoes! Before we go I have one last question. We talked about our favorite member of the Rat Pack… but who is your favorite member of the Brat Pack?

Brad: I’m gonna say Molly Ringwald but in the 80s I would have said Andrew McCarthy.

Jason: I’d say Ringwald as well but Ally Sheedy is a close second. Poor Mare Winningham is the Joey Bishop of the Brat Pack.

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Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.