"all that mother jazz"

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May 13th marked the release of the Frank Sinatra postage stamp, a day shy of the 10th anniversary of his death. I've paid scant attention to Sinatra over the years, other than whatever Christmas jingles are seasonally thrust upon me. That said, the commute home from work in the afternoons is a trying experience as red traffic lights only provide exclamations to the brake lights in front of me. Rock & Roll and... road rage?

About a year ago, I decided to try something more relaxing, and first set upon Sinatra at the Sands. And after a couple decades of exploring about every musical genre (except rap and country), I was hooked. "I've Got You Under My Skin" has to be one of the silkiest love songs ever, and "Luck Be a Lady" exemplifies "Vegas Cool." A dozen or so Sinatra/Rat Pack Cd's and two biographies later, I'm still hooked.

All in all, his five decades as a celebrity offer a murky reflection of what matters and what does not. He was often brutish and vindictive, or worse, yet sang songs
 that belied his personality. Even in an era where the media were accomplices as often as not, his public demons were just that... public. Some year soon, they will be forgotten except by those who choose to go look for them, but the celebrity will remain.

This speaks of an irony. Many people find satisfaction or fulfillment in helping their fellow man, and, no doubt, more should. There's an assumed eulogy for "he who helped others, always to be remembered as a good man." Yet, it seems, for the superstars amongst us, we can look past that. I don't think this speaks to cultural morals devolving; it's just the way we are. A blemished Hero is better than none at all, and we all need our heroes.
I've been to Las Vegas three times in recent years. Frank Sinatra Boulevard is a surprisingly inconspicuous road, running parallel to the Strip. The Sands was imploded to make way for "bigger and better," the Venetian. Big bands have largely left the fabric of entertainment considerations.

Yet one wonders with all that is Vegas, how many people are searching at some level to experience Vegas as Sinatra did?

If they are, my observation is that Vegas cool is now much harder to find.

1 comment :

  1. Sinatra was amasing (vocally speaking). I remember in college there was a kid that sang a lot of Sinatra for voice class. He once sang "Luck be a Lady" and I thought every girl in the room would faint. There will never be another Sinatra though many have and many will try. That said, no one will remember him as anything else except a legend. His songs will be immortalized. His role with organized crime wont be. I didn't know you had such good taste in music ;) LOL