‘Start Spreading the News . . .’

Christmas morning was made perfect by the playing of the two-disc “Ultimate Sinatra.” Starring himself, it cut through 40 years of music making and the generations of all Millers present. A few days earlier Old Blue Eyes as “Pal Joey”* had flashed them and a big smile at a family member who decided to take him and the album home from the store.

If I have it right, for some of the 24 songs** Frank Sinatra is accompanied by a studio orchestra. One is pictured with him inside, all 27 members of it, in a large full-color photo. For one song Harry James and his orchestra back up the singer in 1939. In another Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra and the Pied Pipers do the honors in 1940.

Four words from side 4 furnished the title above. They open “The Theme from New York, New York,”*** Why shouldn’t Start spreading the news work for the job ahead in 2020, a year for focus and clarity?

— Mark Channing Miller

p.s. HERE is another take on Sinatra, written by Edward Curtain for the new year, added by me on the evening of Jan. 3 when I came across it.

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* Movie also co-starring Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak that came out in 1957.

** “All or Nothing at All,” “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “Saturday Night,” “Nancy,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Young at Heart,” “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” “Learnin’ the Blues,” “Love and Marriage,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Witchcraft,” “All the Way,” “Come Fly With Me,” “One for My Baby,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “My Kind of Town,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “It Was a Very Good Year,” “Strangers in the Night,” “Summer Wind,” “That’s Life,” “My Way,” “Theme from New York, New York,” and “Put Your Dreams Away.”

*** Written for the movie “New York, New York” that came out in 1977, four years after the opening of the World Trade Center and 24 years before the unexpected destruction of three of its skyscrapers on Sept. 11, 2001, a Tuesday morning on which nearly 3,000 persons were murdered in Manhattan and at the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. Click HERE to hear Sinatra singing a version of the song for a live audience.

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