Frank Sinatra might be the coolest man who ever lived.
First, there’s the look. It’s a scientific fact that any hat dropped on Sinatra’s head would automatically cock itself slightly to one side. A quick Google image search bears this out. Add to this a dapper suit and a glass of whisky, and you have a look as smooth as his voice. (Note: I’m very annoyed at whoever was in charge of the photoshoot for the “Nice ‘n’ Easy” album cover. No suit, no hat, no martini, cheap wicker chair, bizarre semi-reclined pose…what kind of terrible photographer is capable of making such a naturally cool guy look so awkward?)
Next, there’s the fact that the ladies loved him, even though- let’s face it -he wasn’t the world’s best-looking guy. Blue eyes aside, he was a bit goofy looking. He had acne scars left over from his teenage years, and a scar on his chin as a result of a forceps birth during which he was presumed dead and left on the kitchen counter while the doctor tended to his mother. But despite all his physical imperfections, his lack of height, his unimpressive physique, he was one of the first singers to incite screams of delirium from his female fans.
Finally, he was socially conscious. Even though he was often said to have had links to organized crime, he was actually a pretty forward-thinking guy. At the peak of his stardom during some racially tense years, he refused to play at “white-only” venues, and once brought Lena Horne into an all-white club. He even showed up at a newly integrated school to diffuse racial tension, leading the students in a pledge of tolerance.
I should mention that his criminal record wasn’t entirely spotless. He was only arrested once, way back when he was 23. The charge was…wait for it…seduction.
This is probably my favourite Sinatra song. I like it partly because it was a last-minute substitution on the album, and yet ended up being the title track, which gives it a bit of a successful underdog feel. But mostly I like it because it’s just so effortlessly cool.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. The muted trumpets.
2. The strings, hiding way in the background.
3. In the last verse, he starts snapping his fingers. Although I have no way of knowing, I’d bet he didn’t even realize he was doing it. When you’re as cool as Sinatra, snapping your fingers is as natural as breathing, I guess.
Recommended listening activity:
Practising your wink-and-grin combination.