Welcome 2017

I am not alone in welcoming a new year. Everyone seems to be thankful that 2016 is finally over. Wow 2017, the year 2000 was 17 years ago, how time flies. We lost some celebrities in 2016 but I really only want to speak about three to prove a disturbing point.   When Debbie Reynolds passed a day after her daughter Carrie Fischer a 20 something told me that they didn’t know that Carrie Fischer’s mom was an actress and that her dad was a singer. I said that while Carrie Fischer portrayed one of the most iconic roles of the 20th century she wasn’t near the star that her mother or father was. Then there was George Michael an Icon of the 80s and 90s these two claimed they never heard of him before he died. Really, I asked myself “what planet are they from”?

What is disturbing about this is we have a whole generation who doesn’t know anything about American Culture before Facebook. This and still is a great country, but we better realize the America didn’t start with Twitter, there is a lot of history and culture that is great that a generation doesn’t know about. It sad very sad, people forgot about Al Jolson, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong. These two knew none of them. But as the final words in Rogue One when Princess Leia says “This is Hope”. These two still knew who Frank Sinatra was and I say to you THIS IS HOPE.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. S!

We have been hearing all year long “Sinatra’s 100th year”. I have been thinking that I have to write something very special for Frank for his 100th birthday. What can I say about a man I never met who is arguably the biggest star there ever was that has not been already been said.   We have all heard the good stories, the bad stories and yes event the ugly stories. So what can I add to this man’s legacy???

The answer is NOTHING!

Frank doesn’t need me, but I sure need him. Frank Sinatra has had more influence on me than just about anyone who I have ever met and the closest I ever got to him was standing at his Grave last month. I never saw him live only heard his records and saw his movies, watched documentaries and read books. However I feel like I know him like we are friends and when I need advice, comfort, or just a pat on the back I turn to his library of music and I get the answer, comfort and the handshake I need.

So today 100 years ago on Monroe Street in Hoboken New Jersey Francis Albert Sinatra was born. Frank was a large baby and was actually not breathing until his grandmother put him under a sink and ran cold water on him. Boy the whole world needs to thank that lady. Later today I will be attending the Official New York City Frank Sinatra’s Birthday Party at Patsy’s on 56th street. So I will be there remembering Frank with my Pally’s seeing Sal & Joe and some other celebrities that will show up and have a great time, later we will hear some live tribute to Frank. But what does it all mean? What is so great about Frank Sinatra that 100 years later we are celebrating? The man died almost 18 years ago and every day during your everyday life you will hear Frank Sinatra sing! After the Ball Drops in Times Square at the end of every Yankee game its Frank. Countless scores in Movies have Frank in them. How does he still touch our lives? Old people love him, middle-aged people love him, young adults love him, and yes-even children love him. A career that lasted 8 decades and he has bridged the gap of many generations.

Why are so many America’s and the rest of the World so intrigued by Frank Sinatra?

  1. His talent let’s face it the man could sing and people have written many books on how wonderful his Voice, phrasing and timing were.
  2. He was self made – Nobody ever gave Frank anything he worked hard and had talent, caught a few breaks and made it to the top
  3. He wasn’t perfect – He made mistakes, he had many failures, after rising to the top of the music and movie industry he crashed and burned. At one point he was let go from Columbia Records and Louis B Mayer tossed him to the curb. Yet he persevered and he rose from the ashes to be bigger and better than he ever was.
  4. He did it HIS WAY – Yes we all know the Sinatra signature song, but what some don’t know he suffered and struggled because he did it his way. They wanted him to change his name it’s too Italian, he said no, they told him to change his life style, he said no. He lost fans, contracts, and friends but he stayed true to himself and in the end let’s face it HE WON!

So on Frank’s 100th Birthday raise a glass and toast the Greatest Entertainer that ever lived and remember IT’S FRANKS WORLD WE ARE JUST LIVING IN IT”!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANK!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DINO

Today is Dean Martin’s 98th Birthday. Pretty much everyone knows Dean so there is really not much more I could add about him that most people don’t know. We all know he was a huge singer, movie star, stage star, radio star, and yes TV Star. His variety show in the 60’s and 70’s was one of the top shows on TV.   We all know that he drank Ice Tea on stage and not bourbon. Something else most people know he was a savvy businessman. He sold out of the CalNeva Casino just before the Casino commission shut it down. He also was smart enough to get stock based compensation from NBC as part of his comp for his show. In fact when NBC sold to RCA, Dean Martin was the largest individual stockholder of NBC. We all know Dean was Frank Sinatra’s best friend. This is all nothing new.

What you don’t know is that I cannot remember a time in my life that I did not know and listen to Dean Martin. Yes I have memories of “Before Frank” not many but I do. If you have ever read this Blog you know that Frank Sinatra is my undisputed favorite, hell I even named my religion after him. But today it’s about my second favorite Mr. Dean Martin. My father loved Dean Martin and listened to him all the time. Unlike today when I drove with my Dad, we had to listen to his music not mine. I remember listening to the 8 – Track with the matchbook slipped inside so it would play. Songs like “King of the Road”, “Lay some Happiness on Me” which was my favorite as a kid and now my favorite is “Lil Ole Wine Drinking Me”.   I love most of his music including his standards such as “That’s Amore” and “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime” which was his biggest hit. When that song hit number one and he knocked the Beatles out of the top slot, rumor has it he wrote Elvis and Frank that he was tired of waiting for them to knock them off.

Dean and his music, comedy (he was very funny) and movies are so interwoven into my life that I really couldn’t imagine him not being around.

Dean died on Christmas Day 1995; it’s hard for me to believe it almost 20 years. Thank God for musical recordings, videos and yes You Tube. Because of them we can all enjoy the talents of the Great Dean Martin.

So I ask you at some point today to raise a glass of Bourbon or Scotch and toast to one of the Greatest Entertainer there ever was.   And remember HE WAS JUST TRYING TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN FOLKS!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. SINATRA

On this day in 1915 (99 years ago) on 215 Monroe Street Hoboken, NJ Francis Albert Sinatra was born. Later today at one of Franks favorite restaurant Patsy’s there will be a celebration of Franks life. I have never had the privilege to see Frank in concert and I never met him, but I will be there today listening to people that were blessed to call him Pally tell stories of the greatest entertainer that ever lived.

When I tell people that I am going to Frank Sinatra’s birthday party some people laugh, some don’t believe it is a real thing, and others remind me that he died in 1998. Some of my friends just think it just an excuse to have a party, but what they don’t get is Frank Sinatra is much much more than the greatest entertainer that ever lived.

I am not going to talk about Frank’s career in show business today, there is nothing to say he was the best and nobody will ever come close. I am not going to talk about Frank’s style because we all know he invented style. I am going to talk about the man I admire.

Back in the 30, 40s, and 50s, many artists changed their names, you may or may not know that Dean Martin and Tony Bennett changed their names because there real names were too ethic. Yes Italians were discriminated against. When people told Frank that he needs to change his name because it was too ethnic, he had some choice words for them and they weren’t Happy Birthday.

Well before it was politically correct to be tolerant of other people and religion, Frank was fighting for racial and religious tolerance. In 1945, long before the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Frank starred in “The House I Live In” In the movie Frank Sinatra takes a smoke break during a recording session and sees a large group of boys chasing a Jewish boy and intervenes. His message to them is that all Americans are one and all religions are to be respected equally.

In the 1950s he told the management of the Sands Hotel, that if Sammy doesn’t stay at the Hotel then he won’t and he will perform elsewhere.

Frank wasn’t perfect none of us are, but he lived by his rules and he stuck to those rules even if it wasn’t the popular thing to do. Many times he put his career at risk to stand by a friend or do what he thought was right.

So today when I hear all the stories, I will say to myself Thank God for Frank Sinatra, because the world is a better place because he was born 99 years ago today.

Happy Birthday Frank!

The Concept Album – Sinatra at his Best

Last week, I went to the 21 Club with two young fine gentlemen who work at my Firm. One of my Partners also joined us. Spending time with these gentlemen gave me some hope that maybe someday the US will be restored and style will be back in the mainstream.  We discussed music and I was surprised at how little they knew about Sinatra’s music. Yes they knew the popular 20 hits that you here at every wedding and block party. So it dawned on me that maybe many of my readers have the same knowledge and I said to myself I need to change that.

During the 1050s while Sinatra was working at Capital Records he came up the idea (Yes it was his idea) of Concept Albums.  He would painfully layout songs and in what order they would be on the album in order to create a “concept” for that album.  What he created along with Nelson Riddle and other arrangers is just about the finest work of music ever recorded.  Here is a list of some of those concept albums.  I would encourage not only getting these albums, but you should listen to them the way Frank intended. Listen to them in the order Frank put them:

 

Album Name Company Year
A Swingin’ Affair Capital Records 1957
September of My Years Reprise Records 1965
Come Swing with Me Capital Records 1961
Point of No Return Capital Records 1961
Ring – A – Ding Reprise Records 1960
No One Cares Capital Records 1959
Come Dance With Me Capital Records 1958
Only The Lonely Capital Records 1958
Where Are Your Capital Records 1957
Songs for Swingin’ Lovers Capital Records 1955
In The Wee Small Hours Capital Records 1954
Close To You Capital Records 1957
Come Fly With Me Capital Records 1957
Nice and Easy Capital Records 1960
Sinatra’s Swingin’ Session!!! And More Capital Records 1961
Swing Easy/Songs for Young Lovers Capital Records 1954

 

And let’s not forget “The Rat Pack Live at the Sands” on Reprise Records 1963

 

I AM BACK!

Many people have been complaining I haven’t made a post in awhile.  Well its true and the simple is reason was  it was Tax Season.  Many of you know that I am a CPA by trade (that’s how I pay my bills) and during January through April I work between 60 hours and 75 hours per week.  Well it is the Month of May now and that is all behind me.  Over the next several months I am going to expose some what I will call fraud’s in the world of Fashion, Cigars, Booze, and Gambling.  What else did you think I would be discussing POLITICS?  I will leave that to the Maroon’s of the world and stick with something important.

On Thursday,  I will be going on a nine day Pilgrimage to the center of my faith:  Las Vegas!  This is my first trip to Las Vegas since starting The Art of Livin and I am a little nervous.  I get nervous because every time I go to Las Vegas the city changes so much and most of those changes are never to my liking.  However there are some exciting things going on in the Holy City (It’s not Sin City to me) in 2014.  First the Old Barbary Coast (that’s what it was called before Bill’s Gaming House) has had a $180 Million upgrade and has opened as the Cromwell.  Drais After Hours (Vegas’ Top After Hours Club for years) is back along with Drais Beachclub on the Roof of the hotel (they stole my idea).  The official opening is Memorial Day weekend, but the casino is open now.  So I am excited to see if they kept true to the soul of Las Vegas or did they destroy it.  I am going to be optimistic.  Another attraction is the High Roller,  the world’s largest Ferris Wheel.  Yes I am going on it and will give a full report.

Lastly,  later this year the Sahara Hotel and Casino will be re-born under the name of SLS Las Vegas.  Hopefully like a Born – Again Christian the SLS will be New and Improved.  While I am disappointed that the Casino will not be called the Sahara, I am optimistic that the new owners did not completely abandon the legacy of one of the greatest casino ever.  Unlike the Venetian who doesn’t even have a plaque or anything noting that the greatest casino the SANDS was located on this spot.  SLS still has photo’s of the old Sahara on their website.  The hotel towers were renovated not imploded.  So when I go back in October, I will walk through the doors of the SLS Casino and remember this is the Sahara.  Again I am being optimistic about the SLS Las Vegas, will be like Caesars Palace Be New and True.

So I apologize to those who have missed my hearing about my view of the world.  When I return I will give you a complete update on the “STATE OF LAS VEGAS”.  I am proud to say our numbers are growing and we are going to continue to grow.  Please like the page on Facebook and tell your friends about the Blog.

Thank you again for all your support.

HAPPY 98TH BIRTHDAY FRANK

On December 12, 1915 at 415 Monroe Street,  Hoboken New Jersey, a woman gave birth to a still born baby. While the mid wife was attending to the mother, the grandmother picked up the baby and put him under ice cold water and the baby sprang to life.

Just think if Grandma didn’t save that child’s life the world would have never had

Francis Albert Sinatra.

What a horrible thought: “a world without Frank”

Thank God she did save him (yes it is a true story) and today we celebrate Frank’s 98th birthday.  I will be doing my celebrating at Patsy’s Restaurant on 56th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue.

So kick back,  pour yourself a Jack Daniels,  and put on your favorite Sinatra song and give thanks to the VOICE and little ole Grandma that saved it.

May you live to be 100 years old and mine is the last voice you hear.

 

Mr. S.

HAPPY REPEAL DAY! SO GET A DRINK AND CELEBRATE FREEDOM

Today marks the first day of Holy Week for us Sinatra Fundamentalists;  it also marks the 80th Anniversary of the ratification of the 21st amendment to the United States Constitution, which repealed the 18th amendment and the Volstead Act. So I make sure to celebrate this day every year. Whenever I bring this up,  people laugh and think it is funny because they know my love for alcohol, but in reality it is very serious. The fact that the 18th amendment was passed was an assault on Freedom. There have been 27 amendments to the US Constitution and 26 of them have promoted individual freedom. The 18th did not. How did the 18th amendment pass and the country born of individual freedom pass such a horrific law? Back in the late 19th century people (mostly Protestants) decided that alcohol was bad and should be outlawed. The Anti – Saloon League was established to rid the country of alcohol. They launched a campaign using the circuit of Protestant churches to preach the gospel according to them. They claimed that the Roman Catholic,  Irish,  & German immigrants were destroying the country with alcohol.  The Anti-Saloon League is also responsible for Income Tax (Alcohol tax basically funded the Civil War and the Government needed the alcohol revenue). The League pushed for Income Tax laws so they could attack alcohol. The first laws passed were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. So the League pushed for the passing of the 16th amendment which gave the Federal Government the ability to collect Income Tax. Check your history:  the US did not have a Federal Income Tax until 1913!!! We all know of the unintended consequences of Prohibition so I won’t discuss that today.

That brings us up to today. Over the years we have seen a lot of laws passed to limit the individual freedoms of US Citizens. First we had the motorcycle helmet laws, then the seat belt laws. Later they moved to smoking restrictions (which still go on today;  some counties in California passed laws restricting people from smoking in their own home). New York City has Mayor Bloomberg with his Soda laws, they want to tax you for the amount of distance you drive. It is really getting crazy and it’s going to get worse. Politicians are using the same arguments that the Anti – Saloon League used to make the 18th amendment. Remember the words of Ronald Wilson Reagan “the most dangerous words you can hear is ‘I am from the Government and I am here to help’.” So this day is no joke it is very serious.

So today is a day to celebrate freedom, I encourage you to exercise your right as an American and have a COCKTAIL AND SAY GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!