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“In New York, on Sinatra’s 80th birthday, the Empire State Building was lit blue for old Blue Eyes; in Los Angeles, at the Shrine Auditorium, Frank and Barbara Sinatra sat like the Sun King and his consort in a table in the front row, while, behind them, the auditorium was packed to the brim with the rich and famous in evening gowns, attending a televised tribute to Frank Sinatra and his career. One by one, the greats of American popular culture gathered. They took turns singing his praises. The first of them was Bruce Springsteen-from one New Jersey boss to another. “My first memory of Frank’s voice came from the jukebox of a dark bar, one Sunday night, when my mother and I was going to look for my father.” Springsteen said before singing “Angel Eyes.” “I remember he told me: ‘Listen, it’s Frank Sinatra, he’s from New Jersey.’ It was a voice full of bad attitude, life, beauty , excitement, a dangerous sense of freedom, sex, and a sad knowledge of how the world is going. Every song seemed to have its postscript: ‘And if you don’t like it, here’s a punch in the mouth.’ Springsteen continued: ‘But it was the deep sadness in Frank’s voice that affected me most, and while his music became synonymous with the evening dress, the good life, the best drink, women, sophistication, her sad voice was always the sound of bad luck and men late at night, with the last 10 dollars in their pockets trying find a way out. The name of all New Jersey, I mean, “Cheers, brother, you have sung to our soul”

Springsteen had met Sinatra for the first time a few months earlier, at Frank’s house in Beverly Hills. After dinner, the guests gathered around the piano to sing. Among them were Bob Dylan, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gormé, singer Patti Scialfa (Springsteen’s wife), producers George Schlater and Mace Neufeld, and Tita Cahn (wife of songwriter Sammy Cahn). “You could feel Frank, you know, like a thoroughbred ready to run,” says Tita Cahn. They harmonized for a moment, and then someone suggested one of Sammy Cahn’s early hits with Sinatra, “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out Yo Dry.” The group launched:

“When I want rain,
I get sunny weather;
I’m just as blue as the sky,
Since love is gone,
Can’t pull myself together.
Guess I’ll hang my tears out to dry.”

“Stop!” Sinatra interrupted. “You already know that I sing alone.”
He finished the song solo.”

Fragment of the book “Sinatra, The Artist And The Man”, John Lahr, Random House, New York, 1997.

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