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By Mahnuel Muñoz


In the month of December 1990, Sinatra was heard – or talked about – everywhere. The artist’s 75th anniversary is an event worthy of numerous events and arouses great expectation in the media, which surrender to the greatness of his contribution to popular culture. Tony Gieske writes for the Hollywood Reporter:
When he finally leaves, he will leave a huge hole in 20th century music, perhaps the biggest of all: bigger, surely, than his old idol Bing Crosby, or Elvis Presley, or The Beatles, or even Duke Ellington or Charlie Parker. Because when you add it all up, it’s just Sinatra who speaks to everyone, who touches a small place in everyone’s hearts, old, young, black, white, men, women, rock fans and opera lovers. Thus it feeds the deepest of all American longings, the longing for identity, the unacknowledged desire for something that everyone can feel, a feeling that unites us all.”

At that time, two important musical collections were launched on the market with some of Sinatra’s best work in his most famous years. “The Capitol Years” features seventy-five songs recorded between 1953 and 1962, nearly four hours of music on three discs, and Reprise Records competes with “The Reprise Collection,” upping the ante to four discs, four and a half hours of music. and 81 cuts recorded between 1960 and 1986. Journalist Mikal Gilmore, from Rolling Stone magazine, does not spare his praise for both anthologies and believes that Sinatra’s songs seem to be expressions of the artist’s own personal experiences, and that both compilations are “Living testaments of a man who has learned to hold on to one truth above all others: that love can never be won so surely as to stop imagining the pain of its loss.


Also on sale is an extraordinary collection of VHS tapes with television specials and historic concerts that offer a very complete portrait of the live performer over three decades. Titles in the collection include the iconic “A Man And His Music” series (1965-1967) and the concerts at London’s Royal Festival Hall (1970), “The Main Event” (1974), “Concert For The Americas” (1982) and “Live at Budokan” (1985).

His professional colleagues are not far behind when it comes to recognizing his career. On December 3 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, the Society of Singers awards her the Ella Award (named in honor of Ella Fitzgerald) for her achievements throughout her career. The gala held in his honor features the presence of a large group of Frank’s contemporary artists, who dedicate their praises and songs to him. The night is filled with unforgettable moments: Harry Connick Jr., very young and overwhelmed by Sinatra’s presence, has to stop while performing “More” because his nerves have made him forget the lyrics; Jo Stafford and the Hi-Lo’s join forces to sing Frank’s first big hit, “I’ll Never Smile Again,” Connie Haines joins the Manhattan Transfer to perform a sparkling version of “Snootie Little Cootie”; Peggy Lee dedicates a touching voice and piano version of “The Man I Love” to him with lyrics re-written for the occasion… and all backed by an orchestra conducted by none other than Henry Mancini. But without a doubt the most emotional moment of the night occurs between Ella Fitzgerald and Frank himself when, after presenting the trophy, they both indulge in an energetic version of “The Lady Is A Tramp” in which they exude pure happiness and dissolve his old age, singing with power, intonation and dynamism, doing up to two “reprises” of the last verse, to the delirium of the audience. As a general rule, Sinatra did not like tributes, but I am convinced that that night was a source of joy and pride for him.

Instead of stopping to savor the sweetness of the tributes, Frank immediately resumes his agenda. On December 11, on the stage of the Byrne Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the tour called Diamond Jubilee Tour begins, sponsored by the Chivas whiskey brand (Where is Jack Daniel’s, Frank’s favorite brand?) that will serve to celebrate Sinatra’s milestone birthday and will run through 1991.


On December 16, the CBS network broadcasts a magnificent program titled “Sinatra 75th- The Best Is Yet To Come”, which takes a look at the highlights of his career and features interventions by, among others, Gene Kelly, Dean Martin, Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, Quincy Jones, Liza Minnelli, Mel Gibson, Paul Newman and Robert Wagner. As a brilliant culmination, the filming of the concert on December 12, 1990 at the aforementioned Byrne Meadowlands is included, which allows us to enjoy a very good performance by Sinatra before a fully dedicated audience.

Perhaps any of us would have chosen to say goodbye to such an intense year in a relaxed way, but Sinatra does so by giving two concerts at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas on December 31, after which he flies to Palm Springs to attend a party in his honor.

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