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By Mahnuel Muñoz

On April 11, 1966, Frank Sinatra was in the United Recorders studios working with bandleader Donnie Lanier on a song arranged by Ernie Freeman. It was the first recording session of the year and his first in four months. He had been recording songs for almost thirty years, and at this point there was more than a thousand that have been immortalized in his voice. Probably, he no longer had serious intentions of crowning the lists again.

This session was dedicated exclusively to a song, “Strangers In The Night”, with music by Bert Kaempfert and lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder, which was going to be used in an instrumental version under the name “Beddy Bye” for the credits of the film “A Man Could Get Killed” by James Garner.


Producer Jimmy Bowen saw the possibilities of making it a hit and wanted to record it with Frank.
For the session they called the prestigious drummer Hal Blaine and none other than Glenn Campbell on rhythm guitar.

In Bowen’s autobiography, he tells how Frank had trouble making the semitone note change when he got to the “Strangers In The Night, two lonely people” part. He finally solved the matter by cutting the recording just before reaching that part and, after giving Frank the tone with a bell, resuming it until the end.

Bowen immediately edited the song and sent it to radio stations. He had heard that singer Jack Jones had already recorded it, and it was crucial to be the first to achieve success. Frank’s version won the race and eternity.

“Strangers In The Night” was Sinatra’s first number one single in eleven years, and managed to take the top spot in the United States from the Beatles for a week. In the United Kingdom it was at the top for three weeks.

The success brought with it controversy about the authorship of the song; jazz pianist (and cigar maker) Avo Ubezian claimed to have written the song for Frank with the title “Broken Guitar”; Also the Croatian singer Ivo Robić, the French author Philip Gerard and the musical composer Ralph Chicorel claimed full or partial authorship of the song.

But Frank always hated the song. In fact, the “ooby-dooby-doo” of the coda is an in situ mockery by the singer towards what he considered a vulgar melody. Every time he sang it live he took the opportunity to attack the song one way or another, which made his audience laugh, but on the other hand greatly enjoyed every time the song was played. But even in the joke, Frank Sinatra made art; In 1969, while on a business flight, the “ooby-dooby-doo” from “Strangers In The Night” inspired CBS executive Fred Silverman to name one of the most famous dogs in cartoons: Scooby-Doo. .

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