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When Randy met Frankie

By Mahnuel Muñoz

Speaking to “Uncut” magazine in 2019, singer-songwriter Randy Newman (1943) recalled that he once had the opportunity to work with Frank Sinatra. Supposedly, the timeless, laid-back qualities of Newman’s music could endear him to icons on both sides of the counterculture revolution.

“I thought it would be cool if Frank recorded ‘Lonely At The Top,'” Newman said. “It was pure Sinatra, it would fit in with the whole leaning on a streetlight and being very miserable thing.”

The song, included on the 1972 album “Sail Away”, talks about how lonely he is at the top and has a vaudeville style very suitable for Frank. By the way, Randy also said that he wrote the song “Sail Away” with Sinatra in mind. In my opinion it is not a suitable topic for the Voice.

Unfortunately, the song “didn’t exactly work” with Sinatra. “He never told us that he hated us, but I got the distinct impression that he didn’t much like the next generation, the Beatles onwards,” noted Newman. However, it is well known that Frank was interested in the work of Joe Raposo, Neil Sedaka, Eric Carmen, Barry Manilow and Elton John, among others. and he sang several songs by said composers.

In a moment that remained in Newman’s memory, Old Man Blue Eyes requested a specific song. “He asked me to play ‘I Think It’s Gonna Rain [Today]’ and he liked it.”

Returning to his assessment of Sinatra’s character, Newman recalled that the singer’s slight haughtiness seemed to be a symptom of insecurity. “It was strange how insecure I was, looking at my manuscripts, pretending I knew how to read music, talking about minor key this and major chord that,” he reflected. “And he showed us his private plane, which was extraordinary.”

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