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“CYCLES” (1968)

By Mahnuel Muñoz

On December 24, 1968, the LP “Cycles” was released, an album in which Frank Sinatra and arranger Don Costa presented their vision of some pop songs of the moment. It is an album that only reached 18 on the charts in the United States, and today only known by the singer’s great fans…and one of those examples of work embellished over the years.

The prestigious Will Friedwald, a true authority on Sinatric matters and author of the essential book “Sinatra!: The Song Is You. A Singer’s Art” does not exactly feel affection for this album. In the aforementioned book he mocks the cover and says that the title should have been “The Bland Sinatra” or “Something Even More Stupid“, paraphrasing the title of the famous song. And many more niceties…

I won’t say that “Cycles” is a classic of popular music, much less that it is a Sinatra essential, but it is by no means a work worthy of Friedwald’s jokes and, in fact, I think that time has lovingly polished this album, revealing the always hidden, surprising and exciting layers in any piece of music signed by The Voice.


Cycles” shows us Sinatra as an unusual folk-rock performer, wild at times, touching and honest at others; I can’t get used to his version of “From Both Sides Now“, after spending my entire life listening to versions by Joni Mitchell or Pete Seeger, nor to his slight revision of “Gentle On My Mind” – here the Elvis version takes my palm-but his emotional interpretations of “Little Green Apples” or “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” disarm me, as always when Frank stops playing the macho and recognizes that men cry too.

But it is above all the title song that makes the album worth picking up; In it, Frank recognizes that he is involved in the relentless cycles of life, which take you from glory to misery without interruption. The despondency in the voice and the interpretation indicate to us that there is an intimate and painful truth under each verse. Sinatra feels the weight of the years and a decade full of intense personal events that sapped his energy.

At this time he was already thinking about retiring, tired of controversies, of not understanding the changing world that arises around him, erasing all traces of the one in which he was the undisputed Boss, of not finding a love that would appease him, …tired, perhaps , of himself. “Cycles” is fundamental to understanding a crucial moment in the life and career of Frank Sinatra, a time in which the generation gap could very well have engulfed him without remission. The years of Capitol Records and even the days of glory and madness of the “Rat Pack” were far away. Fortunately, a final and splendid stage was waiting around the corner. A week after the release of “Cycles,” Frank Sinatra is in the recording studio immortalizing “My Way.”


“Rain in My Heart” (Teddy Randazzo, Victoria Pike) – 3:20
“From Both Sides, Now” (Joni Mitchell) – 2:55
“Little Green Apples” (Bobby Russell) – 5:00
“Pretty Colors” (Al Gorgoni, Chip Taylor) – 2:35
“Cycles” (Gayle Caldwell) – 3:07
“Wandering” (Caldwell) – 2:45
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (Jimmy Webb) – 3:55
“Moody River” (Gary D. Bruce) – 2:33
“My Way of Life” (Bert Kaempfert, Herb Rehbein, Carl Sigman) – 3:05
“Gentle On My Mind” (John Hartford) – 3:25

Access the Complete Discography of Frank Sinatra in the following link of Sinatra Radio 24h

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