Sunday, May 02, 2010


These videos are amazingly typical of the 60's. But being so overwhelmingly representative of an era, with all the humor that attaches to that, causes us to overlook the voice. It's a very pretty voice. Frank was known for his ability to interpret a song and impose a style on it. Nancy seems to have gotten none of that. But the limited range of "Boots," "Jackson," and "Something Stupid" - her bigger hits - fool us into thinking she really couldn't sing. The cool people rather looked down on her as some party-crasher during the British Invasion. (I mean, her hair wasn't even completely straight, so you know that she didn't quite get it as to coolness.) I scoffed, because who knows more about cool than a fourteen-year-old, right?

Nice alto voice. Not dramatic or moving, but better than she was given credit for. Just one more place I was wrong. Stick around for the choreography on this next one, completely at odds with the tone of the song or it's purpose in "Oliver.". Such crazy injections of that "opening at the Copa!" style into anything on TV were going on at the same time as Jefferson Airplane and all those significant folksingers were coming along, so you might get some idea how a 60's music culture war playing out in the strangest ways.

These dancers trying to work together on a number with Jefferson Airplane. Now that would have been even weirder. To the big-time arrangers and producers in the 60's This is how it's done. What do those kids know?

The conflict - with a clear indication of who won - was never summarised better than here.


Paul_In_Houston said...

There are some ways of doing things (Stephen King's writing, when in "natural" mode -- The Mist for example ["This is what happened."], Fred Astaire's dancing, James Garner's acting) that are so relaxed and effortless they make it look as if anyone could do it, -- until they try.

Frank Sinatra's singing falls into that category.


Gringo said...

Not a bad voice at all. Wikipedia says that she turns 70 on June 8. Time flies, for us all.IMHO, Nancy has a better voice than her brother Frank Sinatra Jr., at least in listening to him sing "Love for Sale." Frank Jr. took the wise path in abandoning a singing career to become a musical arranger for his father.

While it can be a burden being the offspring of someone famous, at least some money is usually passed on in the process.

Anonymous said...

I think you essays would be better if you wrote more and left less to the readers' knowledge.

I liked Nancy Sinatra, though I'd never seen "Who Will Buy" -- a dreadful video with an inappropriate middle with lots of adequate dancing. Reminds me of many, many modern music videos.

"The conflict - with a clear indication of who won - was never summarised better than here."

What does this mean? I watched the clip. It wasn't funny, though Murphy and Piscopo were good.

CAPTCHA: gablyzin, an amino acid found only in carbonaceous meteorites.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Anon, that's a fair cop. Considering your observation that it wasn't just obvious to you who had won caused me some reflection. When SNL did this routine in the 80's, Sinatra is clearly an object of scorn, while Wonder is the wiser, cooler one. Boomers were blood-drinking vicious in every cultural battle they won. At that point in time, and for a decade or so after, we were sure we had firmly established ourselves as the cool kids and the generation before was risible.

Yet I'll bet Sinatra, who had some staying power through it all, is more popular now than Stevie Wonder, whose reputation seems locked in the 80's. At the time, Sinatra was the apotheosis of highly-arranged music from 1945-65, which we felt we had put down for good.

As with so many political and social ideas, we expressed our purported superiority not by making any positive case, but by ridiculing our opponents mercilessly.