Found Performance: Old Blue Eyes

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This is a historical artifact I ran across when researching another article. It goes back 55 years. In 1965, Frank Sinatra, who I thought of back then as an old guy, was 50 years old. His daughter Nancy had an NBC television special coming up (actually it was broadcast in Dec. 1967) called “Movin’ with Nancy.” Her dad was in her show, along with his rat pack buddies Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

“Younger Than Springtime” was a Broadway tune, written by Rodgers & Hammestein, from “South Pacific.”  Showtunes were not my cup of tea, but my mom loved them and she played the “South Pacific” soundtrack all the time. The pet parakeet sang along with it, so that is all quite memorable. Frank had previously recorded music by Rodgers and Hammestein, but not “Springtime” from 1949. When he finally recorded the song, it was for inclusion in “Movin’ with Nancy.” The audio from the recording session only appeared within Nancy’s TV special, on the LP soundtrack that accompanied the special, and on a Frank Sinatra anthology album called “The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings.”

“Movin’ With Nancy” soundtrack album
L-R: Nancy, Billy Strange (guitar), Lee Hazlewood

Nancy also appears in this video. By the time her special was released in 1967, she’d had a string of hits including the giant “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” Lee Hazlewood appears in the video as the record producer. He was instrumental in Nancy’s career — record producer, writing many of her hits and even singing duets with her (“Some Velvet Morning,” “Jackson” and “Strawberry Wine”).

Billy Strange is primary to the recording session, credited with arranging the music and conducting the orchestra. Strange worked with Frank when Blue Eyes owned Reprise Records, but Billy was more closely tied to daughter Nancy and Hazlewood. Most of Frank’s earlier and most famous collaberations were with Nelson Riddle and even Gordon Jenkins and Billy May. You will notice that the orchestra is in the studio playing behind Frank, he’s not accompanying a previously recorded music track. It is my understanding that Frank preferred to record in that traditional manner and did so most, if not all, of his career. Below is a rare performance by one of the true legends of the music industry. You will notice that this man with the multi-million dollar voice was smoking during the session.

Frank Sinatra performing “Younger Than Springtime” Sept. 20, 1965

If you’d like to watch a restored version of the 1967 TV Special “Movin’ With Nancy,” including performances by Nancy Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, Lee Hazlewood, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin CLICK HERE.

 

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Steven L. Smith

Author: Steven L. Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with Puget Sound Media in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions.

14 thoughts on “Found Performance: Old Blue Eyes

    1. Steve,

      That’ll be great, I’ll watch for them.

      We had a handful of Frank’s Columbia 78s at home when I was little, or maybe it was an album. I really liked “Sunday, Monday or Always” and “People Will Say We’re in Love”, sung a cappella due to the AFM ban on recorded music. Choral background was by The Bobby Tucker Singers. I was only about four, but they let me operate our Gilfillan radio-phonograph by myself because I always put the records back in their sleeves and I faithfully changed the needle. Such a good boy!!

      1. Dick,
        Around my house as a kid we had an old mono hi-fi unit that sounded pretty good. My mom was into Mantovani, Showtunes and Bing Crosby and Dean Martin. She did not like Frankie, something to do with a hot temper and having punched out a reporter in his youth. Which, looking back on it, might have not been as shocking as it sounded, probably early paparazzi.

        1. My folks bought a Packard-Bell Hi-Fi in about 1958. It had one very large speaker and a four-speed turntable. I disturbed the neighbors with it.

          Frankie punched out a lot of reporters in those days, sometimes for asking about his alleged mob connections.

  1. Steve ~ Ol’ Francis Albert from Hoboken, New Jersey has always been one of my favorites! You just can’t deny the guy has one helluva great crooner’s voice & can really sell a lyric like nobody else. He’s also been a little lucky to have been associated with some of the all-time great songwriters and arrangers. I probably have more Sinatra albums than any other artist … even though he’s really from my parents’ musical generation. However, I don’t have Frank singing this particular tune. Thanks so much for finding this performance.

  2. Jay….and thank you for your tips on Old Blue Eyes and the recording studio process. My knowledge of Frank began with Strangers in the Night…but since I have studied him a bit and have broader knowledge than just the late sixties. I kick myself. In 1983 my wife and I stayed at the Gold Nugget in Vegas for the NAB. Frank was playing there…in his later years….and we did not check out his show. To me Sinatra is in the ranks with Elvis, the Beatles and Dylan…although I know he and Elvis were not into writing their own material.

  3. Steve ~ Let me assist you with that kick. My wife and I are both regretting the fact that we never saw him in concert. When we knew he was in Lost Wages we didn’t feel we had the resources (at the time) to head down there to see him … but for heaven’s sake you were already in town!

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