Friday, 07 August 2015

Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All

Charting the meteoric rise of a legendary entertainer

Written by Ben Felsenburg
Ben-Felsenburg-colour-176There was once a small boy who would sing at a bar in New Jersey called Marty O’Brien’s that was run by his father, who, though Sicilian-born, chose an Irish moniker, all the better to drum up business in those unenlightened times. This was during the Depression, when every red cent counted.

Looking back from 60 years on, the man the boy grew up to be recalled how his efforts were eventually rewarded: ‘One day I got a nickel or a dime or whatever it was. And I said, “That is the racket. This is what I got to try doing.”’

What a racket: for so was forged the career of the handsdown greatest popular singer of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra, who would transcend Hollywood and passing fashion, and with inimitable phrasing nail every one of an immortal body of songs that he has forever made his own.

This year, in case you hadn’t noticed, is the centenary of his birth, and Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All (Friday, BBC Four, 9pm) tells the story of his extraordinary, far-stranger-thanfiction life. In the first chapter, Sinatra hurtles from humdrum Hoboken to the high life in Manhattan in almost no time.

What’s striking at this distance is how his sudden stratospheric fame was every bit the equal of what was to come with rock ’n’ roll. Those bobbysoxers were something else: did Elvis ever have to contend with anything like the Sighing Society of Swooning Sinatra Slaves?

NOT TO BE MISSED
TV-Aug07-NotToBeMissed-590

RICK STEIN: From Venice To Istanbul, Fri, BBC2, 9.30pm
Starting in the magical city of Venice, Stein embarks on a culinary exploration of the former Byzantine Empire.

WALKING THROUGH HISTORY: King John’s Ruin – Peak District, Sat, C4, 8pm
Tony Robinson hikes through Sherwood Forest to shed light on John’s disastrous reign.

NICOLA BENEDETTI PLAYS KORNGOLD, Thurs, BBC4, 7.30pm
The superstar violinist plays Korngold’s intoxicating Violin Concerto at the Albert Hall.


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