Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day with The Rat Pack

The Rat Pack photo rat-pack_zpsabd4792f.jpg
Left to right: Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr, and Frank Sinatra.

As this is Father's Day Weekend, I tried to think of a way to give a tip of the hat to all the men out there who helped raise their kids. While I was pondering that, the Rat Pack came to mind, and I decided to go with it. For those who may not know, officially, The Rat Pack was made up by Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. They often traveled and performed as a group, causing great joy whenever they got together. The group formed in the mid-1950s, but the name didn't really catch on at first, until after the passing of Bogart in 1957. In truth, it was in the 1960s when the group really become popular, especially in Las Vegas when the trio of Sinatra, Davis, and Martin would pack in the crowds for their performances. They became known for their loose style. I will begin with the 'Chairman of the Board'. I love listening to Frank Sinatra sing his many hits, and "Fly Me To The Moon", written in 1954 by Bart Howard, was definitely one of them. While it was sung by many, it is Sinatra's version that is mostly remembered.

I remember growing up and my parents watching 'The Dean Martin Show', and seeing him on this show, and never seeming to be without a drink and a cigarette in his hand. I instantly get a warm feeling when I hear his voice, especially when he is singing. In 1965, Dean had a bit hit with a song written by Russ Morgan, Larry Stock, and James Cavanaugh. Sometimes, it feels as though "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You" was written for Martin, but it wasn't. His version, some 20 years after the song was written, went to #24 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the adult contemporary chart.

I remember seeing Sammy Davis, Jr. appearing on many variety shows, from Dean's show, to 'The Mike Douglas Show'. My mother loved watching those progams, and I can remember seeing one of the few black men I remember seeing regularly performing. Sammy's easy style, never seeming to be trying too hard, but never short-changing the people in the audience, was hard not to love. I hope you enjoy as Sammy sings "That Old Black Magic", the classic song written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer.

And, finally,I thought I would bring them all together for you, and you alone. In the next clip, Sammy, Frank, and Dean singing "Birth of the Blues". The song had music by Ray Henderson, the lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva and Lew Brown. It was nominated fro an Academy Award for the 1941 debut in 'Birth of the Blues', a film starring Bing Crosby 15 years after the song was first published. The Rat Pack made it famous all over again when they started to perform it in the 1960s. In the following clip, the boys were joined on stage by a very young Johnny Carson.

To have some of the best of the music of these legendary friends, you can purchase 'The Very Best of The Rat Pack' from iTunes and Amazon. Individually, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr., were very gifted performers, But collectively, they inspired one another to be even better. I hope they have reunited up in heaven, and are singing to all the fathers there this weekend!

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