Saturday, February 8, 2014

Frank, Dean and Sammy • Pack Mentality

Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, and Frank Sinatra photo rat-pack-1496218_zpsd8a5989e.jpeg
Left to right: Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra.

While this didn't start out to be a Rat Pack post, it just ended up that way. Once you have Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on the list, how can you not bring Sammy Davis, Jr. to the party as well? I couldn't figure out a way, but realized I would just be foolish to do it. So I offer you the man, the main members of the famed Rat Pack, singing some iconic songs, great representatives of the Great American Songbook.

Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, and Frank Sinatra photo TheRatPack_500_zpsf5cb6971.jpg
Left to right: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

I thought there is no way better to start out this post than with a legend singing a great song written by the amazing Cole Porter. In 1943, the movie 'Reveille With Beverly' featured a performance by a young man named Frank Sinatra, who was introduced in the film by a young Ann Miller. The song was written a decade earlier for the musical 'The Gay Divorcee', and sung by Fred Astaire. Here is a clip from the film, with Frank Sinatra singing the classic "Night and Day".

The next great song is from the musical 'The Pajama Game', written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. "Hey There" was introduced by John Raitt in the original Broadway production, but the song is best known from the recording by Rosemary Clooney, which went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1954. About the same time, the song was recorded by Sammy Davis, Jr., and his version of the song went to #16 on the Billboard chart. The song showed the strength of Sammy's voice, and it is easy to see why it was a hit for both artists. This is Sammy Davis Jr. singing "Hey There" on 'The Colgate Summer Comedy Hour'.

Our next song was first known as "Nel blu dipinto di blu", the English translation "In the Sky, Painted Blue". But it is better known by another name, "Volare". Translated to English as "To Fly", the song was written by Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno, and released in 1958 by Modugno. His version went to #1 on the charts all over the world, and soo the song was being covered by many. That would included the third member of the Rat Pack, Dean Martin. I remember hearing Martin's cover playing in my house growing up, my mother was a big fan of Dean's music. This is Dean Martin singing "Volare".

Our final song was written by lyricist Billy Rose was and composer Dave Dreyer, although it also listed Al Jolson in the credits. Rose was the third husband of the great Fanny Brice, and it was said the 'shadow' in the song was Nicky Arnstein, Brice's second husband. The song is "Me and My Shadow", was a huge hit for Jolson in 1927, and quickly became a classic. I was thrilled to find this clip of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. performing the song together live. This is Frank and Sammy with the classic "Me and My Shadow".

Have a great weekend!

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