On Thursday, it will be ten years since Frank Sinatra died, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t making a comeback:
A new era is beginning in the career of Frank Sinatra even if the Chairman of the Board isn’t here to participate.
The iconic singer died May 14, 1998, and the 10th anniversary is being marked with a flurry of activity, including a new U.S. postage stamp with his likeness, lavish new CD and DVD collections, a major revival of his films on television and high-profile media appearances by his children.
This surge in all things Sinatra is more than just a fleeting commemoration, however — it’s more like the beginning of a corporate brand roll-out.
What Sinatra offers to any venture is that most elusive of auras: eternal cool. Like Elvis Presley, James Dean or Marilyn Monroe, Sinatra’s image has compass-point clarity in pop culture despite the passage of time. For advertisers, he could be an especially potent signifier of sophisticated standards and rakish elegance, and Warner executives sound like gamblers with winning hands when they talk about it.
“There’s a famous old saying that, ‘It’s Frank Sinatra’s world, we just live in it,’ and that’s kind of how we feel around here now,” said Jimmy Edwards, one of the executives at Warner’s Rhino Records who will be leading the day-to-day operations of Frank Sinatra Enterprises LLC. “Frank opens the door to a very exclusive club. . . . He crosses so many zones too; he’s working-class, but he also runs around with the country-club set.”
And it seems to be stronger than ever, even without Sinatra around.
Interestingly enough, he apparently had doubt about how long his legacy would last:
After decades in the spotlight, Frank Sinatra performed in front of a live audience for the last time in February 1995. The final song was “The Best Is Yet to Come,” but his health made a liar of the lyrics. Two years later, his body giving out, he sent daughter Nancy to accept a Congressional Gold Medal in his name.
In his final months, staring into the twilight, the music titan wondered how he would be remembered. During one late-night conversation, Tina Sinatra remembered, he said his legacy might be as fragile as vintage vinyl.
“He said he thought it depended on who held him close to their heart in their record collection and if they’d pass it all on,” she recalled. “He wasn’t certain. There was no arrogance. There was doubt in his voice.”
This month, Sinatra’s voice will be everywhere and his legacy difficult to ignore.
Appropriately so, I would say.
I’m sure there will be more over the next several days, but let’s start out with the music:
H/T: The Moderate Voice