Well, it’s official, Ol’ Blue Eyes, born December 12th, 1915 right over in Hoboken, would have been 100 today… So chances are at some point today you’ll pull “Witchcraft” or “My Way” up on your iPod for a few celebratory moments of remembrance, but there’s also a good chance that, if you’re anything like me, you’ll wish that you actually knew a little something about the elegant outlaw legend, aside from the fact that he was a massive influence on Morrissey and Axl Rose… talents and temperaments alike…
Well, last month Eagle Rock Entertainment released the mammoth 2-part, 4-hour documentary Sinatra: All or Nothing, which premiered on HBO earlier this year and which is, to be honest, actually pretty good (Even for a modest fan… Seriously, I’ve watched it 3 times now.) The film is framed by footage from his 1971 “Retirement” concert, in which he tells the story of his life through his eleven dearest songs. This footage (which is actually minimal) is intercut with a ten-ton-truck’s-worth of archival footage and interviews with friends and family.
And while All or Nothing At All does include examinations of things like his film career and his Vegas years, which… well, aren’t terribly cool… and it doesn’t project him as quite the colourful subject of Gay Talese’s “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” but it does paint a far more romantic portrait of the life of the artist: from his time growing up in slum neighborhoods of mixed minority cultures, to being a teen heartthrob, to, most interestingly, being the ultimate icon of both the music and masculinity of a bygone era (He was, after all, thriving in the era of Rock’N’Roll…) But perhaps the coolest thing we realize about Sinatra (which we’ve recently realized of Morrissey as well), is that his coolness factor actually only increased with age, a feat which I suspect only a handful have accomplished since the emergence of teenage culture.