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Rick Michel's Blog

2015 and Frank Sinatra in Literature

Even today, more than sixteen years after his death, Frank Sinatra represents a lot of things to a lot of people, which is witnessed by the references to him in the media, songs, movies, television shows and essentially all aspects of popular culture. Of course, while “The Voice” made no claims to be a writer, his presence cannot be ignored in literature, both current and not.

Just recently, while revisiting an award winning 1971 science fiction novel called “The Lathe of Heaven,” my eyes fell upon a couple of lines that read, “I’d offer you a shot of whiskey. But we’d better not turn a therapy session into a wing-ding, eh?” and I thought, “Whiskey and wing-ding in the same sentence, that’s a Sinatra reference!” Merriam-Webster states the first known use of “wing-ding” as a “wild, lively or lavish party” was in 1944 and since then the phrase and Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack became inseparable.

Love it or hate it, the sensation that has become “Fifty Shades of Grey” relies upon sexy, cool, distinguished, and timeless music to set the different scenes in its book, even producing a sizzling soundtrack for the novel that includes, naturally, Frank’s version of “Witchcraft.” Much like Sinatra was able to do using his voice, E. L. James formulated the perfect recipe for seduction that is continuing with the release of the feature movie on Valentine’s Day of this year and I hope the producers will be smart enough to follow James’ lead when selecting its tunes.

For Irish journalist, producer, teacher and writer Nuala O’Faolain, Frank Sinatra played a big part in her life. Her turbulent childhood set the stage for the rest of this brilliant thinker’s life and in her “accidental memoir,” “Are You Somebody,” O’Faolain sets scenes with songs such as “Stranger in the Night.” On the radio show, “The Next Big Thing” she reminisced about the time she bought a concert ticket for her fifty-year-old sister to see Frank Sinatra in Dublin and the sister stood in the back rows shouting, “We love you, Frankie, and we always loved you!”

She went on to state, “You have no idea what that man meant to us in a small town in Ireland in the ‘50s … [Frank was] the absolute ultimate in sophistication and desirability.” And to show how important he was in their Irish household she said, “He was, in fact, the only person in our family that was liked by all of us, loved by all of us. … all of us agreed on the perfection of Frances Albert.”

We are entering 2015, the year that marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Frank Sinatra, so visit the site of my newest Las Vegas show, Frank … A Musical Journey and see just how important this year will be for myself and all of his fans. I wish it to be a real wing-ding of a year for us all.