Half a century is a big milestone and many are ready to have a party to celebrate their accomplishments and begin to look toward retirement believing the best is behind them. Sinatra had the party, but there was no evidence to suggest he was thinking about slowing down. In fact, Billboard suggested that he had reached the “peak of his eminence,” which may have had some degree of accuracy given that 1965 saw Sinatra win Grammy Awards for album of the year and best vocal performance, male in addition to releasing “A Man and His Music,” which would win album of the year at the next Grammys.
In celebration of his birthday, Walter Cronkite did a CBS news special and NBC broadcast a one hour television special called Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music, which won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Program and was so successful The Voice followed them up with sequels in ’66 and ’67.
The biggest party came, suitably, on his December 12th birthday when his ex-wife Nancy threw him a lavish affair with all of Hollywood attending to show their love for The Chairman of the Board. The night featured performances by Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, and his daughters, Nancy Jr. and Tina.
Sinatra’s not here in the flesh to look at all the festivities surrounding his 100th year, but there’s a pretty good chance he’s watching somewhere, raising a glass of Jack Daniels in salute to this very good year.