I was on Facebook playing Song Pop – you need to be careful with these online games, they can become addictive and lead to a real reduction in productivity, but since it’s music related, I can call it research – and I saw the “free” playlist for the week featured the heavy metal band Disturbed, but it was the logo beside the band name that caught my attention, it said “Sponsored by Reprise Records,” and that immediately made me smile as I realized the often-unlikely connection between so many artists today and Frank Sinatra.
Business tends to breed the possibility of exploitation and the recording industry is no exception, so Frank founded Reprise in 1960 because he wasn’t happy with the artistic freedom he had with Capitol, recruiting such names as fellow Rat Packers Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., along with his daughter Nancy, Bing Crosby, Jo Stafford, and comedian Redd Foxx. It was this venture that garnered him the nickname, The Chairman of the Board.
In the early 1960s, with his musical and big screen success, Sinatra was the dominant figure in the entertainment field, so his acknowledgement that change was needed made a real statement to the world and helped the rights of musicians today. After only a few years, Ol’ Blue Eyes would sell the label to Warner Bros. Records, but Reprise was the catalyst for more rights for artists.
Reprise would land such names as Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Richard Pryor, Fleetwood Mac, and the Beach Boys, just to name a few. You’ll currently find artists such as Green Day, Michael Buble, Eric Clapton, Josh Groban, and Depeche Mode.
Sinatra has always been someone to take action when he sensed inequality, and that alone makes me proud to be able to pay him homage, so have fun as his 100th birthday celebrations continue and if you’re in Costa Rica the 17th or 18th of September, I’ll be performing Sinatra Forever at the Costa Rica Country Club.