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About the Author

Includes the name: Will Friedwald

Image credit: Why I Write: Will Friedwald

Obras por Will Friedwald

Associated Works


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
music critic
The Wall Street Journal



Entertaining and a lead to a lot of great music.
markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
Rather than a straightforward biography, which in the case of Francis Albert Sinatra would include a lot of drama and scandal, Sinatra! The Song is You : A Singer's Art focus on Sinatra as a singer. Because of the musicological approach, I found the book challenging to read - and indeed have been reading it on and off for 4 months - but nevertheless still enjoyed it.

Friedwald has an encyclopedic knowledge of seemingly every song in Sinatra's discography, including rare recordings only made for the military in WWII and recordings from Sinatra's radio programs. He discusses the creation, innovations, and effects of Sinatra's music in a largely chronological order. The book is arranged in era's of Sinatra's career mainly based on collaborations with others like bandleaders Tommy Dorsey and Axel Stordahl and arrangers Nelson Riddle, Billy May, and Gordon Jenkins.

The book discusses Sinatra's role in performing the types of songs of that became known as "standards" and the singers role as interpreter (not to mention the challenges Sinatra faced when the music business shifted to a model where songs were "covered" rather than interpreted). Sinatra lead the shift in prominence of bandleaders to singers during WWII and achieved unprecedented stardom. But Sinatra's real strength was reinventing himself consistently so that he could be a hitmaker over six decades.

I found this a unique and informative book. If you're interested in the work of Sinatra, or in musicology in general, I recommend it.

Favorite Passages:
"Sinatra, on the other hand, positively celebrates his unhappiness. It seems totally typical of Sinatra that he recorded a song called “Winners,” which is dark and somber, highly depressing. The flip side of this is "Here's to the Losers," which is joyful and upbeat ... The implication is that winning is something to be taken seriously, something that carries with it grave responsibility; but losing is something you can have fun with. The real joy in life is in losing."

Where other singers, at best, work with lyrics and melodies, Sinatra dealt in mental images and pure feelings that he seemed to summon up almost without the intervention of composers, arrangers, and musicians as vital as their contributions were. (In fact, Sinatra was so sure of his relationship with his audience that he gladly acknowledged orchestrators and songwriters in spoken introductions to each number. How could it take away from what he did to mention the men who put notes and words on paper when it was he who imbued them with all their meaning?)
… (mais)
Othemts | 1 outra crítica | Nov 13, 2021 |
This 527 page (not counting notes or index) book focuses more on the music of Nat King Cole with just a small amount of biographical information spread throughout. The author is thorough in examining Cole's music, his contribution to jazz and popular music, and how Cole's contributions influenced many other artists. I was familiar with Cole's piano career and still consider him one of the best jazz pianists ever. He also had one of the smoothest voices of any singer with precise pronunciation that no one else comes close to. I would have rated the book five stars except for two things: 1) There is no discography. While the author covers each album or single and lets us know when it was recorded and for albums, what is on them, I would have liked to have seen this in list format for each album, the track listings, the date issued, and also, if it is still available on cd; and 2) as with so many biographers, there was no follow-up to let us know what happened to his wife Maria, his first wife Nadine, his children - including adopted children Cookie and Nat Kelly as well as the twins and even a follow-up on Natalie.… (mais)
knahs | Jun 1, 2021 |
Being a chronological listing of Warner Brothers cartoons from the Golden and Silver ages, surely America's favorite cartoons at this point. This book was long-needed and its only flaws are that it could be easier to use and could use a little more critical voice. Cartoons are very difficult to remember by title, so it takes a while to find a cartoon unless you're watching it at the time; a wider variety of thematic approaches could make this easier. The author also could be clearer and provide more detail about the studio's slow descent into limited animation through the fifties and sixties.… (mais)
1 vote
Big_Bang_Gorilla | May 1, 2011 |


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