Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.
A picture of an adorable vintage Christmas figurine found on Pinterest. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Today we honor the legendary entertainer who put New Jersey on the world’s musical map nearly 60 years before Bruce Springsteen’s “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.” reaffirmed the state’s place of honor. Francis Albert Sinatra was born December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, NJ. His career as a vocalist began when he was a teenager but his first album was not released until 1946. Five years earlier he made his film debut as a big band singer in 1941’s Las Vegas Nights. He went from being the heart’s desire of bobby soxers across the country to becoming a member of The Rat Pack, “The Chairman Of The Board” and “Ol’ Blue Eyes” in a career that spanned over five decades before his death in 1998.
For my maternal grandmother Sinatra was all those things and the definition of Christmas. Every December of my young childhood, his Christmas music began the festive season. It was as comforting to me as the smell of the real tree she had in her apartment every year. She listened to other Italian singers each holiday season as well (most notably fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin), but Frank was the one who started all the fun. My grandmother’s collection incliuded his first holiday album, “Christmas Songs by Sinatra” from 1946, his second one, “A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra” from 1957 and the one he made with his three children, “The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas” from 1968.
Today’s song is from his second holiday record and has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. Sinatra helped write this track as well and it is one of the few songs that is not played to death each December. On the contrary, it is not played nearly enough.
“Then comes that big night
Giving the tree the trim
You’ll hear voices by starlight
Singing a yuletide hymn“.
Top: Sinatra’s 1957 Christmas album. Bottom: The Chairman Of The Board in the recording studio circa 1960. (Images found online. Original sources unknown.)
Frank Sinatra: “Mistletoe and Holly” (1957, written by Hank Sanicola, Frank Sinatra and Dok Stanford).
What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?
Until next time, happy listening!!!