SINATRA RAW

30 Jul

SINATRA RAW *****
BY RICHARD SHELTON
PREVIEW AT THE HOSPITAL CLUB
To be seen at Frankenstein’s during the Edinburgh Festival
Sinatra was one of the most popular singers in living memory equalling the popularity of the Beatles and Elvis Presley. He sold more than a hundred and fifty million records in his lifetime.
Richard Shelton has the charm, the voice and the general audience welcoming persona of Sinatra. He also has the knowledge to write this engrossing story of the man’s life. A story that goes underneath the charm and shows the inner personality of an intriguing character. Among many anecdotes, Shelton tells us about how the Rat Pack started with a jokey altercation between him and Dean Martin
He begins with one of his earliest songs ‘ All or Nothing at all’ as he flirts with members of the audience. We are supposed to be at Palm Springs at his final show. His goodbye show. He says ‘1971 doesn’t agree with me. Songs about Lucy and diamonds in the sky? .What does it mean?’
His goodbye didn’t last long , He was back in harness after a couple of years. His biggest success was ‘New York New York in 1980. His voice may have deteriorated slightly but it was his commitment to words and music and his complete involvement in the mood of the songs that the audience loved
This was particularly true of love songs which became his staple diet after his break up with Ava Gardner. Richard shows this deep feeling in songs like ‘I’ve got you Under my skin’ and ‘I’m a fool to want you’ His role of the suffering man was incredibly moving and tears were imminent.
His marriage to Ava caused Sinatra a financial breakdown. But his resurrection came with the film ‘From Here to Eternity’ which won him an Academy Award.
It is probably the political part of the show that is the most memorable. His association with the Sicilian Mafia was inevitable as they mostly owned the venues in which he worked, but it was because of this that he was investigated by the FBI. Although he worked to get Jack Kennedy elected, he was snubbed by the Kennedys’ because of his mafia connections. They preferred the company of Bing Crosby – a Republican. His hatred of the Kennedy’s extended to his ex-friend and Rat Pack member, Peter Lawford who was married to one of the Kennedys.
A fiery personality, he had altercations with The Press, with Tommy Dorsey and many others. And once he was hurt, he never forgave. He was able to overcome his hurt, but his anger against those who upset him never subsided.
Nevertheless ‘That’s Life’ He sings and asks for suggestions from the audience.
Inevitably they are ‘Set Em Up Joe’, ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ and of course, what has become his signature song.

‘I DID IT MY WAY’

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