Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Music on My Mind

Frank Sinatra, "Fly Me to the Moon". December 12 was the 100th anniversary of Sinatra's birthday, which is why it's been on my mind; this happens to be one of my favorite Sinatra tunes. The song itself predates Sinatra; written in the 1950s, it was originally called "In Other Words". It was a commonly used jazz and cabaret theme, but its popularity began to skyrocket with the version by Peggy Lee in 1960. (Here it is sung by Peggy Lee in 1984, while she was in her sixties.) Joe Harnell's bossa nova version made it an instrumental favorite (and won a Grammy). But Sinatra's 1964 version has become the standard. Part of it is quality -- Sinatra's no slouch, and the accompaniment's by Count Basie -- but to a great extent it's a matter of timing. It was the version used by the Apollo program, the one played in orbit around the moon by Apollo 10 and played on the moon by Apollo 11. It was the version for the days when we were actually flying to the moon.

Sinatra and Lee are both hard versions to beat, but there are times when I like Olivia Ong's very, very laid back version best.

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