Mark Steyn is celebrating Frank Sinatra's 90th birthday.
We broke out the holiday music while we trimmed the tree and decorated the house last night. We have a stack of albums that seems to grow every year. I really like the instrumental and choral record by the Philadelphia Philharmonic, and I grew up with the Temptations, Give Love at Christmas. We have one of those Christmas with guitar albums that is great to work to. And, of course, it is harder to do better than Bing Crosby at Christmas time.
That said, Sinatra brings something different to the classics. Not different as in he has his own schtick--like Neil Diamond, who is entertaining because he often goes over the top with the lounge singer bit (you must hear Neil sing Adeste Fideles to understand). For Sinatra, different means something extra. Our Sinatra Christmas CD is a poor recording of an old album, so it sounds like you are listening to a record being played on the speakers of a 1950s department store. It's lovely; Sinatra's voice comes through just fine.
In this collection of essays, Douglas Brinkley says that on D-Day a group of soldiers used as a code phrase “Who’s the great American singer?” The correct reply was “Frank Sinatra.” Steyn's little article explains why about as well as anything I've read.