December 11, 2015
Continuing our look at all things curious, this week we uncover an album that many of Frank Sinatra’s fans would rather forget in the week of what would have been his 100th birthday (it's tomorrow!)
Frank Sinatra is rightfully known as one of the finest singers of his age, crooning classic hits like New York, New York and My Way en route to amassing record sales of 150 million worldwide. Woah! He recorded sixty albums, starred in almost as many films and recently had a West End musical. It’s fair to say that the boy done good. But what about his curious 1980s oddity, Trilogy: Past Present Future?
We wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t heard of it. The first two discs are largely rehashes of previous Sinatra work or other covers which whilst okay, didn’t exactly make the release a must buy. More interesting however is the third part of the recording, Future, a space-age themed album that makes zero sense on pretty much every level. Leading to calls from radio DJ Jonathan Schwartz that it was ‘narcissistic’ and ‘a shocking embarrassment’ (that led Sinatra to ring and complain, resulting in the DJ’s suspension), it appears that Schwartz has been vindicated over the years as Sinatra fans largely ignore this piece of music as a blip in Frank’s discography.
Beginning with the immortal lines, ‘My name is Francis Albert [Francis Albert Sinatra] and I sing love songs mostly after dark, mostly in salons, I’ve had some very good years...’, What Time Does the Next Miracle Leave? is fascinating due to its strange orchestral space theme, ten minute running time and continuing journey through the solar system as Frank ponders visiting each planet in turn. No, really. Have a listen below. Oh and if you’re wondering, the wonderfully titled follow-up track World War None! isn’t much better...
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By Henry Fosdike