Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra: “I’ll Be Seeing You” (1944)

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

This was one of the biggest, if not the biggest hit of The War. The reason is easy enough—it’s a heartbreaker, and the singer’s attempt to keep a stiff upper lip and look at the bright side, makes it all the more heartbreaking. It was actually written three years before the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that brought us into the war. Thus, the song’s meaning completely changed, from a torch song of a lover who’s gone or died, to a song sung by a girl missing her fella, who’s gone off to war, or by a fella, who’s gone, about the girl he left behind.

In 1992, when World War II Navy (non-combat) veteran Johnny Carson was retiring after 29-and-a-half years as host of The Tonight Show, during his last week on the air he had all of the living guests from his opening night, in 1962, on to say goodbye. That roster included WWII Army combat veterans Tony Bennett and Mel Brooks (both born in 1926, and both still alive). If memory serves, “I’ll Be Seeing You” was Johnny’s favorite song. Bennett, who in 1962 had sung the then-new ballad that would become his musical signature, “San Francisco,” sang “I’ll Be Seeing You” as a musical farewell.

To get back to Sinatra, he tried repeatedly to enlist, but was always turned down. Frank Sinatra’s birth was so difficult, that the doctor (midwife?) declared him still-born. The story I read was that his grandmother (in some tellings his aunt), however, refused to accept the bad news, and doused the lifeless newborn with cold water, until he started to breath, and wailed with life.

The doctor had used a forceps to drag the failing baby out of his mother, which left him with a scar on one cheek, and a punctured ear drum. The greatest singer in the history of recorded music had a punctured eardrum! However, what was acceptable to Columbia Records was unacceptable to the U.S. Army, and Francis Albert Sinatra was thus marked “4-F,” unfit for service.

(Perhaps the only thing this writer has in common with Sinatra is that I too was marked 4-F when I sought to volunteer for the Regular Army a few moons ago, at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn.)

I’ll Be Seeing You (1938)
Music by Sammy Fain
Words by Irving Kahal

I'll be seeing you,
In all the old, familiar places,
That this heart of mine embraces,
All day through.

In that small café,
The park across the way,
The children's carousel,
The chestnut tree,
The wishing well.

I'll be seeing you,
In every lovely, summer's day,
And everything that's bright and gay,
I'll always think of you that way.

I'll find you in the morning sun,
And when the night is new,
I'll be looking at the moon,
But I'll be seeing you.


[Previously, in this series:

“Frank Sinatra: My Shining Hour (Video, from Trilogy: Past Present Future)”;

“Hear Frank Sinatra Sing Arlen & Mercer’s Come Rain or Shine”;

“Hear Frank Sinatra Sing the Quintessential Version of Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer’s ‘One for My Baby (and One More, for the Road)’”;

“Hear Frank Sinatra Sing the Classic Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer Torch Song, ‘Blues in the Night’”;

“Frank Sinatra: Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s Stormy Weather (Video)”;

“Frank Sinatra Live! Medley of The Gal That Got Away and It Never Entered My Mind, Performed in 1980 at Carnegie Hall (Great Quality Video of a Grand Performance!)”;

“Frank Sinatra: Here's That Rainy Day (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke)”;

“Frank Sinatra’s Revelatory, 1962 Performance of Kern and Fields’ The Way You Look Tonight”;

“Paul Robeson?! Hear Frank Sinatra Give the Definitive Interpretation of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Ol’ Man River (1963)”;

“The Greatest Song Ever Written? Hear Frank Sinatra Sing Rodgers & Hammerstein's Soliloquy”;

“Hear Frank Sinatra Sing the Real ‘New York, New York,’ by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green, from On the Town (1944/1949)”;

“The Swingingest Record You’ll Ever Hear! Fly Me to the Moon, by Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, and Quincy Jones”;

“Frank Sinatra: Autumn in New York, with the Billy May Orchestra (Video)”;

“Hear Frank Sinatra Make Rodgers & Hart Swing! ‘The Lady is a Tramp’; Live at Madison Square Garden/1974”;

“Hear Frank Sinatra and a Bunch of Little Kids Sing the 1960 Academy Award-Winning Song, ‘High Hopes’”;

“If Frank Sinatra were Still Alive, and were Interviewed by Larry King”;

“When Sinatra Ruled: Hear Him Sing ANOTHER Oscar-Winning Song, ‘All the Way,’ from The Joker is Wild (1957)”;

“Hear Frank Sinatra Sing Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn’s ‘Love and Marriage’;

“Hear Frank Sinatra’s Unique Presentation of Cole Porter’s ‘I've Got You Under My Skin’”;

“Frank Sinatra Sings ‘Young at Heart’”;

“‘A Man Alone’: How Great was Sinatra? So Great that with a Voice that was Way Past Its Prime, and Less than Stellar Material, He was Still the World’s Greatest Singer—that’s How Great He was!”;

“I'll Never Smile Again: Hear 24-Year-Old Frank Sinatra with the Pied Pipers and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1940!”;

“Frank Sinatra: ‘In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning’ (1955)”;

“Frank Sinatra: I Didn't Know What Time It was”;

“Sinatra Celebration News: Pennsylvania Music Newspaper Columnist Announces Releases of Rare Radio Broadcasts and Rehearsals from 1935-1955, and Provides a Lovely, Yet Succinct Introduction to the Works of ‘The Voice’”;

“Frank Sinatra: A Swinging Ring-a-Ding-Ding (1961 Recording)”;

“The Day the Music Died (A Photoessay on Frank Sinatra)”;

“Frank Sinatra, Singing Rodgers & Hart’s My Funny Valentine”;

“Brassy and Sassy! Frank Sinatra Singing Brazil”;

“Sinatra, Rodgers & Hart, and ‘I Could Write a Book’! (Pal Joey)”;

“Frank Sinatra Sings ‘Softly’”;

“Sinatra, Loesser, and May: ‘Luck be a Lady’! (1963)”;

“Swing Along with Frank Sinatra and Billy May! ‘Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night of the Week’ (1959)”;

“Frank Sinatra: Call Me Irresponsible”; and

“Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim: ‘Baubles, Bangles, and Beads’”;

“Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter: ‘Night and Day’ (1962 Version)”;

“Sinatra and the Brothers Gershwin: ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’”;

“Frank Sinatra Sings the Gershwins’ ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’ (The Reprise Collection) HQ”; and

“Frank Sinatra Live: The Gershwins' ‘A Foggy Day’ (Repaired).”]


Anonymous said...

National Public Radio has been known to throw in a bit of editorial comment by carefully selecting their bridge music when doing commentary or a story.

Several decades back, they did some "magazine" type segment about cockroaches. I mean the insect, not members of Congress. At any rate, they talked about how long cockroaches have been on Earth, how they are found virtually everywhere, and how they hide. At the close of the segment, they bridged to the station break with an instrumental of "I'll Be Seeing You" (in all the old familiar places). I caught the joke and laughed right out loud.

- The Gentle Grizzly

Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore Frank Sinatra. He was the greatest. I'll be seeing you is one sad song.I truly appreciate the Sinatra and film noir breaks in between the grim, yet interesting reality. Thanks NS!