What was Frank Sinatra like to work with in the recording studio? Find out in this memoir, NEVER SAY NO TO A ROCK STAR: IN THE STUDIO WITH DYLAN, JAGGER, SINATRA AND MORE by the recording engineer who was there. Here’s an excerpt:
The Voice took off his headphone and walked into the control room. He said, “Let’s do a playback.”
We listened together silently with the reverence that always befits such moments.
Sinatra’s rendering was stellar. In 1975 he was certainly past his prime. His voice shook at moments but this only added poignancy to the lyrics of loss and time gone by. This touching song, written by Michel LeGrand and interpreted by the consummate master, was redolent of what the Spanish called duende, a magical quality that comes from aging and pain and is suffused with an awareness of death.
When the melancholic French horns announced the arrival of the chorus, Frank sang,
“Life is sad, when people hurt you,
Sad when friends desert you,
Sad when dreams get lost beyond recall,
But remembering from spring to lonely spring,
Well, that’s the saddest thing of all.”
As I listened, I thought of my dad who had died at 49, a few years before, a guy who looked a bit like a Jewish version of Frank. He would have loved to have known that I got to sit in a room with Frank Sinatra, got to hit the record button for this guy, got to adjust his microphone. We were an audience of four: Costa, his bodyguard, Blakin, and me. My dad would have loved that. But my old man was gone, and he would never know. The duende hit me, and my eyes brimmed with tears.
The track came to its end. I hit stop. Frank nodded and smiled. Most singers would worry a track like this for many hours, days, or weeks. But not Frank. He nailed it in one take. The whole thing was over in 30 minutes. READ MORE
Now, for the first time, you can hear that never before released, pristine mix we did that day. If you’d like to hear it, contact me by clicking the box below, and I’ll get you a copy.
Dr. Glenn Berger is a psychotherapist, relationship counselor, business and artist’s coach, and young person’s mentor. He sees patients in New York City, in Mt. Kisco, NY, and around the world by Skype.