FRIDAYS ARE FOR FRANK: “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square”
“The moon that lingered over London town,
Poor puzzled moon, he wore a frown…”
Frank Sinatra was a tremendous fan of the UK. He had made his first visit in the summer of 1950 when he topped the bill at the London Palladium. In 1962 he traveled to CTS Studios to make his only studio album recorded outside the United States, titled Sinatra Sings Great Songs From Great Britain—arranged by Robert Farnon and recorded by Eric Tomlinson.
After months of exhausting touring, Sinatra’s voice was reportedly not in its best shape. He had also done a late-night charity show at the Royal Festival Hall a few days before recording the album—and of course hung around a bit too late at the Savoy afterwards.
Great Songs was fairly toned down for the Ring-A-Ding-Ding Ratpack era, and wasn’t among his best-selling albums. Months after Sinatra traveled to London, a few kids from Liverpool traveled to New York, and pop culture would never, ever be the same again.
“Whatever the faults in his voice are, it’s an incredibly evocative album,” says Sinatra biographer Richard Havers, as reported by the Telegraph. “He did love to trawl the Great American Songbook, and here he was trawling the Great British Songbook.”
“A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” was written in 1939 with lyrics by Eric Maschwitz and music by Manning Sherwin. It reverberated throughout Britain during World War II, notably perfromed by singer Vera Lynn, a.k.a. “The Forces’ Sweetheart.”
Here’s Frank, paying homage…