Before “Brangelina,” there was “Frank & Ava” (Frava? Nah… not feeling it).
Frank Sinatra left his wife and childhood sweetheart to be with Ava Gardner, with Ava herself having been previously married to actor Mickey Rooney and bandleader Artie Shaw.
It was the media feeding frenzy of the era, and had everyone talking… including Sadie Vimmerstedt.
Vimmerstedt was a housewife and grandmother living in Youngstown, Ohio. Watching the Frank & Ava saga play out, Vimmerstedt wrote to songwriter Johnny Mercer—with a letter simply addressed to ‘Johnny Mercer…Songwriter…New York, NY’—in 1957 with the idea for a song based on the tumultuous relationship. She even gave Mercer the opening line:
“I want to be around to pick up the pieces, when somebody breaks your heart”
…and in return Mercer gave Vimmerstedt 1/3 of the songwriting royalties.
“I Wanna Be Around” was released in 1959, a performed by Frank Sinatra and Count Basie (a much more amicable couple) on his 1964 album It Might As Well Be Swing—produced by Quincy Jones.