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the otto files

where the classics never go out of style

Category Archives: The Great American Songbook

It’s hard to imagine Dean Martin as 100. In truth, it was hard to watch Dean get old. He was the living embodiment of the old joke, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” Except it’s doubtful Dean Martin would have changed anything he did. He […]

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Bing Crosby was born on this date in 1903. I have hosted a radio show called “Sinatra & Company” for many years and it still amuses me how the Sinatra fans refuse to show the same love for Bing that Sinatra did. And the tired excuse of his personal life and conduct doesn’t work when […]

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Today would have been Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday. She was born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia. At least that’s would we now believe to be true. Ella Fitzgerald left much about her earliest years shrouded in mystery. She was fanatically guarded about her history and her privacy. For example, her birth date […]

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I wrote yesterday of my first Sinatra concert in April of 1980. In truth, It was the only actual “Sinatra Concert” I ever attended although I did see him perform live one more time about four years later in the summer of 1984. Back in those days, Sammy Davis Jr. used to host a Pro-Am […]

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Heartbroken yesterday to learn of the passing of Vinnie Falcone, pianist, arranger, and musical director of some of the greatest interpreters of the Great American Songbook. Mr. Falcone was born and raised in Syracuse, New York. He played in clubs in small combos and large aggregations starting in the 1950s. In the early 1970s he decided […]

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In honor of Harry Belafonte’s 90th birthday, we celebrate the great entertainer and political activist with a favorite song of mine and Dr. Tim’s!! Harry Belafonte was born in Harlem, New York City in 1927 but spent about eight years of his childhood in Jamaica. Here’s another catchy tune I’ve always liked. This features Harry […]

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I remember seeing Tin Men in the theater many years ago and liking it but I honestly didn’t remember it being this funny. Then again, when I saw it in the theater back in 1987, I was a 23-year-old kid who’d never been married or had children and who just recently had become part of […]

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The answer to the above question is, “No, he can’t.” However, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady apparently can. They are listed as the directors of the PBS American Masters special from last night entitled, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of Myself. I just finished watching the program and it was, surprisingly, a disappointment. I say surprisingly because […]

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Frank Sinatra’s 1965 Reprise album entitled September of My Years, with arrangements by Gordon Jenkins, has long been one of my very favorite Sinatra albums. Even when I was in my early teens, I would sing along with great conviction to this collection of songs that were all about growing older and looking back. While […]

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It was 40 years ago today that Frank Sinatra brought “a friend” out onto the Sahara stage in Las Vegas during the wee small hours of Jerry Lewis’ Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon. Frank had just finished singing and was laying some checks on Jerry and when they finished with the money transfers Frank said […]

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