Ten years ago this evening Frank Sinatra passed from this life at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a heart attack. He was 82.
His last words were "I'm losing."
During the decade since his departure, his legend has continued to grow, as has the appreciation of his art by a legion of new listeners.
As I contemplate Frank Sinatra on this solemn day, I find myself feeling marvelously blessed to have grown up at a time when his music and films were still ubiquitous, and to have eventually found my way back to them.
This may sound odd (and it is terribly personal) but I believe that Sinatra taught me how to be a man. At the very least, his songs came back into my life at a time of changes that were difficult to understand, and except for the lens of his music, I'm not sure that I would have ever made sense of things.
Throughout my 30s and 40s his music and his life continued to inspire and to guide me in a quest for meaning and purpose. Now in my 50s, his more mature recordings speak to me as little else can, and I realize that Sinatra has done something extraordinary. He has managed to reflect my life and to profoundly influence it - all without us having ever met. Such is the universality of his art.
In one of the reminiscences shared with us for the most recent episode of The Frank Truth
, Phyllis (who has been a fan of Sinatra since her days in bobby socks) said that in the early years when Sinatra sang every girl felt that he was singing directly to her. It turns out that this is still the magic of Sinatra. Even ten years now after his death, when we hear him sing, he is singing directly to each of us. He sings our lives. I suppose that there may be other singers who have achieved such intimacy with the listener, but no one else has done it so consistently, for so many, for so long.
The song is you, Frank.