Frank sinatra royal festival hall

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London Calling: Frank Sinatra In Concert At The Royal Festival Hall

Frank Sinatra: In Concert At The Royal Festival Hall was a 50-minute TV special filmed in color by the BBC, capturing Ol’ Blue Eyes performing onstage in London, one of his favorite cities.

The performance had taken place on Tuesday, November 16, 1970 – just 26 days shy of Sinatra’s 55th birthday. It was the second and final concert of a two-night charity event called Night Of Nights, which also featured London-born US comedian Bob Hope.

Before The Chairman took to the stage, he was introduced to the audience by Princess Grace Of Monaco. Sinatra had first known and worked with her before she was royalty, when she was Hollywood actress Grace Kelly (she starred opposite Sinatra in the 1956 movie High Society). At Sinatra’s invitation, Princess Grace had stepped in as a last-minute replacement for Noël Coward, who was originally hired as the night’s compère but had been taken ill (Sinatra visited him in hospital during his time in London).

After a glowing introduction by Princess Grace, who described the Hoboken-born singer as “generous and warm-hearted,” a beaming Sinatra took to the stage and quipped, “What a press agent!” Backed by a good number of first-call British musicians), he then eased into a vibrant version of the swinger “You Make Me Feel So Young,” with a palpable joie de vivre. Suave and tuxedo-clad, Sinatra was on top form, whether he was serving up some of his old favorites (“The Lady Is A Tramp”) or newer, contemporary, material (George Harrison’s “Something”).

Among the Frank Sinatra: In Concert At The Royal Festival Hall highlights is “Pennies From Heaven,” the second tune in Sinatra’s set. An immortal ode to joy, written by composer Arthur Johnston with lyricist Johnny Burke, the song was a hit first for crooner Bing Crosby, when it appeared as the title tune to the 1936 musical comedy of the same name. The song very quickly became a jazz standard recorded by, among others, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Stan Getz. Sinatra first recorded the song on his 1956 LP Songs For Swingin’ Lovers! and later, in 1962, recorded it again, this time in tandem with the Count Basie band on his 1962 Reprise LP Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First, which was the first of three musical encounters with the aristocratic jazz man (the other two were It Might As Well Be Swing and Sinatra At The Sands).

“Cole Porter by way of Nelson Riddle,” is how Sinatra introduced both the writer and arranger of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” one of the singer’s most popular numbers. He first recorded it in 1946, but arguably the definitive rendition was recorded ten years later for his classic Capitol album, Songs For Swingin’ Lovers! Sinatra later waxed it in the studio again for Sinatra’s Sinatra in 1963, and, three years later, featured it on his first live LP, Sinatra At The Sands. Along with “My Way,” “Theme From New York, New York” and “One For My Baby,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” is regarded as one of Sinatra’s signature songs.

Sinatra closed the Royal Festival Hall concert with “My Way,” a show-stopping anthem he recorded in the studio only two years earlier, on December 30, 1968, but which quickly became a key part of his repertoire. Thereafter, it was often used as the curtain-closer of his live shows.

By the time that Frank Sinatra: In Concert At The Royal Festival Hall had aired on television, on February 4, 1971, his appearance at the prestigious London venue the previous November had already helped to raise over £100,000 for the United World Colleges Fund. The concert was also a significant reminder that Frank Sinatra was still very much in his prime. His London performance – dynamic, masterful, and at times transcendent – proved that beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Listen to the best of Frank Sinatra on Apple Musicand Spotify.

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When Sinatra Took The Throne At London’s Royal Festival Hall, 1962

On May 30, 1962, Frank Sinatra’s private aircraft, the Christina, landed at London’s Heathrow Airport. Marking the first time the singer had appeared in the UK capital since 1953. Sinatra was scheduled to perform a midnight charity concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall on June 1, in front of an audience that included many British celebrities and dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister, Princess Margaret. With the press whipping up excitement, tickets were quick to sell out, and Sinatra’s concert was billed as the city’s most keenly anticipated event of the year.

With him, he’d brought a sextet led by his longtime pianist, Bill Miller, and which included vibraphonist Emil Richards, guitarist Al Viola, flautist/saxophonist Harry Klee, bassist Ralph Peña and drummer Irv Cottler. Drinking tea with honey on stage, to keep his voice in peak condition, Sinatra more than lived up to expectations.

Too marvelous for words

His finely balanced, 29-song set blended uptempo swingers with pensive ballads and juggled established classics with newer favorites. Among the many highlights was a fabulous rendition of the Johnny Mercer-Richard Whiting song “Too Marvelous For Words,” which originally appeared on Sinatra’s seminal 1956 Capitol album, Songs For Swingin’ Lovers! The original was arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle, but the new small-combo arrangement, by Neal Hefti, had a lighter sense of swing.

Another standout moment comes when the band drops out, leaving Sinatra accompanied solely by Bill Miller’s piano on the classic saloon ballad “One For My Baby (And One For The Road).” Sinatra introduced it by saying, “This is the kind of song that’s generally done in a small bar in the wee hours of the morning,” before delivering a poignant, mesmerizing rendition of the number, which he’d most recently recorded for the 1958 album Frank Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely.

Another Songs For Swingin’ Lovers! cut provided a further highlight of the Royal Festival Hall show. Rightly regarded as one of Sinatra’s signature songs, “You Make Me Feel So Young” made up part of the four-song encore that evening, with Sinatra himself counting the band in. With Harry Klee’s flute and Emil Richards’ vibraphones entwining on the intro, Sinatra exclaims, “This is a lovely tune!” before delivering the number with a palpable sense of joie de vivre over a coolly-swinging groove.

Great songs from Great Britain

Sinatra stayed in London for two more concerts that month (at the Odeon on Leicester Square and the Gaumont in Hammersmith), but the prestigious Royal Festival Hall date remains one of his most legendary. Sinatra himself was so taken by the city that he stayed there to record Sinatra Sings Great Songs From Great Britain, the only album that he recorded outside of the US.

This period is captured in the 2014 box set Sinatra: London, which includes the complete Great Songs… album, along with sessions, further live performances (from 1970 and 1984), plus the entire 1962 Royal Festival Hall gig on DVD, fully revealing the extent of Sinatra’s relationship with the city.

Sinatra: London can be bought here.

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The Beatles - Let It Be
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Sinatra in Concert

Frank Sinatra: In Concert at the Royal Festival Hall was a BBC musical television special starring Frank Sinatra, recorded on 16 November 1970 at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Sinatra performed two full shows that evening and the second one was filmed. The programme was first broadcast in the UK on BBC Television, 22 November 1970, followed by CBS in America, February 4, 1971. The special was directed by Bill Miller, and produced by Harold Davison.[1]

Sinatra was introduced on stage by Grace Kelly. Kelly had starred alongside Sinatra in High Society (1956), the last film she made before her marriage to Rainier III, Prince of Monaco.

Sinatra had been balding for many years, hence all the hats in publicity stills, album covers etc. TV directors were forbidden to photograph him from the back because of this. However, at this concert, Sinatra had completed a very successful hair transplant and deliberately turned his back on the main audience a couple of times to acknowledge the audience sitting at the rear of the stage, along with running his hand over the back of his head to draw attention to his new coiffure.

Set list[edit]

  1. "You Make Me Feel So Young"
  2. "Pennies from Heaven"
  3. "I've Got You Under My Skin"
  4. ”Something”
  5. "The Lady Is a Tramp
  6. "I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)"
  7. "Didn't We"
  8. "One For My Baby"
  9. "A Foggy Day" – edited from standalone home video releases; only on DVD in Sinatra: London box set
  10. "I Will Drink the Wine"
  11. "I Have Dreamed"
  12. "My Kind of Town"
  13. "My Way"


External links[edit]


Frank Sinatra - Too Marvelous For Words (Live At Royal Festival Hall / 1962)


Festival royal frank hall sinatra


Frank Sinatra - Too Marvelous For Words (Live At Royal Festival Hall / 1962)


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