Sinatra sites celebrate singer
With the passing of Frank Sinatra, local music stores are going to be bereft of his recordings for the next few weeks as fans buy everything in sight. Book stores, too, are likely to have bare shelves in the Sinatra section until new stock comes in.
Where to go, then, to try to fill that ache in your heart from knowing that the greatest singer in history is truly gone?
With more than a touch of irony, the newest technology the Internet is one of the biggest sources of information on and merchandise about Sinatra, keeper of the traditionalist flame.
One of the best sites, and as good a starting point as you'll find is Club Sinatra. There are message boards dedicated to the man, real-time chat areas, a newsletter, messages from daughter Nancy Sinatra, a timeline of his life, info on his movies and details on his recordings.
If there's a complaint about this site it's that being so graphics-heavy, it's slow to load. A minor kvetch for such a rich mine of information.
A good spot to start learning about his recordings is at Reprise Records Sinatra's own record company that he founded in order to control his career.
The Frank Sinatra Mailing List is probably the biggest single resource for Frank Sinatra info on the Internet. Lists of albums, lists of songs, lists of movies, biographies, analyses, reviews of concerts, a list of telethons he appeared on. The only thing not here is his preference between boxers and briefs. You can also subscribe to the Sinatra Mailing List a kind of private newsgroup/bulletin board for fans to correspond about the man.
A second, unrelated mailing list is the Frank Sinatra Fans Discussion List also a private effort by and for fans.
Once you've learned all about his CDs and movies, you can order them online at the International Sinatra Society (www.sinatraclub.com). They have every legal CD in print available, every film he appeared in (they indicate which ones are just cameos), most of the popular biographies (no Kitty Kelly, though) and a few song folios (sheet music).
Another neat site where you can get both info and goods is blue-eyes.com. Within a few hours of Sinatra's death, blue-eyes.com proprietor/fan Rick Apt had a tribute page up with postings from fellow fans. As well as most of the CDs and videos, this site also features a lot more collectibles mostly posters, but also some photographic prints. This is a neat, professional site stylish and easy to navigate.
The BBC has a huge package of Sinatra news and tributes up. Stories about Sinatra's life, a reported family feud over his $200 million estate, and paens from fans the world over (Cyprus to Australia, Hawaii to the Netherlands) fill out the section.
TV Guide (of all oufits) has a nice tribute page up as well. Other top-notch sites include This Is Sinatra (which has links to lots of other outfits on the Web, like a listing of Sinatra-related movies and shows on TV), an unofficial archive of Sinatra photos, a weekly webcast of Sinatra's music, and the Sinatra Zone Archives.
Finally, most intimately, most poignantly, there is the family's official site. The opening screen is a plain black page with the word "Sinatra" and the dates of his life (Dec. 12 1915-May 14, 1998) with just two links, a guestbook and "some thoughts ..." A recording of him singing "Softly, As I Leave You" plays in the background, in a continuous loop. There is also a visitor counter; it was at over a quarter million on the Sunday after he died (and more than 2,000 were added in less than an hour).
At the guestbook, you can leave a message for Frank or any of his family members; you can also read recent messages left by fans most of which are as raw and emotionally vulnerable in their grief as his best performances were.
A page not currently listed off the main page but full of family news is at www.sinatrafamily.com/entry.html. This is a really neat page not nearly as polished as other Sinatra sites, it is more like the family Web page many of us have. There is news of Frank's granddaughters getting engaged and graduating from college, and personal shapshots of Frank with his family. There was nothing posted on Frank's passing yet, but the following note from his family is so personal and heartfelt, it's worth sharing:
"We are aware that there are those who are suspicious of our lack of details and juicy tidbits. There is nothing we can say that might convince you that we as a family are sincere in our efforts to keep you up to date.
"Please remember that we have nothing to gain by being out here. We are taking the time to do this because Frank asked us to 'try to keep in touch with my supporters' and because we believe the truth is very important.
"Some people have indicated that we are not being candid in our posts. We are being as candid as any of you would be in reporting your own private family business. We believe we are being very generous with everyone."
Which should remind us that in addition to being a singer, an actor, the quintessential American celebrity, Frank Sinatra was also part of a family. The fact that he had a regular family Web page serves as a final reminder of why Sinatra remained a blue-collar hero right up to the end.
© Copyright Jim Trageser
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