From the Vault...


Frank Sinatra
"Ultimate Christmas"

© Capitol Records

Year of Release: 2017

track listing
  • White Christmas
  • The Christmas Waltz
  • It Came Upon A
    Midnight Clear
  • Jingle Bells
  • The First Noel
  • Mistletoe And Holly
  • The Christmas Song
  • I'll Be Home For Christmas
  • Santa Claus Is Coming
    To Town
  • Have Yourself A
    Merry Little
  • An Old Fashioned
  • I Heard The Bells On
    Christmas Day
  • The Little Drummer Boy
  • Whatever Happened To
  • The Twelve Days Of
  • The Bells Of Christmas
  • I Wouldn't Trade Christmas
  • A Baby Just Like You
  • Christmas Memories
  • Silent Night

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    Frank Sinatra
    "Ultimate Christmas"

    Frank Sinatra's Ultimate Christmas is a perfect choice for this time of the season. It's the Christmas season, and with Christmas 2021 a week away, it's obvious a Christmas album is this week's choice. And, it's the debut of Ol' Blue Eyes here on WSVNRadio -- Frank Sinatra's Ultimate Christmas, from 2017 (Capitol Records). There are 20 selections of Sinatra Christmas songs, taken from the two labels he recorded for - Captiol and Reprise (1954 - 1991). And what makes this collection even better, the 20 songs are in chronological order.

    The collection begins with the 1954 single (A and B sides) - "White Christmas" and "The Christmas Waltz." (Both sides were arranged by the famous Nelson Riddle. The next six tracks were from Sinatra's A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra 1957 album: "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," "Jingle Bells" (which has a similarity to that of the combination of Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters' style), "The First Noel," "Mistletoe And Holly" (which was co-written by Sinatra), "The Christmas Song" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas." All six songs were arranged by another popular producer, Gordon Jenkins.

    "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" was from Sinatra's ABC-TV program, with an additional orchestration for CD in 2009. This song was originally arranged by Nelson Riddle and Pete Moore. Sinatra's voice is a bit different; maybe its from the upbeat big band sound. The orchestration itself is superb. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" was from the title track of a various artists 1963 Reprise LP. "An Old Fashioned Christmas," "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" and "The Little Drummer Boy" were from the 1964 LP with Bing Crosby and Fred Waring - 12 Songs Of Christmas.

    The next four tracks come from the Nelson Riddle arranged album from 1969 - The Sinatra Family Wish You A Merry Christmas: "Whatever Happened To Christmas" (by Frank Sinatra himself). The next three tracks were recorded with his family members - Nancy and Tina Sinatra (daughters), Frank Jr. (son) - "The Twelve Days Of Christmas," "The Bells Of Christmas (Greensleeves)" and "I Wouldn't Trade Christmas." What is nice is on "The Twelve Days Of Christmas," where they gave twelve gifts "to our loving Dad" - 12 gifts given to Ol' Blues Eyes Dad, that he would definitely appreciate.

    The next two tracks were arranged by Don Costa - a single from 1975: "A Baby Like You" (co-written by John Denver), and "Christmas Memories" (co-written by Costa).

    Ending the album is Sinatra's version of "Silent Night" from 1991. It was recorded for a children's charity, with piano accompaniment by Frank Sinatra Jr. Johnny Mandel would enchance it with full orchestration in 2004.

    When it comes to Frank Sinatra, any of his albums are considered great albums. And with the Christmas season upon us, his collection of Christmas songs are no exception. There isn't one bad track here, and it's wonderful to hear him sing with his family. Daughter Nancy would have her own recording career, and Frank Sinatra Jr. had his own music career, including touring, singing songs made famous by his father. Not only does Ultimate Christmas has the familiar Christmas songs, it also has (new) original Christmas songs, such as John Denver's "A Baby Just Like You," and "Christmas Memories."

    Of his three children, both Nancy and Frank Jr. had their music careers, although daughter Tina did not. Instead, she became a businesswoman, film producer, Hollywood agent, and memoirist. [Frank Sinatra did have his own film career, appearing in many movies, likewise, Nancy would appear with Elvis Presley in Speedway (1968).] Both Nancy and Tina are still with us - Nancy is currently 81 years old, Tina is currently is 73. Frank Jr. passed away in 2016, from cardiac arrest. He was 72.

    Even after his death in 1998, there have been more compilations by Frank Sinatra. And most of those compilations have reached #1 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart. Ultimate Christmas is one of those #1 Jazz albums. Ultimate Sinatra was another one (2015). This album was #1 in 2015, 2016, and throughout the years 2020 and 2021 (104 weeks as of this date.)

    He was 82 years old, when he left us in 2016. Frank Sinatra has and always will be, one of the greatest music performers in our lifetime, and will be for many future lifetimes and generations.

    Enjoy the Christmas season, with Frank Sinatra's Ultimate Christmas collection. His music will never fade, whether it be his Christmas songs, his well-known and any of his songs, in general.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS, 2021. Thank you, Frank. May your music live on forever.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records and is used for reference purposes only.

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