Frank Sinatra: Summer Wind

For some reason, every time I hear this song I think of Chicago and the winds blowing off Lake Michigan. I can feel the warm winds that soothe and the bitter winter winds that freeze your face and cut through you like a knife as you walk the downtown streets. This feeling is quite contrary to the facts on the ground. The lyrics "across the sea" don't exactly describe Lake Michigan. Plus there is an extreme lack of "golden sand" upon its shores. I have also read that Johnny Mercer's lyrics actually refer to the "Sirocco" winds, as the Italians call them, that blow from northern Africa into Europe. My imagination takes another hit as Sinatra's version of "Summer Wind" is the opening soundtrack theme of the great movie The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984). Greenwich Village, of course, is in neither Chicago nor Italy. But, hey, at least the film is about some Italians! So now the evidence points towards a wonderful summer at the Venetian Riviera.

In any case, and with all due respect to serious Sinatraphiles who may feel differently, this is the best performance of his career. Nelson Riddle's arrangement, beginning with the fantastic organ intro, is as cool as cool can be. Then Frank enters, even cooler! His message is forlorn but his delivery is smooth, measured and calm. He acknowledges that he can't sleep with the memory of a lost love. But you never get the feeling that he won't find another. There is always next summer in Chicago. Or wherever . . .

February 15, 2008 · 2 comments


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