Saturday, February 13, 2010

The February of Frank: The Hit Parade Records Part 1

When I was a kid, my father would bring home records on a regular basis. And not just any records, he usually brought home some really cool items that I have rarely ever seen since. Two of these were records entitled, simply, "Frank Sinatra". These were collections of Frank's appearances on the popular "Lucky Strike Hit Parade" radio show. Your Hit Parade was a popular radio program that began in 1935 on which a group of singers sang the most popular songs of the week, counting down to #1. Frank spent two stints as a regular performer on the show, first from February 1943 (just after he had begun his solo career) to December 1944, and again from September 1947 to May 1949. He wasn't always pleased with the way things were done. Truth be told, Frank was constantly complaining about the songs being too tacky and the tempos being too "old fashioned" and "rigid". This would become something of a crusade for Sinatra that would carry on into his later career. He would always turn away the type of songs that he was made to sing on "The Lucky Strike Hit Parade". As a result, the recordings of those shows were never given the green light to be released. That didn't stop a small, unofficial record company called CAMERON Records from putting out a series of these long-thought -to-be -lost recordings in the late 70s and early 80s. The sound quality is what you would expect from a 40s era radio broadcast but the performances are delivered with every touch of class that Sinatra gave all of his performances. Tacky and old fashioned, yes, but the voice is still there! Here is one of those Lucky Strike albums. BTW, only 8 of the 10 tracks on this album are from "The Hit Parade". "I'm in the Mood for Love" is actually from the "Songs by Sinatra Show", while "Long Ago and Far Away" is from the "Vimms Vitamins Show". Enjoy!

Frank Sinatra (CAMERON Records 5003)

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