Song of the Day #269: ‘Only the Lonely’ – Frank Sinatra

lonelyI think I’ve mentioned this before, but there are few albums that throw me back in time as effectively as Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely. That baby is a time machine… I pop it in and crank the dial back to 1982 where a 10-year-old boy sits in a North Miami house thick with the delicious aroma of wine and London broil.

They say the sense of smell is tied directly to our memory bank and that nothing takes you back like a familiar odor. But in this case, it’s the sound of these songs that transports me so powerfully that I can remember the smell of that place, and the feel of it — warm, cozy, safe. Sinatra is the sound of a happy childhood.

I suppose that’s ironic because this is a great big downer of an album… just look at that sad clown face on the cover. These are songs of despair and heartbreak, lushly orchestrated and sung about as beautifully as anything’s been sung ever.

Every song on this album is a stunner, but my two favorites are probably today’s selection and ‘One For My Baby (and One More for the Road).’ I love the clarity of purpose and the clarity of sound on all of these tracks. My parents used to say, when shaking their heads about modern music, that you can always tell exactly what Frank Sinatra is singing. Indeed, the man had incredible diction!

And what lovely words these are. Look at the final verse: “And you’ll recall each fun time. Those picnics at the beach when love was new. It well could be the one time a hopeless little dream like that comes true. If you find love, hang on to each caress and never let love go. For when it’s gone you’ll know the loneliness, the heartbreak only the lonely know.” What a powerful and poetic sentiment.

This is a very nicely done YouTube video, too… elegant and simple, just like the song.

Each place I go
Only the lonely go
Some little small cafe
The songs I know
Only the lonely know
Each melody recalls a love that used to be
The dreams I dream
Only the lonely dream
Of lips as warm as May
That hopeless scheme only the lonely scheme
That soon somewhere you’ll find the one that used to care
And you’ll recall each fun time
Those picnics at the beach when love was new
It well could be the one time
A hopeless little dream like that comes true
If you find love hang on to each caress
And never let love go
For when it’s gone you’ll know the loneliness, the heartbreak
Only the lonely know…

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #269: ‘Only the Lonely’ – Frank Sinatra

  1. pegclifton says:

    Wow, what a lovely surprise! This is one of our very favorite albums, I never tire of listening to it; thanks for choosing it. I’m going to play it right now 🙂

  2. Dana says:

    Beuatiful song and a lovely family memory.

    My music/memory associations are a bit different. There was the one in 1978 when Thelma Houston’s Don’t Leave Me This Way was playing while Mom was heating up the Ellios pizza for me, as she was on her way out to the disco with her gay friends, but that’s another story….

  3. Amy says:

    What a lovely surprise, indeed. I think about all the music on which we were raised. Sinatra albums filled the house more than any other, but there were the songs of Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon. Each of those artists I heard first because my parents introduced me to them. Sort of puts a lot of pressure on us to make sure we introduce our children to someone other than Hannah Montana 🙂

    Seriously, I love how we can introduce our kids to music, and they can introduce us to music. Meanwhile, this is a classic album and a wonderful song.

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