Song of the Day #1,165: ‘Elizabeth’ – Frank Sinatra

For those just joining us, today begins Week Two of my presentation of Frank Sinatra’s 1970 album Watertown. Last week I covered the five songs that make up Part One of the concept album and this week I’ll examine the five songs in Part Two.

Kicking things off is ‘Elizabeth,’ the first Watertown song about the woman who does the leaving rather than the man who was left behind.

‘Elizabeth’ doesn’t contain any specifics about the storyline of Watertown. It’s a rather straight-forward romantic ballad about a woman shrouded in mystery, “out of reach and out of touch.”

Our protagonist clearly felt out of his league from the very start… and perhaps that’s a big reason for the split. Who wants to give herself to somebody who doesn’t feel worthy of the honor?

This song also suggests that the man continues to romanticize his wife, describing her as “dressed in memories” and telling her “you are what you used to be.” No doubt she feels she is somebody very different now. This song, the first on Watertown that names the wife, is also the first to offer a glimpse of why she might have left.

According to the composer, Sinatra recorded a demo of this song and sent it to Elizabeth Taylor for her birthday. How cool is that?

Dressed in dreams for me
You were what I wished to see
Elizabeth, Elizabeth

Love was very new
Make believe was coming true
Elizabeth, Elizabeth

You were all much too much
Out of reach and out of touch

When you came to me
I found it could never be
Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth

So a dream has to end
When it’s real
Not pretend

Dressed in memories
You are what you used to be
Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,165: ‘Elizabeth’ – Frank Sinatra

  1. Dana says:

    Nice instrumentation, particularly the guitar work at the beginning as well as the orchestration. And it really is amazing how much is conveyed in so few words.

  2. pegclifton says:

    Nice touch for Sinatra to send that to Elizabeth Taylor. I bet she treasured it.

  3. Amy says:

    This is the song I invariably think of first whenever I think of this album. Come to think of it, I don’t know that I bring back much more than the single utterance of Elizabeth’s name.

    Not sure Elizabeth Taylor would be flattered by this “tribute,” but it’s a cool detail just the same.

  4. “Song of the Day #1,165: Elizabeth – Frank Sinatra Meet Me In Montauk” ended up being truly enjoyable and insightful!
    In todays society that is really difficult to achieve.
    Regards, Adell

  5. Arlee Bird says:

    Maybe my favorite song from this album. This is the song that haunted me for a couple of decades when this album was essentially unavailable. Thankfully YouTube has brought some of this hard to find music back to us.

    Tossing It Out

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