Song of the Day #4,567: ‘April Come She Will (Demo)’ – Paul Simon

In recent months, I’ve found myself declaring a couple of times that one song or another was officially among my all-time favorites.

That got me interested, during these pandemic times, in creating a definitive playlist of my favorite songs. This is an exercise fraught with peril and subject to repeated second-guessing, but that’s also what makes it fun.

Narrowing such a list to ten songs proved impossible, so I kept at it until I had close to 30, then pared back to 25, which feels like a good number.

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Song of the Day #4,448: ‘Luck Be a Lady’ – Marlon Brando

Continuing my personal ranking of the 25 movie musicals deemed essential by the American Film Institute…

#8. Guys and Dolls – 1955
(#23 on the AFI list)

Frank Sinatra fared well in my rankings, with his two AFI-recognized films placing at #11 (On the Town) and now #8. Sinatra’s film career is almost as impressive as his singing career, with multiple comedic and dramatic roles, an Academy Award (for 1953’s From Here to Eternity), several films as a producer and one as a director.

Sinatra is a treat in Guys and Dolls, but it’s his co-star Marlon Brando who really made this film for me. Brando as a song-and-dance man is not something I expected to encounter during this project.

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Song of the Day #4,443: ‘You’re Awful’ – Frank Sinatra and Betty Garrett

Continuing my personal ranking of the 25 movie musicals deemed essential by the American Film Institute…

#11. On the Town – 1949
(#19 on the AFI list)

On the Town… also known as the movie where a 34-year-old Frank Sinatra pretends he has never been to New York.

The directorial debut of Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, this film is an adaptation of the stage musical of the same name. Kelly, Sinatra and Jules Munshin play three sailors on a day of shore leave in the Big Apple, and Betty Garrett, Ann Miller and Vera-Ellen play their love interests.

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Song of the Day #3,956: ‘Strangers in the Night’ – Frank Sinatra

‘Strangers in the Night,’ recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1966 for an album of the same name, reached #1 in both the U.S. and the UK. It won three Grammy awards, including Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The album became the most commercially successful in Sinatra’s career.

And yet Ol’ Blue Eyes hated the song. When he was first given the sheet music, he reportedly told his aid “I don’t want to sing this, it’s a piece of shit.”

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Song of the Day #3,662: ‘Sinatra 75: The Best is Yet to Come’ – Frank SInatra

Today is my father’s 75th birthday, a grand milestone for a grand man!

I’m cheating a bit by not featuring an individual song but instead an entire TV special as today’s SOTD. This is the 1990 celebration Sinatra 75: The Best is Yet to Come, a TV special that combined documentary footage with a live performance by the birthday boy himself.

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