Sinatra’s Signature Song?

Frank Sinatra puppet, shot on the Jersey shoreline, Atlantic City, October 1998

What is Frank Sinatra’s signature song? “Come Fly With Me”? “I’ve Got The World On A String”? Maybe “New York New York?” No, it’s “Ol’ MacDonald.” Well, at least in our household it is.

In an attempt to play music for our one and half year old daughter that my wife and I can tolerate we made a playlist of child-friendly rock and jazz standards. So, we hear lots of Beatles, Feist and, of course, Frank Sinatra. But despite including favorites of mine like “Same Old Saturday Night,” she has taken full on to “Ol’ MacDonald.” (I suspect that her affection for this tune is being encouraged outside the home.)

Sinatra Convention portraits, New York Times Magazine, January 3rd, 1999

The New York Times Magazine commissioned me to shoot a series of portraits at a Sinatra convention in Atlantic City in 1998 and while there I bought a marionette puppet of The Chairman to use as a prop. Since then I’ve kept the puppet tucked into our bookshelf.

Once I let my daughter know that he was the one who sang her favorite song she has come to pointing to him at random times and exclaiming “E-I-E-I-O” – her way of saying, “play Frank Sinatra’s ‘Ol’ MacDonald’ and bring the puppet to life to perform it for me.” My wife and I are now beckoned to act this out for her nearly daily; what started out charming has become an awkward chore.

Happy Birthday Mr. Sinatra.

Giving the Sinatra puppet a try at the Quality Inn, Atlantic City, October 1998

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