The pinnacle (possibly of western civilization) is a record called Only The Lonely. It was made at the height of his career in the mid 50s and he's at the peak of his talent. It was the first concept album - it's all ballads, heavily orchestrated around the theme of lost love. He would repeat this formula with less success with Come Fly With Me. Come Dance With Me and others, although that is like saying a BMW is not as good as a Porsche.
Some words about those that arranged for him. Nelson Riddle, who did Only the Lonely, among many others, was one of the greatest arrangers ever and his sound, combined with Sinatra's basically changed the way that people listened to music, or at least it raised the bar to an extremely high level. This kind of symbiotic relationship between arrnanger (sometimes composer, as in Jimmy Van Huesen) and vocalist had never existed before and it made the Sinatra lexicon special, separating him from the ancillary big-band singers who were mere components of a larger group with no real power. I really believe it was an alignment of the stars between singer, arranger/composer, and musicians that made these records so great -- not just Sinatra.
Posted at 09:19 am by commish