People

“Strangers in the Night” and “Von Ryan’s Express”

By Ahmet Abdulaziz….

14th May is the anniversary of the death of Frank Sinatra.  Born as Francis Albert Sinatra, on 12th December 1915 in New Jersey to Italian immigrant parents, he left an everlasting mark in the world of music and film, as a singer and actor. He died on 14th May, 1998, in Los Angeles California due to a heart attack. His fans are remembering him world over on the 23rd  anniversary of his death.

Frank Sinatra carried out a pretty long career both as a singer and film actor. Recently I read an article  on “mentalfloss.com” listing 35 fabulous facts about Frank Sinatra. There it is mentioned that at the time of his birth he was blue and not breathing.  He was delivered with the help of forceps. The doctor had thought he was dead, and he was left unattended, until his grandmother put him under a cold shower, where he took his first breath.

The forceps that were used at the time of his delivery had left a mark on the left side of his face. He was nicknamed as “Scareface”, as a teenager. Later at times he even used make-up to hide that scar. Thus most of his photographs were taken from his right side. That was the reason that he always hated to be photographed from the left side.

Indeed Frank Sinatra was one of the most celebrated singers and film actors in American history. He had a unique image that carried a special appeal to the teenagers back during the early 1940s. His entry into the world of music started as a teenager, when his mother had him included in a four member musical band. Interestingly Frank learnt music by listening, as he never tried to learn reading music.

Starting as a teenager, he constantly made progress in the music world. He became famous and can be rightly dubbed as “America’s first teen idol”, during the 1940s.  In later years he kept on adding many more fantastic songs to his credit.  “I am a fool to want you” in 1951, “I’ve got you under my skin”, released in 1956, “One for My Baby” released in 1958, “That’s Life” released in 1967, have been considered as some of his best songs.

However, among the above list of best songs of Frank Sinatra, I have deliberately excluded “My Way” and “Strangers in the Night”, since not only are these two exceptionally popular songs, but are my favourites too. “Strangers in the Night”, in particular is one such song that I always consider as my favourite, but after “Imagine” by John Lennon, which will always remain as number one in my personal chart.

Not just as a singer Sinatra made his name also as a highly talented film actor. Spanned over a period starting from 1941 until 1995, he worked in more than 60 films. He remained attached to the film industry also as a producer. There is a long list of his famous films, however my vote goes to “Von Ryan’s Express”, a movie which I watched three times during the late 1960s, when I was a teenager. The last scene, where Sinatra was trying to catch the train, is still fresh in my mind.

Here I would like to copy the lyrics to “Strangers in the Night”.

Strangers in the night
Exchanging glances
Wandering in the night
What were the chances
We’d be sharing love
Before the night was through?
Something in your eyes
Was so inviting
Something in your smile
Was so exciting
Something in my heart told me I must have you

Strangers in the night, two lonely people
We were strangers in the night
Up to the moment when we said our first hello
Little did we know
Love was just a glance away,
a warm embracing dance away

And ever since that night
We’ve been together
Lovers at first sight
In love forever
It turned out so right
For strangers in the night…

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