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If Frank Sinatra were in his twenties today do you think he would be in Pearl Jam, performing with Kenny G. or working as an Elvis impersonator?


Bob Clayton
A songster & songwriter in the traditional vein, writes:
Good question.  Bad question.  Confusing question.  What do we mean when we say "Frank Sinatra?"  The performer, or, by saying "if he were in his twenties," any up-and-coming performer today?

Sinatra came "up" during the heyday of the big bands, which were jazz-based (loosely) and had a set of musical standards and traditions -- structures -- which he had to cling to as well as loose himself from.  That is, he worked from within the style while trying to set his own style.  His trademarks of his "fuller" years were not there in his early years, but they came along as he worked with what he had, inlcuding handling a change in musical taste (a change that killed the big bands, for example, and lilterally turned pop music "on its head") as well as vocal problems.

So what would he meet today?  Lots more variety in music, for one, including a revival of the big bands (jitterbug and swing dancing is suddenly "in" again).  An industry in which the beginning performer has probably less chance than he did at that time in his life.

My guess is that he'd probably be a wedding singer, maybe covering Beatles or Tom Petty songs, or possibly going in the direction of Linda Ronstadt and going back to his roots (in his case, Italian).

Actually, since today's music is partly what it is because Frank Sinatra DID exist, he'd probably be doing a Natalie Cole and re-recording those old "family" standards with his own stamp on 'em.  Sort of a Frank Sinatra, Jr. thing.

Then again, he could be a rapper.  Or a sensitive new-age songer-singwriter.  Or an accountant.  Or a button-man.  There's a song in this somewhere, but damned if I can see where.


Buddy Polhemus
An Alabama Immigrant, writes:
I believe the choices are too narrow. You are talking about a man who won an Oscar as well as had a distinguished career as a singer. I believe he would be being produced by Dan Fogelberg and be hitting us with an entourage of dark love songs until he had mounted a cult of panting admirers and then launched himself into a series of character roles in some David Lynch type movies. He would have surrounded himself with contemporaries such as River Phoenix, and Nicolas Cage and give up sex for lint every year.
Dan Parks
A songwriter in California,writes,
His phrasing and perfectionist attitude (at 20) would make him his own star... his lyrics would just be influenced by THESE times rather than THOSE times... in my opinion...
Jessica Slater
A student with a major interest in music!, writes:
He would probably end up preforming in Pearl Jam because it is a different time than it was when he first started singing.  The times and style of music would most likely affect his choice of style for his preformance.  Probably Pearl Jam.
DavidPiano
A budding songwriter/jazz pianist from Toronto, writes:
I have 2 answers to this, one for each of my interpretations of the question. First, had Frank grown up on what twenty-year-olds listen to, that is very hard to say, because there is such diversity in the tastes of Generation X. But I'd say he'd probably be fronting a hard rock band. Actually, on second thought, I think he'd be the frontman of a Royal Crown Revue or Brian Setzer Ork-ish type band. You know, retro swing. Secondly, I do think he would be performing with a jazz sax player had he listened to what he did when he actually was a child. If he listened to that plus the jazz that came out of the horns of Coltrane and Davis (which have influenced me, personally) he would definitely be fronting a jazz combo.
Frances N. Damas
A songwriter from Miami, writes:
None of the above. He would probably be a Rod Stewart or a Mick Jagger.  He seemed like a rebelious type of guy like the ones I just mentioned.
Jonathan Bailey
A progressive folksinger/songwriter from WA state, writes:
He He....thats a toughie.. he's too 'cool cat for Kenny G', too charisma for Eddie Vedder... Elvis is the closest.......... (but if Elvis were alive today?)
D.D. Holley
A singer/songwriter from Louisiana, writes:
Kenny G.  Definitely Kenny G. They would sound great, don't you think?
Tim "the Sandman" Sanderlin
A phenomenon waiting to happen, writes:
Knowing what I know about "ol' Blue Eyes" I would have to say he would probably form his own super group today like he had with Martin, Davis, Lawford, and Bishop (the infamous 'Rat Pack) in the late fifties to early sixties.  He would surround himself with the likes of... well... I can't really think of anyone.  The reason is that he probably wouldn't be known as a singer if he were young now.  He would most likely be an actor or a concert promoter or any number of professions besides being a musical performer. 
Michael Hayes
A student, lyricist, and guitar player from Arkansas currently going to school in Texas, writes:
Sinatra would no doubt be in Pearl Jam today, if he were in his twenties.  In his day, he was so rebellious, and wild, he and the rest of the Rat Pack were like today's rockers.
Gib Wallis
A singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, CA, writes:
This is an interesting question, but, of course, we can never know the answer.

Which Frank Sinatra? The Frank who always wanted to be the best singer? If he didn't idolize Bing Crosby in high school, he wouldn't have topped him as the crooner of the century.

But let's look at his voice.  And his aesthetic. He loved singing pretty at the beginning of his career.  He didn't make a career being an in-your-face guy.  That came later on. With middle age.

Sinatra wanted to sing pretty.  He modeled himself after singers known for good, clean, clear vocal tone.  And he studied with an opera singer and even co-wrote a brochure on how to sing pop music with a good vocal technique.

This kind of hard work and dedication to simply sounding good isn't what Pearl Jam is all about.

Sintra changed the way people sang because he sang pretty but also sang like he really believed what he was singing.

This kind of eliminates a lot of the posturing and pretentiousness of the "alternative" crowd, trying to look cool and sound smart.

Even when Sinatra swaggered on stage later in his career, he still dressed like a gentleman (except, of course, the few months he dressed like Elvis in rhinestones).

I think Sinatra would choose music that was very popular, music that allowed for beautiful vocal tone, since that was important to him before he had a vocal hemorrage, and a real of the industry that allowed for elegance.

He would either become a jazz standards guy (which he was!) or he would go into pop-R&B (think a lower voice Peabo Bryson) or pop-rock (Elton John).

But since he was mellow early in his career, he would need a major personality transplant to become a hard rocker or a disaffected slacker grunge kid.

Grunge (and Pearl Jam) is the antithesis of his image.

He might have become a Broadway star, but I think his unusually frail younger appearance would have prevented him from getting leads or becoming a star, so I think he would have struck out as a singer, just like he actually did. kind of pop style


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