Frank Sinatras brutal takedown of Elvis Presleys ugly music

Frank Sinatras brutal takedown of Elvis Presleys ugly music

Guys and Dolls: Frank Sinatra stars in 1955 trailer

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A new channel featuring music by iconic singer Frank Sinatra is set to launch on the SXM App, where only songs by the My Way hitmaker will be played. Siriusly Sinatra Presents Perfectly Frank begins airing on November 23. Alongside Siriusly Sinatra, it will feature the classic crooning station which also plays the music of Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and other voices from one of music’s greatest eras.

One star that probably not feature is Elvis Presley, who became embroiled in a dispute with Sinatra after his career sky-rocketed during the rock’n’roll boom of the Fifties, in effect bringing an end to the popularity previously enjoyed by swing musicians.

Sinatra was so incensed by the new wave of electric guitars and popping basslines that he condemned the new genre in an opinion piece for the French magazine Western World in 1957.

He wrote of the genre: “My only deep sorrow is the unrelenting insistence of recording and motion picture companies upon purveying the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression it has been my displeasure to hear. Naturally, I refer to the bulk of rock and roll.”

The singer, who also achieved huge acclaim for his acting talents, winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1954, also claimed rock’n’roll “fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people”. He added: “It smells phoney and false.”

Sinatra continued: “It is sung, played and written for the most part by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic reiterations and sly, lewd – in plain fact, dirty – lyrics, and as I said before, it manages to be the martial music of every side-burned delinquent on the face of the earth… this rancid-smelling aphrodisiac I deplore.”

Presley vehemently defended the new music genre, arguing that while Sinatra “has a right to his opinion… I can’t see him knocking it for no good reason”.

He added: “I admire him as a performer and an actor, but I think he’s badly mistaken about this. If I remember correctly, he was also part of a trend.

“I don’t see how he can call the youth of today immoral and delinquent. It’s the greatest music ever, and it will continue to be so. I like it, and I’m sure many other people feel the same way.”

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Sinatra also questioned Presley’s place at the top of showbusiness, considering whether he would become a great like himself.

The crooner, who died in 1998, said: “Only time will tell. They said I was a freak when I first hit, but I’m still around.

“Presley has no training at all. When he goes into something serious, a bigger kind of singing, we’ll find out he is a singer. He has a natural, animalistic talent.”

Sinatra’s career continued well into his late seventies, withstanding the test of time, much like his rival Elvis. Yet, despite his success, reports show that Sinatra was deeply self-critical. 

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According to his fourth and final wife, Barbara Sinatra, the star was “always critical of his voice” and that this feeling “only intensified as he got older”.

Writing in her 2011 memoir, Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank Sinatra, she wrote: “He never liked to discuss a performance afterward because he knew his voice wasn’t as good as it used to be.

“If someone told him he’d been great, he’d reply, ‘It was a nice crowd, but my reed was off’ or ‘I wasn’t so good on the third number’.

“Strangely, in spite of his hearing problems, he had the most incredible ear, which often drove those he worked with nuts. There could be an orchestra of a hundred musicians, and if one played a bum note he’d know exactly who was responsible.”

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