On July 13th, 1939, Francis Albert Sinatra, known simply as The Voice, makes his recording debut with the Harry James Band. Legend has it that Sinatra was not breathing when born in his mother’s kitchen and only revived due to the exertions of his grandmother, finding out early on that luck would be a lady. When he turned twenty-one, he was discovered, and that was a very good year. The Voice matured and morphed into the Chairman of the Board and then Old Blue Eyes. Through it all, there was doubt, including at least two suicide attempts (real or feigned depending on the source) and several high-profile marriages and break-ups. There were smash hits and total flubs, two Academy Awards, and a “retirement” in 1971 that led to one thousand more shows. Born in a Hoboken kitchen, he lived to sing among the stars. Tributes at his death predictably were set to one of his most revered recordings: My Way, a song he reportedly loathed. Ain’t that a kick in the head?
Humans, famous or otherwise, look to others for cues on how to behave socially. Most people want to fit in, though Frank may be unique in singing a song called My Way while attempting to do so. But he, like most of us, stick with something because it is associated with positive experiences and reinforcement. Researchers have noted that otherwise knowledgeable authorities tend to reflect current opinion even if they have data of their own that contradicts such beliefs. They subconsciously conform to the group, especially over time, as ideas become more and more entrenched. They may hate My Way, but they too feel they must sing it to be relevant. Want to swing easy on the street of dreams with more than three coins in your fountain? Take the experts with a grain of salt and a shot of Jack Daniels. Don’t drink? You have Frank’s eternal pity, since “when you wake up in the morning that’s the best you’re gonna’ feel all day!”
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