Welcome back.  The season for gift-giving has arrived.  And do I have a present for you!


The contributions of Billy May to the Sinatra musical legacy cannot be overstated.  Examples?  Luck Be a Lady, Come Fly with Me, On the Road to Mandalay, Autumn in New York, April in Paris.  A tuba player first who turned to trumpet, Billy was seasoned in the big band era.



In the fifties, May would lead one of the most popular bands of the day.  But his prowess as an arranger-conductor, particularly during his Capitol Records tenure, placed Bill May atop the list of desired collaborators for every significant vocalist of the era, including Frank Sinatra.



In 2004, I sat down with Billy in his San Juan Capistrano home, south of Los Angeles.  It would be his final radio interview.  That visit is captured in two hours of music and conversation.

Chapter Eighteen, the first of those two hours, airs Saturday, December 1 at 6pm Eastern and Sunday, December 2 at 8am Eastern on Metromedia Radio – metromediaradio.net.


After the interview, I pulled a still-sealed LP copy of Come Fly with Me from my brief case, tore away the cellophane, and asked for Billy’s autograph.  Here it is, as it hangs on the wall, just left of my recording position.

I treasure Billy’s gift, the afternoon we spent together, and the two SONGBOOK chapters that are the result.

After listening to Part One, please click Contact at the upper-right and share your impressions.



Building a Sinatra collection?  Since this blog began, I have been sharing titles that are worthy additions to your shopping list.  Next on that list…


Ring-a-Ding-Ding! (1961) The first album from Frank’s label, Reprise.  Johnny Mandel sports the arranger-conductor hat on this date.

And this date really swings!

Not a bad chart in the bunch.  In the Still of the Night, The Coffee Song, Let’s Fall in Love and nine more tracks showcase Mandel’s crisp inventions.


to be continued…