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, June 14 at 6pm Eastern and Sunday, June 15 at 8am Eastern on Metromedia Radio – metromediaradio.net.
Following the recording of this 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.
WHY SINATRA MATTERS
Pete Hamill (Little Brown and Company)
In preparing for that never-to-be-written volume, Hamill and Sinatra spent many hours discussing the singer’s long, successful career. Those conversations provided the foundation for Hamill’s tribute, Why Sinatra Matters.
Concise at 185 pages, Pete’s essay is a carefully considered assessment of a complex life, a dynamic musical force and of the legacy that remains. Why Sinatra Matters may well be the ultimate eulogy.
NELSON RIDDLE: IN HIS OWN WORDS
Two final opportunities to catch this intimate, first-person consideration of Nelson’s life in music.
Encore Performances –
Thursday, June 13 at Noon EST and Friday, June 21 at 8:00PM EST.
Exclusively on Metromedia Radio.
to be continued…