BOOK REVIEW by JOHN TUCCI:
In the interest of being helpful, I wanted to suggest two books I enjoyed thoroughly as Christmas gift ideas for the Italian music loving reader on your list by pointing out two books about American music legends with Italian roots.
Sinatra: The Chairman
by James Kaplan
Sinatra had the world on a string, Had the string around his finger What a world.
This book is the sequel to James Kaplan’s book Frank: The Voice. It completes a definitive biography of Frank Sinatra.
Mr. Kaplan goes behind the legend to give us the man in full, in his many guises and aspects: peerless singer, accomplished actor, business mogul, lover, and associate of the powerful and infamous.
Sinatra: The Chairman, begins with the day after he won his Academy Award in 1954 and had reestablished himself as the top recording artist.
Sinatra’s life post-Oscar was astonishing in scope and achievement and, occasionally, scandal, including immortal recordings almost too numerous to count, romantic affairs, films, Rat Pack adventures, and an involvement in politics that continues to intrigue.
James Kaplan has orchestrated disparate aspects of Frank Sinatra’s life and character into an American epic. It is a towering achievement in biography.
What places this (and Frank: The Voice, the first volume) above others is that it addresses Sinatra’s artistry, rather than just lurid details. This is more than merely a tabloid biography; it’s substantive exploration of the man in all his genius and his messy details.
Born to Run
by Bruce Springsteen
First, the obvious question. What does Bruce Springsteen have to do with
Italians? As The Boss explains in his candid autobiography, Born to Run, Springsteen is a New York (not New Jersey?!) Dutch name. Well, The Boss’ mother’s maiden name was Zerilli. That’s right. Bruce Springsteen is half-Italian. Our friends from St. James the Greater parish in Dogtown will be pleased to know that Bruce is also half Irish.
Oh, and here is a Bruce connection to the great Italian, Frank Sinatra. In his autobiography, Springsteen recounts evenings spent at private parties the at the Chairman’s house. Of course, Sinatra, liked the Boss’ singing, but he really liked the Bruce’s wife’s (Patti Scialfa) singing – referring to her as a great torch singing as she helped sing standards. The Springsteens were one of the very few rock stars invited to the Chairman’s funeral.
Both books are recommended as Christmas gifts and for all want to enjoy a good biography.