LP Originally released - September, 1965
Sinatra was to turn 50 years old in December 1965, and the release of the albums September of My Years, A Man and His Music and Strangers in the Night marked a surge of popularity in Sinatra's music. Both September of My Years and A Man and His Music won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year
Sinatra's performance of "It Was a Very Good Year" won the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Male, at the Grammy Awards of 1966. Arranger Gordon Jenkins was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for the same song. This was the first album Sinatra and Jenkins had recorded together since 1959's No One Cares. Jenkins and Sinatra would next work together on the 1980 album Trilogy: Past Present Future.
CBS-TV cameras were rolling the night Sinatra recorded "It Was A Very Good Year". The edited result was included in a Walter Cronkite CBS News special about the singer's 50th birthday, broadcast on November 16, 1965.
And also, on the 2010 release of Sinatra's "September of My Years" album, two bonus tracks are included. One that has Sinatra singing "This Is All I Ask" at Carnegie Hall on June 1984, and another bonus track that has him singing "How Old Am I?" on the 1968 single.
All Music Guide
September of My Years is one of Frank Sinatra's triumphs of the '60s, an album that consolidated his strengths while moving him into new territory, primarily in terms of tone. More than the double-disc set A Man and His Music - which was released a year after this album - September of My Years captures how Sinatra was at the time of his 50th birthday. Gordon Jenkins' rich, stately, and melancholy arrangements give the album an appropriate reflective atmosphere. Most of the songs are new or relatively recent numbers; every cut fits into a loose theme of aging, reflection, and regret. Sinatra, however, doesn't seem stuck in his ways - though the songs are rooted in traditional pop, they touch on folk and contemporary pop. As such, the album offered a perfect summary, as well as suggesting future routes for the singer.
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Tonight will not swing. Tonight is for serious.
Inside, the musicians, led by coatless, posture-free Gordon Jenkins, rehearse their voice-empty arrangements. Waiting for his arrival.
Outside, in the hall, the uniformed guards wait and wonder, what to do with their hands.
Unruly fiddle players, who love recording like they love traffic jams, tonight they bring along the wives, who wait to one side in black beaded sweaters.
And these wives and these fiddle players and all of these are different tonight. For in a few minutes a poet will begin to speak of years ago.
He arrives. Tie loosened, collar loosened. The guards at the studio door edge out of the way.
"Good morning, sir," he says. "Who's got the ball game on."
Thirty orchestra wives wish they had the late scores memorized. Four men look around for a transistor radio.
"Hello, Sidney, how are ya. What's happening in the music business?"
He strolls up behind Gordon Jenkins, who is rehearsing his strings. Sinatra listens for 32 bars, then turns to Mike Romanoff. "The way this guy writes strings, if he were Jewish, he'd be unbearable."
The Prince wakes up a bit.
"You ready, Gordie?"
"I'm ready," replies Jenkins. "I'm always ready. I was ready in 1939."
"I was ready when I was nine."
He walks to his music stand, clearing his throat. "Think I swallowed a shot glass."
Jenkins starts a song, conducting with arms waist high, sweeping them side to side. Not leading his orchestra: being the orchestra.
Sinatra begins to sing his September's reflections. Jenkins, on the podium two feet above, turns from his orchestra to face his singer. He beams down attentively, his face that of a father after his son's first no-hitter.
The wives in their black beaded sweaters muffle their charm bracelets.
He sings of the penny days. Of the rose-lipt girls and candy apple times. Of green winds, of a first lass who had perfumed hair. April thoughts.
He sings with perspective. This vital man, this archetype of the good life, this idolized star...this man pauses. He looks back. He remembers, and graces his memory with a poet's vision.
He has lived enough for two lives, and can sing now of September. Of the bruising days. Of the rouged lips and bourbon times. Of chill winds, of forgotten ladies who ride in limousines.
September can be an attitude or an age or a wistful reality. For this man, it is a time of love. A time to sing.
A thousand days hath September.