Frank Sinatra: “That’s Life”

Frank Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, NJ. I wish he were still around entertaining us, but that’s life.

Below, Sinatra sings “That’s Life,” which was released in 1966. Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon wrote “That’s Life,” which was first recorded by Marion Montgomery and released in 1963.

Over the years, a number of artists have recorded the song. You recently may have heard a current version in a television commercial for Jariance prescription diabetes medicine.

Sinatra, who passed away in 1998, first heard “That’s Life” in a version by singer O.C. Smith, who had a popular version of the song “Little Green Apples.” Smith, who was born in 1932, passed away in 2001. Below is Smith’s version of “That’s Life.”

One can hear how Smith’s own excellent version would have attracted Sinatra to the song. Sinatra’s version, which would become the most recognizable version of “That’s Life,” appeared on his 1966 album That’s Life.

Happy birthday Frank, wherever you are.

What is your favorite Frank Sinatra song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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  • The Cowboy Philosopher Will Rogers
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    The Cowboy Philosopher Will Rogers

    On November 4, 1879, William Penn Adair Rogers was born on a ranch in Cherokee Indian territory.  His birthplace was near what is now Oologah, Oklahoma.  The family called the young boy by the name “Will,” and he would grow up to be beloved by the country as Will Rogers.

    In 1898, the young man left home to work as a cowboy, and in 1902 began his show business career when he joined Texas Jack‘s Wild West show as a trick roper and rider. Before long, Rogers realized that audiences loved his humor and cowboy philosophy, eventually becoming a national celebrity through movie roles, magazine and newspaper articles, and in-person and radio appearances.

    Bacon, Beans, and Limousines

    Rogers’s honest humor struck a chord with America as it went into the Great Depression. In 1931, President Herbert Hoover’s Organization on Unemployment Relief asked him to address the nation. Rogers delivered what became known as his “Bacon, Beans, and Limousines” speech, where he addressed unemployment and the causes of the Depression.

    Check out this video of the October 18, 1931 speech from the Will Rogers Memorial Museums.

    Death

    Will Rogers, however, did not get to see the end of the Depression, as he passed away on August 15, 1935. Rogers was an advocate for the early aviation industry, and he died in a plane crash while traveling in Alaska with renowned aviator Wiley Post. Many mourned the passing of one of the most beloved Americans whose life overlapped with another rising Oklahoma philosopher, Woody Guthrie (1912-1967).

    TV and Film

    The weekly television show Man of the Year paid tribute to Will Rogers when it looked back on the year 1935. The interesting episode features a lot of video footage of Rogers.

    The video covers the life of Will Rogers, and around the 12:20 mark, the host introduces humorists Steve Allen and Fred Allen to discuss the importance of the cowboy philosopher.

    Several actors have portrayed Rogers in movies, including Keith Carradine (who also played Woody Guthrie in a film). I recall first learning about Will Rogers from the 1952 film called The Story of Will Rogers, where Will Rogers, Jr. portrayed his father.

    Many today may not know much about Will Rogers, but he was significantly influential in his time and worth remembering on this anniversary of his birth.

    Public domain photo via Library of Congress. What is your favorite Will Rogers story? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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  • Frank Sinatra: “That’s Life”
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    Happy 70th Birthday Bob!

    In honor of the 70th anniversary of the birth of Robert Allen Zimmerman, aka Bob Dylan, there are a lot of birthday articles on the Internet today. Chimesfreedom has some more Dylan-related posts coming up soon in the pipeline, but for this day where there are already so many Dylan stories, we are providing links to some of the more interesting articles about the man on his 70th birthday:

    Slate has a story by John Dickerson about why it is so hard to figure out Dylan.

    Cleveland.com looks at some new DVD and Blu-ray releases from Dylan.

    Entertainment Weekly celebrates Bob’s birthday with an article about an interview tape revealing Dylan was addicted to heroin in the 1960s.

    Rolling Stone celebrates with several articles this month, including an article about several artists explaining their favorite Dylan song, a ranking of the 10 Best Dylan songs, a list of 20 Overlooked Classic Dylan songs, and a Dylan quiz.

    – The Onion’s A.V. Club (Philadelphia) recalls “some of the weird shit he’s done.”

    – From Dylan’s home state, Minnesota Public Radio recounts his roots. Also from his home state, a short letter to the Duluth News Tribune questions why a manhole cover is being dedicated to Dylan.

    Catch the Film has some video of Dylan’s first days in New York. Along the same lines, Morrison Hotel Gallery has an awesome photo of Dylan in a convenience store in 2000.

    – Bob Dylan’s birthday is noted around the world. The Japan Times writes about why Dylan is one of a kind. The Irish Times also has an article on the birthday.

    – A New York Times op-ed reflects on Dylan’s age and a number of other artists who were born around the same time.

    – The Kankakee Daily Journal offers a retrospective on Dylan’s career.

    WNYC compares the birthday boy to Lady Gaga, apparently because they were trying to think of something new to say.

    Finally, because we love him for the music, here is one of his great recent songs about getting old, “Not Dark Yet,” from the 1997 album Time Out of Mind.

    I was born here and I’ll die here against my will;
    I know it looks like I’m movin’ but I’m standin’ still;
    Every nerve in my body is so naked and numb,
    I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from;
    Don’t even hear the murmur of a prayer;
    It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there.

    Here’s to many more birthdays avoiding the darkness. Thanks for the light you have given us, and happy birthday Bob.

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