Capitol Records released its compilation of Frank Sinatra recordings (1953 -1961) through “The Capitol Years” album in 1990 to correspond with his 75th birthday. The three compact disc compilation is filled with a large quantity of Sinatra classics during his stellar career at Capitol.
The tracks are a full line up of his songs, although disjointed and not organized by linear means; more like hearing all the various moods lodged together in one collection. The compilation also delivers singles — revealing a nice break from the album format.
The three-album set offers plenty of wonderful music that any Sinatra fan will adore. “I’ve Got the World on a String” is Sinatra’s first collaboration with arranger and conductor Nelson Riddle. The song became a favorite of Sinatra’s to open a concert or Las Vegas show. “All of Me” is yet another great recording Sinatra did with Riddle after he had been singing it for more than 10 years. “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” is another true Sinatra classic to hit our deepest wounds. Although the song was meant for Nat King Cole, Sinatra was fortuitous to record the hit song with Riddle. That in itself is an interesting story. Many consider “Wee Small Hours” his finest work ever. Riddle also worked with Cole, and their success together was anything but mediocre. One of Cole’s most popular songs as well as the biggest selling single – Mona Lisa – was arranged by Riddle but he gave credit to Les Baxter.
Interestingly, Nelson Riddle was known for being the Sinatra’s greatest arranger, but he never received a Grammy working with Sinatra like Billy May, Gordon Jenkins or Ernie Freeman. The album is filled with gems and the set is a great sampler to appreciate the singer’s achievements during the Capitol years.