My Kind of Town

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"My Kind of Town"
Single by Frank Sinatra
from the album The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings
A-side "My Kind of Town"
B-side "I Like To Lead When I Dance"
Released 1964
Format 45
Recorded 1964
Length 3:25
Label Reprise Records
Writer(s) Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen
Frank Sinatra singles chronology
"Stay With Me (Theme From The Cardinal)"
(1963)
"My Kind of Town"
(1964)
"Softly, As I Leave You"
(1964)

"My Kind of Town" or "My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)" is a popular song composed by Jimmy Van Heusen, with lyrics by Sammy Cahn.[1] It was originally part of the musical score for Robin and the 7 Hoods, a 1964 musical film starring several members of the Rat Pack.[2] It was nominated for the 1964 Academy Award for Best Original Song but lost to "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins.[3] Although the song predated the Grammy Award Best Original Song for a Motion Picture category, the entire score was nominated for the 1964 Grammy Award in the category Best Original Score Written for A Motion Picture, but it lost to the eponymously titled Mary Poppins score.[4]

Frank Sinatra recorded several versions which have appeared on many of his albums. Also, many artists have performed the song as a tribute to Sinatra in posthumous tribute albums. In addition, the song had been recorded by many other artists prior to Sinatra's death. The lyrics, which praise the city of Chicago for its people and institutions, repeat the phrase My Kind of Town several times, usually in a line that says "My kind of town, Chicago is".

Versions[edit]

The original context of the song, in the film Robin and the 7 Hoods, is the mob boss Robbo (Sinatra) having just been acquitted of murdering the sheriff, a crime for which he had been framed. He walks out of the courthouse and joyously sings the song in gratitude to the gathered crowd of Chicagoans. The people eventually join in the singing. Instrumental versions of the song make up the opening and closing credits, and a dance band also plays the song in Robbo's speakeasy.

Popularized by Sinatra, "My Kind of Town" was originally recorded on April 8, 1964 in Los Angeles, California. The official B-side song was "I Like To Lead When I Dance". The song was recorded as a 45 on Reprise Records.[5] The sheet music was copyrighted and published by Sergeant Music Co., Glorste Inc. and Van Heusen Music Corp. The music is written in the key of A-flat, in 2/2 meter (known as cut time) with an allegro tempo.[6]

Sinatra recorded "My Kind of Town" twice in a studio setting, and two live versions were officially released, on Sinatra at the Sands (1966) and The Main Event – Live (1974).[7] One of the more famous bootleg recordings is a May 22, 1968 concert at the Oakland Coliseum.[8] On the 1966 album Sinatra at the Sands, the song appears both as the 20th and 22nd (final) track.[9] However, the final track is merely a one-minute reprise. On the 1994 album Duets II, Sinatra sings with his son, Frank Sinatra, Jr., as the 13th of 14 tracks with a length of 2:36.[10]

Sinatra would occasionally alter the lyrics slightly. In early versions, when the Union Stock Yards (which closed in 1971) still existed, one of the final lines was "The Union Stock Yards, Chicago is...".[1] In later versions, this line is replaced with "The Chicago Cubbies, Chicago is".[11] The song also appears on The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection: Live & Swingin', a 2003 DVD and CD release of the 1965 "Frank Sinatra Spectacular" benefit concert. However, since the concert takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, the lyrics were altered to reflect St. Louis as the town in Sinatra's affections.[12][13]

Frank Sinatra's original studio recording

Duet version with Frank Sinatra and Frank Sinatra, Jr.

Problems playing these files? See media help.
Recording Date Company Format Album Track:Album Album Date Collaborators Arranged by
1964-04-08 Reprise Records Studio Sinatra '65: The Singer Today 6/11:1/1 June 1965 Nelson Riddle
1966-02-01 Reprise Records Live (The Sands Hotel, Las Vegas) Sinatra at the Sands 20/22:1/1, 22/22:1/1 1966-10-18 the Count Basie Band Nelson Riddle
1974-10-13 Reprise Records Live The Main Event – Live 11/12:1/1 October 1974 Woody Herman & The Young Thundering Herd Nelson Riddle
1993-07-09 Capitol Records Electronic Duet Duets II 13/14:1/1 1994-11-15 Frank Sinatra, Jr. Nelson Riddle

Although some sources say the song was arranged by Nelson Riddle (who had scored Robin and the 7 Hoods), the "Sinatra Reprise: Very Good Years" Album Cover credits Billy May as the arranger.[14]

The following is a list of notable compilation albums with Sinatra's versions of the song:

  1. Sinatra: Vegas[15]
  2. Oakland Coliseum Concert: May 22, 1968[8]
  3. A Man and His Music[16]
  4. Sinatra at the Sands[17]
  5. The Reprise Collection[18]
  6. Frank Sinatra in Hollywood 1940-1964[19]
  7. Robin and the 7 Hoods[20]
  8. The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings[21]
  9. The Main Event – Live[22]
  10. Duets II (DVD)[23]

Awards[edit]

Academy Awards[edit]

The song was one of 26 for which Cahn was nominated for an Academy Award as a writer and one of 14 for which Van Heusen was nominated as a composer. Both won 4 academy awards and 3 of them as a team. The April 5, 1965 37th Academy Awards was the last of four times Cahn was nominated for two songs in the same year, and the second of two times for Van Heusen. It was the only time that they had two songs nominated as a team, with the other being "Where Love Has Gone" from Where Love Has Gone sung by Jack Jones.[40] In addition to the winner, "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins, other songs nominated in 1964 were "Dear Heart from Dear Heart and "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" from Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte.[3]

Grammy Awards[edit]

The Grammy Awards did not have a Best Song Written for a Motion Picture category until 1988. However, the entire score was nominated for Best Original Score Written for A Motion Picture or Television Show in the April 13, 19657th Grammy Awards ceremony for 1964 musical accomplishments where it lost to the Mary Poppins score.[4] Other credited vocalists on the score were Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, and Sammy Davis, Jr. It also competed against A Hard Day's Night, Goldfinger and The Pink Panther in this category.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

Related songs[edit]

Aaron Tippin sings a song with different lyrics by the same name.[42] Frank Sinatra sings a popular version of "Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)" that charted and was the B-side to the 1957 Academy Award for Best Original Song winner, "All the Way".

On Ruby Braff's 1981 tribute album, Very Sinatra he does a medley called "New York, New York/My Kind Of Town (Chicago Is)".[43] On Barry Manilow's 1998 album Manilow Sings Sinatra, he includes a 3:00 version of the song.[44]

Jack Jones, who won two Grammy Awards in the 1960s and charted dozens of songs including the theme from The Love Boat, recorded an album entitled My Kind of Town with a title track by the same name.[45] Among the other artists who have recorded versions of the song are Ray Anthony, Count Basie (twice), Ray Conniff, Marvin Gaye, Jackie Gleason, Jeff Harnar, Biréli Lagrène, Steve Lawrence, Julie London, Frankie Randall (several times), and West of Eden. In addition several albums by the Rat Pack,[46][47] multiple karaoke albums and dozens of Frank Sinatra albums have versions of the song.[48]

The lyric, "Each time I roam / Chicago is calling me home" is echoed in a 1985 song, written and perform by Paul David Wilson, and featuring artist by Lee Montgomery called "Calling Me Home, Chicago", [1] which includes the line "Chicago is calling me home". Unlike the lively "My Kind of Town", "Calling Me Home, Chicago" is a leisurely paced ballad.

In 1966, then Baltimore County Executive and future Vice President of the United States Spiro T. Agnew used a variation, substituting the lyric "My Kind of Man, Ted Agnew is..." as a campaign song during his successful run for Governor of Maryland.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Frank Sinatra My Kind Of Town Lyrics". SeekLyrics.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  2. ^ Shapiro, Nat and Bruce Pollock (eds.), "Popular Music 1920-1979, (A Revised Cumulation)" Volume 2: Song Listing J-T, 1985, Gale Research Company, ISBN 0-8103-0847-9.
  3. ^ a b "1964 (37th) - MUSIC (Song)". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  4. ^ a b c "1964 - 7th Grammy Awards". Sinatra - The Main Event. 1999. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 
  5. ^ "Songs by Sinatra". Tom Rednour & Wordcrafters Graphic Design. 2000-07-31. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  6. ^ Cahn, Sammy and Jimmy Van Heusen, "My Kind of Town", 1964, Sergeant Music Co., Glorste Inc. and Van Heusen Music Corp.
  7. ^ "Songs by Sinatra: Songs A2Z". Tom Rednour & Wordcrafters Graphic Design. 2000-07-31. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  8. ^ a b "Oakland Coliseum Concert: May 22, 1968". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  9. ^ "Sinatra at the Sands". Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  10. ^ "Duets II". Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  11. ^ "My Kind Of Town". waste.org. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  12. ^ "The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection: Live & Swingin (CD & DVD)". Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  13. ^ "Live and Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection". Internet Movie Database Inc. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  14. ^ "Sinatra Reprise: Very Good Years" Album Cover, pg 10., 1991, Reprise Records
  15. ^ "Sinatra: Vegas". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  16. ^ "A Man and His Music". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  17. ^ "Sinatra at the Sands". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  18. ^ "The Reprise Collection". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  19. ^ a b "Sinatra in Hollywood 1940-1964". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  20. ^ "Robin and the 7 Hoods". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  21. ^ "The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  22. ^ "The Main Event – Live". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  23. ^ "Duets II". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  24. ^ "Ultimate Legends: Frank Sinatra". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  25. ^ "A Night on the Town With the Rat Pack". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  26. ^ "My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  27. ^ "Sings the Songs of Van Heusen & Cahn". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  28. ^ "The Rat Pack on Stage: Las Vegas/St. Louis". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  29. ^ "The Very Best of Frank Sinatra". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  30. ^ "Rat Pack: Live & Cool". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  31. ^ "Sinatra!". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  32. ^ "Man and His Music 3". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  33. ^ "Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  34. ^ "Sinatra!". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  35. ^ "Rat Pack: From Vegas to St. Louis". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  36. ^ "My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  37. ^ "Live and Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  38. ^ "The Best Duets". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  39. ^ "Most Famous Hits". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  40. ^ "Results displayed by nominee". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  41. ^ "NATO Blog Day 3: Anti-war march and rally end with confrontations". Chicago Tribune. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2012-07-10. 
  42. ^ "Aaron Tippin Lyrics - My Kind of Town". lyricscrawler.com. Roy Russo. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  43. ^ "Very Sinatra". Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  44. ^ "Manilow Sings Sinatra". Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  45. ^ "My Kind of Town". Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  46. ^ "Live from Las Vegas". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  47. ^ "The Rat Pack Collection". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  48. ^ "Song Search Results for: My Kind Of Town". Allmusic. All Media Guide, LLC. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-01. [dead link]

External links[edit]