At 85 years old, Country Music Hall of Fame member Willie Nelson remains a headlining concert attraction and a prolific recording artist. On September 14th, Nelson will release his second album of 2018, paying homage to friend and fellow music icon Frank Sinatra. My Way, the follow-up to April’s Last Man Standing, features Nelson’s versions of songs closely associated with Sinatra, whom Nelson first heard at 10 years old when Sinatra joined the radio program Your Hit Parade.
Co-produced by Buddy Cannon and Matt Rollings and populated with lush string and horn arrangements, My Way lovingly illustrates the lessons in unique phrasing Nelson learned from Sinatra. Rather surprisingly, Sinatra served as an opening act for Nelson in 1987 when Willie played the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, the very town Sinatra would come to be synonymous with throughout his career.
“Though he was a million miles from western swing, he had a sweet swing of his own,” Nelson wrote in his 2015 autobiography, It’s a Long Story, of the Hoboken-born entertainer, who died in 1998 at age 82. “There was a tenderness to his voice, a purity and ease of phrasing.” The two would also appear together, joking about Nelson’s trademark braids and touting space research in a 1987 public service announcement for NASA’s Space Foundation. Nelson was also among the artists featured on Sinatra’s Duets and Duets II. A special 2005 reissue of those multi-million-selling LPs featured Nelson and Sinatra performing “My Way,” which was an international hit for Sinatra in 1969.
Just as “My Way” had its musical origins in France, with English lyrics written by Paul Anka, “Summer Wind” originated in Europe as well, as a German tune called “Der Sommerwind.” Its English lyrics were penned by Johnny Mercer and Sinatra’s original version first appeared on his 1966 LP, Strangers in the Night. With that chart-topping hit and “Summer Wind” reaching the Top 30, Sinatra earned his first Number One pop album in six years. “Summer Wind” has since been covered by dozens of artists and was recently included on the Blade Runner 2049 film soundtrack.
My Way marks Nelson’s 12th studio album for Sony’s Legacy Recordings, a partnership that has already seen the Gershwin Prize recipient surpass sales of one million for the label.
Here’s the My Way track listing:
- “Fly Me to the Moon”
- “Summer Wind”
- “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”
- “A Foggy Day”
- “It Was a Very Good Year”
- “Blue Moon”
- “I’ll Be Around”
- “Night and Day”
- “What Is This Thing Called Love” (with Norah Jones)
- “Young at Heart”
- “My Way”