The ongoing celebration of Frank Sinatra‘s centennial year continues November 20th with A Voice on Air: 1935–1955, a four-CD compilation of vintage radio performances. The set features 1oo tracks, a whopping 91 of which are previously unreleased. We’re premiering one of those songs, Sinatra’s 1946 duet with Nat King Cole on the Jimmy McHugh–Dorothy Fields standard “Exactly Like You,” which also features some charming stage banter between the two legends.
Sinatra and Cole shared a label, Capitol, in their heyday but never recorded an album together. This track comes from the 30-minute variety program Songs by Sinatra. “Cut loose there, balcony,” says Sinatra during his introduction of Nat King Cole and his trio, a speech that also includes a plug for cigarette maker and show sponsor Old Gold. The host riffs with his guest about Cole’s packed showbiz schedule. (“When do you get time to sleep?” “Well, every now and then, we play a dreamy little thing, and I sort of ooze and doze off.”) Sinatra then mock-pleads with Cole for a chance to sit in with the band. Cole concedes, and the pair trade off lines during a brief rendition of “Exactly Like You,” with Sinatra offering winking asides. In addition to the Cole duet, A Voice on Air also features examples of Sinatra performing alongside Doris Day, Benny Goodman and Irving Berlin.
December 12th marks the 100th anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birth. The week before, on December 6th, CBS broadcasts Sinatra 100 — An All-Star Grammy Concert, a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes featuring John Legend, Usher, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Tony Bennett, Alicia Keys, Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood.