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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's A Quarter To Three
There's an old maxim: if Sinatra wears a hat on the cover, the LP swings.
He's wearing clown make-up on the cover of SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY. So don't be looking for swingin' dance tunes.
This is an album to listen to alone, unfortunately. On the rocks, if you get my double meaning.
For the casual listener, there aren't many familiar faces on this great...
Published on June 15 2001 by David Bradley

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Musically Disappointing
I was disappointed with the musical quality of the songs. Yes, Frank Sinatra's performance was quite good and the lyrics were poignant. However, I found it hard to connect to the lyrics and the feelings that Sinatra was trying to relate because of the dryness of the music. There have been many sad songs written which were far superior musically to anything here...
Published on Feb. 14 1999


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's A Quarter To Three, June 15 2001
By 
David Bradley "David Bradley" (Sterling, VA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sings For Only The Lonely (Audio CD)
There's an old maxim: if Sinatra wears a hat on the cover, the LP swings.
He's wearing clown make-up on the cover of SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY. So don't be looking for swingin' dance tunes.
This is an album to listen to alone, unfortunately. On the rocks, if you get my double meaning.
For the casual listener, there aren't many familiar faces on this great LP, except for the masterful "One For The Road," maybe the greatest saloon song of all time.
He does it even better than Mary Richards.
Sinatra understood this music better than anyone. It's not going to be great party music, or the kind of thing you want to listen to on a first date. But man oh man, can it rip your heart out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Takes a Backseat to "September" but still essential, Dec 9 2001
This review is from: Sings For Only The Lonely (Audio CD)
"Only the Lonely" is reminiscent of John Coltrane's "Ballads". The mood is bleak, somber, sad, and lacking the punch of a later classic - in Trane's case, 'A Love Supreme'; in Sinatra's, its 'September of My Years".
Still, Sinatra sounds amazing. The two standout tracks that kick off the CD, 'Only the Lonely' and "Angel Eyes' are perfect. The rest of the songs are not on the same level, but the arrangements and Sinatra's voice are consistent throughout. "Only the Lonely" is essential Sinatra, it just took 7 years till he put it all together.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sing for us again, Frank, Feb. 5 2004
This review is from: Sings For Only The Lonely (Audio CD)
The 20th Century may be long gone now and Sinatra no longer with us, but one shouldn't forget that the music from his time still remains. I'm 17 years old and I never grew up listening to his material. I'm mostly into guitar-driven rock music, but I still keep coming back to this album over and over. "Only the Lonely" is the perfect accompaniment for those solitary nights and the ballads never grow old. While many are familiar with his swingin' commercial hits, Frank fully showcased his capabilities through his sad concept records and "Only the Lonely" is no exception.
Those who think his songs are boring and cheesy have obviously never been exposed to good music before. From the opening title track to the rhythmic and catchy 'Blues in the Night' to the amazing rendition of 'One for My Baby' until the closing opus of 'Where or When', it will have you hooked from beginning to end. The orchestrations of arranger and conducting genius Nelson Riddle, coupled with Frank's haunting voice and the imagery produced from the lyrics themselves come together to create a masterpiece. If the jewel case art doesn't get your attention, then a first listen certainly will.
You won't receive any disappointment. "Only the Lonely" sets this mood that's nearly impossible to recreate anywhere else by anyone else. Honestly, how often in a lifetime do you come across records like this? Words simply cannot explain it. Even after almost half a century, you'll return to listening time after time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Maybe it's because nobody loves me", Jan. 28 2004
By 
E. A. Lovitt "starmoth" (Gladwin, MI USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sings For Only The Lonely (Audio CD)
This album was recorded over several days in late May and June of 1958, and I've been listening to it almost ever since. I've always been a Johnny Mercer fan, too, and a couple of his best songs are recorded on this album: the rueful "One for my Baby;" and the darker, angrier "Blues in the Night."
In my opinion "Only the Lonely" is Sinatra's greatest album. It is a collection of twelve ballads (plus two additions on the CD: "Sleep Warm"; and "Where or When") that Sinatra turns into dramatic monologue supported by music. The individual notes supporting each logical phrase in a song are seamlessly bound together--"He sings with such a beautiful legato!" the music critic Virgil Thomson once remarked.
In general, I'm not a popular music fan, being more inclined toward opera where this singer's reedy baritone would be out of place. But what Sinatra sings, he sings perfectly. Opera singers who attempt to go the other way and record popular ballads generally end up embarrassing themselves, especially if their songs were previously interpreted by Sinatra.

His golden age truly began in the 50s when he signed a contract with Capitol Records, hired Nelson Riddle as his chief arranger, and recorded a series of 'concept' albums that included this album on the loneliness of love.
A singer achieves stardom only to the extent that he succeeds in expressing his personality through music. Sinatra's ability to do this is most especially evident here where he personifies the lover who is unlucky in love. He is by turn rueful, melancholy, self-pitying, and sometimes a little angry---and if you're anywhere above the onset of puberty, I think you will understand exactly what he means. This is his gift to anyone who has ever felt rejected and alone.
Sinatra really deserves to be remembered as, in the words of the music critic John Rockwell, "the greatest singer in the history of American popular music."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collaborative work of art, Sept. 21 2003
By 
Caponsacchi (Kenosha,, WI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sings For Only The Lonely (Audio CD)
"Only the Lonely" is far more than a collection of emotional torch songs by Sinatra: it's a stunning tone poem with remarkable unity and coherence as well as variety. Listen to each of Riddle's introductions to the separate "movements." The opening track employs acoustic piano and strings in the style of Rachmaninoff, inviting all "loners" to a kind of romantic, formal place for jilted lovers. But when that place is examined more closely in "It's a Lonesome Town," Riddle's use of double reeds and string overtones evokes a picture of personal subjectivity and malaise. By the time we get to "Goodbye," the subject's isolation is complete, his irrevocable aloneness portrayed as elegy by English horn and cellos. Next, the ensemble sound of flutes, double reeds, and clarinet introduces "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Up to Dry" and several more songs that explore the subject's relation with nature. In "Ebb Tide" the subject seeks an end to self-consciousness through identification with natural process; but in "Spring Is Here" he becomes acutely aware of his singular exclusion from nature. In each instance, Riddle's orchestral colors paint a vivid picture before the song's narrative unfolds. Far from bathing the singer in an ocean of sound, the strings are used so selectively that we're often unaware of their presence. The singer's resignation to loneliness in "One More for My Baby" is scored so sparingly that the accompaniment seems to offer proof of the meaning conveyed by the lyrics.
This elegiac masterpiece by Sinatra and Riddle may be superficially about loss, but at a deeper aesthetic level it's about the compensating satisfactions made possible through art.
This is one Sinatra album that you don't want to download in pieces or purchase as part of a "Greatest Hits" anthology.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you're depressed it won't help, Dec 31 2000
By 
ALAIN ROBERT (ST-HUBERT,QUEBEC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sings For Only The Lonely (Audio CD)
Following in tone and mood the classic WEE WEE HOURS album,FRANK and NELSON RIDDLE do not succeed as well with this one ,also an album of ballads.The overall effect intended gets lost somewhere along the way,but of course this is still a good record.The title track is pen by his longtime friend SAMMY CAHN;yes it's true that ONE FOR MY BABY is done very tastefully and is irresistible.Is it any wonder that the best numbers are the MERCER and RODGERS songs.Time never take anything from the great ones.Good, but not in the top 10 CAPITOL album list.It's a matter of taste, but i like SONGS FOR SWINGIN' LOVERS and COME DANCE WITH ME so much.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Pinnacle of the Sinatra/Riddle Partnership..., April 16 2004
By 
W. S. Ferguson "KingPinHead" (Des Moines, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sings For Only The Lonely (Audio CD)
Though Sinatra can be said to have reinvented "swing" in the 1950's with his string of stellar recordings for Capitol, his artistic powers were maximized in his treatment of ballads. Nowhere are these abilities better showcased than in the present offering. Nelson Riddle prepared the darkest, most brooding, and haunting arrangements of his career, framing Sinatra's performances ideally, which combine his richest vocal timbre with interpretations that are thoroughly assured and convincing, but with the vital tinges of fragility suggested in the songs' lyrics. A number of these songs in this collection are, to my mind, the "definitive" vocal versions, amongst these "Angel Eyes", "What's New?", "Spring is Here", "Willow Weep for Me" and "One For My Baby." Some lesser-known songs also score big here, especially "Goodbye" and "Gone With the Wind." Riddle's contribution cannot be overstated here. I believe this to be his finest work as an arranger. All in all, this is a "must" purchase not only for Sinatraphiles, but for those wanting some of the best of the Great American Songbook.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sinatra Gives The Lonely Some Comfort, March 20 2004
By 
Alan Caylow (USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sings For Only The Lonely (Audio CD)
Loneliness is a state we all find ourselves in at some time or another, for many different reasons. If you've ever experienced loneliness in your life, then this magnificent album by the legendary Frank Sinatra is for you. Sinatra's 1958 opus "Only The Lonely" is an achingly beautiful masterwork. With Nelson Riddle supplying the orchestrations, Sinatra magnificently takes the listener on a stroll through 14 songs all having to do with the theme of loneliness. Every single one of them is perfectly & beautifully sung by Frank, with Riddle's orchestral accompanyment the perfect light wind that carries Sinatra's performances along. There are so many outstanding, emotional songs on this album. My personal favorites include the title song, "Angel Eyes," "It's A Lonesome Old Town," "Willow Weep For Me," "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry," "Spring Is Here," and, what is one of Sinatra's all-time signature classics, the ultimate saloon song, "One For My Baby." With Sinatra's voice so calm, so rich & so smooth, and Riddle's orchestrations so lovely, "Only The Lonely" simply floors you with it's emotional power. It's as if Frank is sitting right there with you, sharing a drink and patting you on the shoulder, as if to say, "It's okay, pal. I feel lonely sometimes, too." Quite simply, "Only The Lonely" is a most classic, most heartfelt Sinatra album. Thank you, Frank.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly beautiful gem, Feb. 21 2004
This review is from: Sings For Only The Lonely (Audio CD)
It's difficult to place this album in any one category. The orchestrations are classical and elegant. The harmonies used are jazz at its hippest. And Frank pulls it all together. Here is Frank at his sharpest and his saddest. There's so much here to absorb and take in.
Another difficulty is picking a favorite or a 'best-foot-forward'. "Angel eyes", "What's new?", and "One for my baby" have since become standards in the jazz lexicon. It's a mystery as to why "Guess I'll hang my tears out to dry", and "Gone with the wind" haven't fared better. "Goodbye" is just downright sad. The use of Diminished-whole tone scale harmonies here should be looked at as a 'how-to' or a primer for anyone who wants to compose music like this. Generally, it sounds as if they removed all restraints from Nelson Riddle. It's like they told him to just go crazy. It's difficult to determine who comes out as the star here. The arrangements here are that good.
This music is so classy. You are listening to eloquent, well written and arranged music. You have to listen to it more than once. And yet, as sad as it is, there is still a 'joy underneath the tears' that bubbles through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THIS deserves the moniker, "Art Songs" if anything does..., Aug. 23 2003
By 
William E. Adams (Midland, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sings For Only The Lonely (Audio CD)
I am still more than a year away from turning 60, but I consider myself a Sinatra fan of 45 years duration. Even so, I have not heard every non-compilation album the man put out...far from it. It's fairer to say I've heard or owned more than most people have. I love his best swinging records, "Songs for Swingin' Lovers" and "Come Swing With Me", for instance. But I think he achieves the truest magic with the love gone wrong releases, especially this one, and "In the Wee Small Hours" and in third place, "Point of No Return". In fact, "Wee Small Hours" probably edges out "Only the Lonely" for me, but by only a hair. The "Point" CD is ruined by a poor choice of bonus songs. If you buy it, just play the contents of the original LP and you'll be fine. "Only the Lonely" shows Sinatra the singer at the peak of his emotional power. The man doesn't just choose good songs. The guy does not just do a good job with each verse. He doesn't merely labor lovingly over each line. Frank does not just find the exactly right tone and dramatic attitude for each WORD, even. On this recording, and also on "Wee Small Hours", this singer makes each syllable, each pause, each silence, each breath, each beat serve the listening experience. It is amazing. I'm not a singer myself, but I would sure encourage every singer, no matter what category of music, to study this disc. His acting out the meaning of the lyric is so subtle, yet so strong and smart. Read five or six other reviews, then just buy this one. It's probably one of the ten best releases in the history of records, in terms of skill and effectiveness. I find this album, and "Wee Small Hours" to be anything but bleak and depressing, due to how much beauty and talent show through. The songs may be sad, but the performing of them is an event to be celebrated. The material here rewards the mature, emotionally deep, intelligent listener. Can't throw this on the changer as background sound. This singer is in pain, and it needs sharing. When shared, he heals himself and you, too.
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