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Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

The Last Saloon: Frank Sinatra’s She Shot Me Down

In 1981 Frank Sinatra called on the talents of several longtime collaborators and friends to produce what some consider to be the singer's final masterpiece.

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cover image of Frank Sinatra's She Shot Me Down LP

Photo: Album cover art

Late-night moods of lament from Sinatra, circa 1981.

In 1981 Frank Sinatra was 65 years old, and he was coming off a 3-LP concept set called Trilogy that had been a commercial success, but somewhat of a critical failure, particularly for its concluding disc titled The Future, which included some less-than-timeless songs such as “World War None.”

The Future had been written by longtime Sinatra collaborator and arranger Gordon Jenkins, and Sinatra decided to go back to his roots with Jenkins for his next project, an album called She Shot Me Down, which contained both original compositions and some covers as well, all done in the lost-love-saloon-song style that Sinatra had favored for his 1950s masterpieces such as In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning and Only The Lonely. Sinatra musical director Vincent Falcone:

Gordon was getting old and sick, and Frank wanted to do one last album with him before he died. He wanted it to be Gordy’s last stand…and I think a lot of that came from the fact that Gordon received such criticism for the Trilogy album.

Other Sinatra collaborators and friends contributing to the project included arranger Don Costa and songwriter Alec Wilder. Sinatra called the result “a complete saloon album… tear-jerkers and cry-in-your-beer kind of things.”

In addition to some selections from She Shot Me Down, we’ll hear music from Bill Henderson, Sarah Vaughan, Blossom Dearie, and others, all as part of our standard mix of jazz, ballads, and American popular song.

Music Heard On This Episode

This Guy's In Love With You
Till Bronner — Oceana (Emarcy, 2007)
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This Guy's In Love With You
Till Bronner — Oceana (Emarcy, 2007)
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You're Mine, You
Sarah Vaughan — You're Mine, You (Essential Jazz Classics, 2013)
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I'm In Love
Abbey Lincoln — You Gotta Pay The Band (Polygram, 1991)
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I Loved Her
Frank Sinatra — She Shot Me Down (Phantasm, 2010)
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The Gal That Got Away/It Never Entered My Mind
Frank Sinatra — She Shot Me Down (Phantasm, 2010)
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The Man I Love
Betty Carter — S'Wonderful: The Gershwin Songbook (Polygram, 1992)
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I've Got A Crush On You
Bill Henderson — S'Wonderful: The Gershwin Songbook (Polygram, 1992)
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Someone To Watch Over Me
Blossom Dearie — S'Wonderful: The Gershwin Songbook (Polygram, 1992)
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Long Night
Frank Sinatra — She Shot Me Down (Phantasm, 2010)
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Monday Morning Quarterback
Frank Sinatra — She Shot Me Down (Phantasm, 2010)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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