Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely

ArtistFrank Sinatra

Year1958

Genre: Vocal Jazz

Grade: A

When asked if he had a favorite album among his own recordings, Frank Sinatra quickly answered with Only the Lonely. It’s easy to see why. Created during a particularly turbulent period of his life — the disintegration of a toxic marriage to Ava Gardner — the LP is brooding, emotional, passionate, introspective, stoned, intense and vulnerable in a manner that goes unmatched throughout Sinatra’s career. It’s not only his most committed performance; it’s also his most autobiographical.

The material traverses the same late-night, torch song vibe perfected on In the Wee Small Hours. This time, however, the solitude is even sadder. Songs ebb and flow from bottomless valleys to grandiose crescendos, but the concept never feels forced. This LP is truly one from the heart.

As with all classic Sinatra albums, Only the Lonely is a collaborative effort. Arranger/conductor Nelson Riddle, who had recently lost his mother and daughter, also poured his heart and soul into the recording sessions, making for a dynamic combination of heartbreaking vocals and beautiful orchestration. Together they find beauty in the suffering.

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