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04 April 2010

Ray Charles Ft. In Sinatra: 80 Years My Way (1995)

This ABC TV show was recorded at the at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on 19 November, directed by Louis J. Horvitz, and aired on 14 December 1995.
It offers a rather unexpected line-up of celebrities and semi-celebs paying tribute to Frank Sinatra with songs a/o nice words. Amongst the more famous were Tony Bennett, Bono, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Johnny Depp, Bob Dylan, Patti LaBelle, Little Richard, Gregory Peck, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Selleck, Bruce Springsteen, and Robert Wagner.
Charles used an unusual quantity of well prepared text to chide Sinatra for his  appearance in the 1946 picture Till The Clouds Roll By - a white guy, singing a black man's song, Ol' Man River.
Photo ny  Lee Celano.
Charles brought down the house and the crowd to its feet with a version Ol' Man River. But it had disappointingly little to do with his original interpretation. The arranger must have had an offday, and Ray really couldn't save the chart. Ray nevertheless scored a standing ovation (but so did even Patti LaBelle).
Shots between acts focus on Sinatra and wife Barbara seated ringside. His emotions range from amused to bewildered (Patti Labelle!) to touched. It turned out to be Frank's last public appearance.

Old Man River:


Celebrities waiting line (with Ray) at the event + Bob Dylan doing Restless Farewell:
   [Clip removed from YouTube]

Patti Labelle:
   [Clip removed from YouTube]

Reuters has shelved a reportage of the event (ID 605140450; watch here), with a few seconds of Ray in it.
Sinatra in Till the Clouds Roll By:

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