Everyone chooses who they dedicate their lives to, and I met three people in Rio who dedicated a large part of their lives to Frank Sinatra. One of them, Flavio Ramos. In 1939, he was 12 years old and heard a 78 rpm of Harry James’ big band, “All or Nothing at All”, with new crooner Frank Sinatra. There Flavio decided that he would live for or around Sinatra. In 1962, his nightclub Bon Gourmet, in Copacabana, hosted for 40 nights the biggest show in the history of bossa nova: “O Encontro”, with João Gilberto, Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and Os Cariocas. And, in 1980, Flavio shook hands with Sinatra in his dressing room at Maracanã.
A childhood friend of Flavio’s listened to Sinatra’s 78 with him: Ronaldo Bôscoli, in the future one of the fathers of bossa nova. Flavio called him to accompany him to Sinatra’s dressing room at the Maracanã, but Ronaldo trembled and didn’t go. Ronaldo would also become famous as a flirt, although he said: “I like Frank Sinatra more than a woman”. Knowing this, the then Mrs. Boscoli, Elis Regina, took revenge for her escapades by throwing her Sinatra LPs into the sea.
And Roberto Quartin, music producer, was one of the great collectors of Sinatra in the world. His collection included alternate editions of LPs, pressed, say, in Honolulu, with differences that only another collector would identify. And Roberto met Sinatra, who authorized him to copy the entirety of the original tapes of his LPs at Capitol, with everything that didn’t come out in the final versions.
But none of them beats American radio host Sid Mark. He also fell in love with the singer as a child and for 43 years, starting in 1979, hosted four weekly shows dedicated to Sinatra on Philadelphia stations. That means 8,600 programs. When Sinatra saw him in the audience at his shows, he would point him out and say into the microphone, “I love this guy!”
Sid Mark died two weeks ago, aged 88, happy, on the job and proving that eternal love exists.
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