In a way, it was natural. I’m a singer, with a love of jazz, particularly the big band variety. It was only a matter of time before I’d get around to one of the greatest interpreters of song in recorded sound, backed by some of the best musicians and arrangers in the business.
Musically, in the 80s, I was right there with my classmates listening to the hits on the radio, but I also harbored a secret interest in jazz, from the early days through modern. Dad would always be introducing me to his favorites, and spending time with my grandparents in Philadelphia, I would also have the opportunity to hear the great standards station in the city at the time, WPEN.
As I went to sleep, I’d listen to the legendary DJ Joe Niagara, who got himself into the Guinness Book of World Records for playing more than 500 different versions of "Stardust" every day to close his show. Should I even wonder why it’s my favorite song? I’m sure I picked up my share of Sinatra in that setting.
That’s one of the things about living in the Philadelphia area, and by that I mean anywhere the television and radio stations reached — we are all about traditions. One of the longest running traditions in the market is another DJ, Sid Mark, and his Sinatra-centric radio shows.
His programs go back half a century — “Friday with Frank,” “Sunday with Sinatra” — he’s even syndicated across the country. And, it was through Sid that my enjoyment of Mr. Sinatra’s music became a full-blown love affair. (FYI — I don’t often call people I don’t know by their first name out of respect, but for many of us, Sid is one of the family).
Few can tell the history and the stories of Mr. Sinatra’s life like Sid, and why not? He knew the man. Sid Mark’s devotion to his music led to a warm friendship that extended to the Sinatra family. Sid’s interviews with Frank Jr. are priceless.
My Sunday mornings have meant Sid and Sinatra for a long time. I’ve followed Sid through station changes, from FM to AM, and through the wonders of the internet, I have even been able to keep that tradition alive nearly 20 years after leaving the Philadelphia area.
Of course, we lost Mr. Sinatra in 1998, and sadly, we lost Frank Jr. far too soon in 2016. Sid is now in his mid-80s, and reality tells me it can’t go on forever. He says he will continue doing it as long as he is able, but with the new year he trimmed a couple of hours off the show.
All of which is a reminder to me to enjoy what I have while I have it. I plan to enjoy as many Sunday mornings as I can with Sid and Sinatra, because Sid has given me a wonderful gift — a better appreciation of “A Man and His Music.”
Thank you, Sid.