Broadway Features and Reviews
Broadway's Million-Dollar Relationship: Elvis and Sinatra
By Catherine Park, Broadway Magazine
With the upcoming opening of the Broadway shows "Million Dollar Quartet" (featuring the character of Elvis Presley) and "Come Fly Away" (featuring the actual vocals of Frank Sinatra), it isn't random that people are curious about a connection between the two masterminds of popular music.
Obviously, two legends are hard to miss. Therefore it's a reasonable assumption that Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra were well aware of each other's accomplishments. To think that there was a relationship between the two is not far-fetched either.
Drawing levels of intense loyalty and obsession from fans, the two megastars were well aware of the strategic benefits of working together. This no doubt, drew in the attention of their fans and raised their popularities to yet another level.
This relationship between Sinatra and Presley might be described as purely business or entrepreneurial. Sinatra had thought of rock-and-roll as music for "cretinous croons" as Pamela Clarke Keogh wrote. He included harsher criticism when describing Presley's music. "His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac."
However, Sinatra realized that good could come out of working with Presley.
The "King of Rock-and-Roll" appealed to an audience that Sinatra didn't command the full attention of to the extent that Presley did: the youth, the teens. Though Sinatra's popularity was stable with a strong fandom and die-hard admirers, he also needed Presley to raise his popularity, especially on his show, the "Frank Sinatra Show."
The special that aired in May of 1960, featured Presley for only a few minutes, in "Welcome Home Elvis." It was noted that even for such a short performance, Presley was paid big bucks.
The "Voice" and "The King" performed a version of "Witchcraft" and "Love Me Tender," in which subsequently, ending in artistic harmony with the band, Sinatra remarked, "Man, that's pretty." Not to mention that every moment Presley took the spotlight, screams of inconceivable pitch could be heard from the audience.
One can say that the two had immense respect for the other, claiming the other to be beyond an entertainer and performer. Upon Presley's death, Sinatra spoke a heartfelt farewell. "I shall miss him dearly as a friend. He was a warm, considerate and generous man." However harsh he was in analyzing Presley's music, Sinatra more than acknowledged the talent and personality of this legend.
Though no official statements of Sinatra are recorded from Presley, it was noted that one of Elvis Presley's favorite styles of music belonged to the crooners, including Frank Sinatra. Now Broadway has them both.
The Million Dollar Quartet with Elvis is currently playing at the Nederlander Theatre. Come Fly Away with the vocals of Frank Sinatra (directed by Twyla Tharp) is playing at the Marquis. Look for more information and tickets to both shows here on Broadway.tv and in the pages of Broadway Magazine.
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