When Dylan Does It Better Than Sinatra (Assuming You Don't Care For Sinatra) by the Forward

When Dylan Does It Better Than Sinatra (Assuming You Don't Care For Sinatra)

Image by Getty Images

So you know where I’m coming from, I never got the whole Frank Sinatra thing. “On the Town?” Yeah, I liked that. “From Here to Eternity?” Sure, that too. But the whole tough guy “I’ll sock you in the jaw” persona has always been a turn-off. When Apple put him on its “Think Different” posters, my immediate reaction was that it should have said, “Think the same.” If I had to listen to “My Way,” I’d choose the Sid Vicious or the David Bowie version. So, the idea of “Shadows in the Night,” the forthcoming Bob Dylan album featuring songs originally sung by Frank Sinatra, didn’t (and still doesn’t) set my heart aflame.

Crooning isn’t Dylan’s strong suit, and I’m not that much into crooning as a general concept. But Dylan’s version of “Stay WIth Me” has a hypnotic, haunting quality to it that, to my mind, Sinatra’s lacks. It wasn’t until I heard the former that I detected the religious overtones that, upon close listening, should have seemed so obvious. As it turns out, the song was the theme to “The Cardinal,” an Otto Preminger film about a young priest’s rise in Catholicism.

Here’s the Dylan version:

And here’s the Sinatra version:

For what it’s worth, if I had to choose a favorite theme to an Otto Preminger movie, it would be this one:

And if I had to choose a favorite Dylan cover, I’d probably pick this one:

And If I had to choose a song called “Stay With Me,” I’d choose this one:

You, however, might think different.


Adam Langer

Adam Langer

Adam Langer is the Forward’s senior editor for culture and features. Born and raised in Chicago, he is the author of the novels “Crossing California,” “The Washington Story,” “Ellington Boulevard,” “The Thieves of Manhattan” and “The Salinger Contract” as well as the memoir “My Father’s Bonus March.” His forthcoming novel “Cyclorama” will be published in 2022.

When Dylan Does It Better Than Sinatra (Assuming You Don't Care For Sinatra)

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

When Dylan Does It Better Than Sinatra (Assuming You Don't Care For Sinatra)

Thank you!

This article has been sent!