Though I have never found myself sitting at the end of a line of empty tavern stools, hunched over a bourbon and rocks with a tilted fedora, regretting broken love, Frank Sinatra’s “One for My Baby” from the Only the Lonely album makes me wonder if I’m missing something. Never has a pained heart sounded so damn good.
Though it’s not unusual for a Sinatra ballad to weave an attractive allure around the notions of melancholy, self-pity and despair, this particular version of the Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen song grabs me in a very unique way.
The lyrics conjure up emotions familiar enough to anyone who’s loved and lost, but Sinatra’s hauntingly despaired delivery paints the picture of a fresh burn of the heart, and one’s desperate need to soothe it. Accompanied by a chorus of mourning strings and a distant, drowsy piano that seems ready to wander off into oblivion at any moment, this is a recording that quietly reveals such open sadness and intimacy, you almost feel that just by listening, you’re an intruder in the moment.
But if I could pine away with a voice as smooth and lustrous as Sinatra’s, I think I could tolerate the life of a romantic loner, provided Joe was ready and waiting to set ’em up.
Take a listen. Then take a moment to quietly remember the one that got away.one_for_my_baby.mp3