Your Sunday Sinatra: “One For My Baby”

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.

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3 thoughts on “Your Sunday Sinatra: “One For My Baby”

  • January 20, 2011 at 5:30 am

    I totally agree with you. This song makes you really feel what Sinatra is feeling. And makes you want to love something with that palpable an emotion. Heart wrenching.

  • January 23, 2011 at 11:59 am


    If you’ve never felt what Sinatra is singing about in this song, then count yourself lucky. I’ve been on that stool at the end of the bar with Joe taking care of me too many times. That said, you haven’t really lived until you’ve been crushed by love and drowned your sorrows with your favorite poison. Go out and get your heart broken, Gary!

  • January 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    @Joanne – I think I must have played this song ten to fifteen times in a row as I was writing this post. I can’t get enough of it.

    @Eddie – you broke my heart way back during out Peter Engel days. I just never told you.

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