Uranus is Heaven!

by wjw on October 2, 2016

Betcha didn’t know that Frank Sinatra recorded science fiction songs.

Not only that, these were on an album that sold incredibly well and was nominated for Grammys.

“Trilogy: Past, Present, Future” was a three-album boxed set released in 1977, and was produced by Gordon Jenkins, who more or less invented the idea of the concept album with his expanded version of Manhattan Tower in 1957.  Jenkins had produced a number of Sinatra’s albums, plus others by Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Weavers.

The “Future” disk was written by Jenkins, and recorded with Sinatra and a 100-piece orchestra and chorus, an ensemble so huge that it wouldn’t fit into any available studio.  The Shrine Auditorium (home of the Oscars) was rented for the occasion, and the songs were recorded live in an incredible two-day marathon session.

In addition to the “Future” disk, the “Present” disk included the George Harrison’s “Something,” “MacArthur Park,” and “Love Me Tender,” among other then-contemporary hits.

I present for your entertainment “What Time Does the Next Miracle Leave?”  Once you get past the syrupy, overdone 1970s orchestration, the tempo changes, and the intrusive interruptions by a completely unnecessary chorus . . . well, it’s still pretty awful.

But you gotta give Francis Albert and his arranger credit for trying something ambitious and new, even if it doesn’t exactly work.

And besides, on what other album do you hear a full chorus singing “Uranus!  Uranus!  Uranus!”?

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