Duets (Frank Sinatra album)

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Studio album by Frank Sinatra
Released November 2, 1993
Recorded June–July 1993
Genre Vocal jazz, traditional pop
Length 45:44
Label Capitol
Producer Phil Ramone
Hank Cattaneo
Frank Sinatra chronology
L. A. Is My Lady
Duets II
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic2/5 stars [1]
Robert ChristgauC[2]

Duets is an album by American singer Frank Sinatra, released in 1993. Recorded near the end of Sinatra's career, it consists of electronically assembled duets between Sinatra and younger singers from various genres. The album was a commercial success, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard albums chart, reaching No. 5 in the UK, and selling over 3 million copies in the US. It is the only Sinatra album to date to achieve triple platinum certification.

The album received mixed critical notices, with complaints stemming from Sinatra's specified style of isolated performance wherein he was never joined by his duet partners in the studio, an artificial method of record production which lacked the elements of personal collaboration and spontaneity. The guest singers had been directed to sing along to his pre-recorded vocal parts, and to make their performances complement his.[3]

The cover art displays a specially commissioned painting of Frank Sinatra by LeRoy Neiman. Its sequel, Duets II, was released the following year. Both albums were packaged together in a "90th Birthday Limited Collector's Edition" released in 2005; North American pressings add an unreleased duet recording of "My Way" with Willie Nelson, while international pressings have him singing with Luciano Pavarotti.


Sinatra was approached in 1992 with the idea of making an album of duets. Phil Ramone, Eliot Weisman and Don Rubin discussed the details at Sinatra's house in Palm Springs, California. For duet partners, Sinatra suggested Ella Fitzgerald but she was not well enough to participate. Other artists, younger than Sinatra, were put on the list of potential partners. Sinatra specified that the duet partners must not be in the studio when he was singing his part.[4]

The project was pushed forward by Charles Koppelman, the CEO of EMI Records Group North America.[5] An orchestra was rehearsed at Capitol Records Studio A in Los Angeles, where Sinatra had recorded many times, the orchestra using classic Nelson Riddle arrangements. Sinatra showed up for the first two days of intended tracking sessions but begged off laying down any vocals, the first day because he did not like being isolated in a vocal booth as intended by recording engineer Al Schmitt. On the second day, Cattaneo suggested to Ramone, Schmitt and Pat Williams, that they create a small elevated stage set-up for Sinatra to stand on, and to place Bill Miller and his piano adjacent to Frank within the open air stage/booth to make the recording session feel more like a live performance. However, Sinatra said his voice was not in optimal condition. At this point, about $350,000 had been spent to put the project together. Ramone and Capitol were worried the record would never be completed. Ramone spoke to Hank Cattaneo, his co-producer, about his concern. It was suggested that since Cattaneo was Frank's production manager and close friend, that he stay near Frank to assist in the sequence of songs and detail to Frank when the takes were acceptable and a retake was not required. Cattaneo further suggested to Ramone and Schmitt, that they record with the wireless microphones that Frank was accustomed to using in live performances. Nine songs were recorded in five hours, beginning with "Come Fly With Me".[4]

The various duet partners were invited to participate remotely, their recordings sent to Capitol by way of ISDN digital telephone lines connected by EDnet to the digital recording equipment. Bono and Aretha Franklin asked that Ramone fly out to appear in person at their local studios to strengthen the connection to Sinatra and the project. Bono recorded his part to "I've Got You Under My Skin" while standing on a couch in the STS Studios control room in Dublin, singing into a handheld microphone.[6] After Franklin recorded her part to "What Now My Love" in Detroit, she recorded a personal message to Sinatra, thanking him for the opportunity. The duet of “My Way” with Luciano Pavarotti was not recorded in time to make the primary release of Sinatra’s Duets. It was placed on the Sinatra 80 album and then added to subsequent pressings of Duets as a bonus track addition. Hank Cattaneo produced and recorded this segment in Pavarotti’s summer villa in Pesaro, Italy. Don Rubin, the Capitol executive producer, was in attendance at the recording session.[7]


Ramone felt that Sinatra's classic songs would be brought to new, younger listeners by way of the Duets project.[8]

Despite the album being advertised as "The Recording Event of The Decade", its sterile recording process did not satisfy many observers.[9][10] Criticism of Sinatra's choice of isolated recording style drove Tony Bennett to specify the opposite style for his similar projects Duets: An American Classic (2006) and Duets II (2011). For those recording sessions, Ramone and Bennett flew in many cases to join the duet partners in their local studios.[11]

Track listing[edit]

Unless otherwise indicated, Information is based on Liner notes[12]

No.TitleWriter(s)Duet withLength
1."The Lady Is a Tramp" (Arranged by Billy Byers)Richard Rodgers (music), Lorenz Hart (lyrics)Luther Vandross3:24
2."What Now My Love" (Arranged by Don Costa)Gilbert Bécaud (music), Carl Sigman (English lyrics), Pierre Delanoë (French lyrics)Aretha Franklin3:15
3."I've Got a Crush on You" (Arranged by Patrick Williams)George Gershwin (music), Ira Gershwin (lyrics)Barbra Streisand3:23
4."Summer Wind" (Arranged by Nelson Riddle)Hans Bradtke (German lyrics), Johnny Mercer (English lyrics), Heinz Meier (music)Julio Iglesias2:32
5."Come Rain or Come Shine" (Arranged by Don Costa)Harold Arlen (music), Johnny Mercer (lyrics)Gloria Estefan4:04
6."New York, New York" (Arranged by Don Costa)Fred Ebb (lyrics), John Kander (music)Tony Bennett3:30
7."They Can't Take That Away From Me" (Arranged by Patrick Williams)George Gershwin (music), Ira Gershwin (lyrics)Natalie Cole3:11
8."You Make Me Feel So Young" (Arranged by Quincy Jones)Mack Gordon (lyrics), Josef Myrow (music)Charles Aznavour3:05
9."Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" / "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" (Arranged by Nelson Riddle)Sammy Cahn (lyrics), Jule Styne (music) / Bob Hilliard (lyrics), David Mann (music)Carly Simon3:57
10."I've Got the World on a String" (Arranged by Nelson Riddle)Harold Arlen (music), Ted Koehler (lyrics)Liza Minnelli2:18
11."Witchcraft" (Arranged by Nelson Riddle)Carolyn Leigh (lyrics), Cy Coleman (music)Anita Baker3:22
12."I've Got You Under My Skin" (Arranged by Nelson Riddle)Cole PorterBono3:32
13."All the Way" / "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)" (Arranged by Patrick Williams and Nelson Riddle)Sammy Cahn (lyrics), James Van Heusen (music) / Harold Arlen (music), Johnny Mercer (lyrics)Kenny G6:03
  • Intros to "What Now My Love" and "Witchcraft" arranged by Patrick Williams.
  • ”What Now My Love" arranged by Don Costa in 1965 for Steve Lawrence’s album The Steve Lawrence Show[13]
  • "I've Got a Crush on You" originally arranged by Nelson Riddle in 1960.[14]
  • "Summer Wind" arranged by Nelson Riddle in 1966.[15]
  • "Come Rain or Come Shine" arranged by Don Costa in 1961.[16]
  • "(Theme from) New York, New York" arranged by Don Costa in 1979.[17]
  • "They Can't Take That Away From Me" originally arranged by Neal Hefti in 1962.[18]
  • ”Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” arranged by Nelson Riddle in 1958.[19]
  • ”In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” arranged by Nelson Riddle in 1955.[20]
  • ”I've Got The World on a String" arranged by Nelson Riddle in 1953.[21]
  • ”Witchcraft” arranged by Nelson Riddle in 1957.[22]
  • ”I've Got You Under My Skin" arranged by Nelson Riddle in 1956.[23]
  • ”All The Way” originally arranged by Nelson Riddle in 1956 for “The Joker is Wild” film soundtrack.[24]
  • ”One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” arranged by Nelson Riddle in 1958.[25]


  • Duet Partners - vocals (1-12), saxophone (13)
  • Frank Sinatra - vocals (All tracks)
  • Ron Anthony - guitar (1-2, 4-13)
  • Chuck Berghofer - rhythm bass (1-2, 4-13)
  • Gregg Field - drums (1-2, 4-13)
  • Jeff Hamilton - drums (3)
  • Michael Melvoin - piano, additional keyboards (3)
  • Bill Miller - piano (All tracks)
  • Charles Pollard - keyboards[26], additional music performer (2-4, 6, 8)
  • Dave Stone - double bass (3)
  • Paul Viapiano - guitar (3)


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[27] Platinum 60,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[28] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[29] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[30] Gold 7,500^
Sweden (GLF)[31] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[33] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Duets at AllMusic
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (November 23, 1993). "Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  3. ^ Rojek, Chris (2004). Frank Sinatra. Polity. p. 155. ISBN 9780745630908.
  4. ^ a b Ramone, Phil; Granata, Charles L. (2007). Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music. Hyperion. p. 5. ISBN 9780786868599.
  5. ^ Waldman, Allison J. The Barbra Streisand Scrapbook. p. 79.
  6. ^ Ramone 2007, p. 89
  7. ^ Ramone 2007, p. 264
  8. ^ Ramone 2007, pp. 6, 52
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Stage and Film Musicals. Virgin. p. 553. ISBN 9780753503751.
  10. ^ "advertisement". Spy. Sussex: 66. January 1994. ISSN 0890-1759.
  11. ^ Bego, Mark (2013). Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 318. ISBN 9781620871690.
  12. ^ Sinatra, Frank. "Duets" (Album Booklet). Capitol Records. 1993.
  13. ^ Lawrence, Steve. “The Steve Lawrence Show” (album notes). Columbia. 1965.
  14. ^ "I've Got a Crush on You". Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/I've%20Got%20a%20Crush%20on%20You
  15. ^ "Summer Wind". Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/Summer%20Wind
  16. ^ "Come Rain or Come Shine". Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/Come%20Rain%20or%20Come%20Shine
  17. ^ "Theme from New York, New York". Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/Theme%20from%20New%20York%20New%20York
  18. ^ "They Can't Take That Away From Me". Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/They%20Can’t%20Take%20That%20Away%20from%20Me
  19. ^ “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry”. Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/Guess%20I’ll%20Hang%20My%20Tears%20Out%20to%20Dry
  20. ^ “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”. Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/In%20the%20Wee%20Small%20Hours%20of%20the%20Morning
  21. ^ “I’ve Got The World on a String”. Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/I’ve%20Got%20the%20World%20on%20a%20String
  22. ^ “Witchcraft”. Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/Witchcraft
  23. ^ “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”. Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/I’ve%20Got%20You%20Under%20My%20Skin
  24. ^ “All The Way”. Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/All%20the%20Way
  25. ^ “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”. Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/One%20for%20My%20Baby%20(and%20One%20More%20for%20the%20Road)
  26. ^ “Charles Pollard”. Frank Sinatra Sessionography. https://sinatrafamily.com/session/-/-/-/-/0/Charles%20Pollard
  27. ^ "Discos de oro y platino" (in Spanish). Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
  28. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Frank Sinatra – Duets" (in German). IFPI Austria. Enter Frank Sinatra in the field Interpret. Enter Duets in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen. 
  29. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Frank Sinatra – Duets". Music Canada.
  30. ^ "Irish album certifications – Frank Sinatra – Duets". Irish Recorded Music Association.
  31. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
  32. ^ "British album certifications – Frank Sinatra – Duets". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Enter Duets in the search field and then press Enter.
  33. ^ "American album certifications – Frank Sinatra – Duets". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]