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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: Frank Sinatra's All the Way, Love & Addiction


Thought for the Day: Today's song is a love song with a positive message and a sad lilting melody that became a huge hit for Frank Sinatra and many other artists. As Valentine's Day approaches, I decided to share a love song. I intended to share a simple upbeat song. Little did I know that "All the Way" which has been a favorite of mine since I was a young child would take me on a very different path. As I researched the song, I realized it was more than a love song & has a powerful connection to the problem of addiction which, as a psychologist has been on my mind due to Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death.
      I attributed my love of the song to seeing Sinatra in a movie when I was in just in elementary school. I did not remember much about the movie, only that I saw it one of my Sunday visits with my father & brothers after my parent's divorce. Around the same time, we went on vacation with my father to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. When we traveled with my father we ate only at Diner's Club network restaurants (one of the first credit card businesses), which were usually fairly fancy steak restaurants. When we stopped to eat in Las Vegas, my father spotted & pointed out that Frank Sinatra, whom we has seen in the movie, was drinking at the bar. I think my father went up to him & told him we enjoyed the movie. The song & that encounter led to a crush on Sinatra for many years.
     Today, for the 1st time, I researched the movie, "The Joker is Wild." The song, "All the Way" by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, won the 1957 Academy Award for Best Original Song. Given serious adult content, I was somewhat surprised that I was taken to see the movie, but my father was not a very good judge of appropriate movies for young children. Sinatra's character, Joe E. Lewis, a singer, stand-up comic & alcoholic had serious trouble with the mob & his love relationships. In hindsight, I think the song struck a chord for me (although I did not understand the full meaning otf the song or the movie), since my parents were unable to sustain an "All the Way" kind of love. The song somehow made me feel hope that even if it is difficult, lasting love could be found.
     The tragic death of actor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, which I wrote about earlier in the week, What Preventable Plague Is Causing 1 in 4 Deaths?, alongside the movie from the 50's, raise some serious questions. The details of Hoffman's estranged relationship with his girlfriend and the photos of his grieving children, make me wonder why is our society not helping those suffering from the illness of drug and alcohol addiction better than when I was a child? When will we learn how to hate the addiction, love the person & help them get the quality care they desperately need? Can we love "all the way?' I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on this important subject.

Here are 3 interesting videos: one of the song performed by Frank Sinatra, an trailer from the movie, and scenes from the end of the movie.


                         

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