Remember Frank Sinatra's Weird Science Fiction Record?

By | August 9, 2019

test article image
Album cover art for Frank Sinatra's 'Trilogy,' flanked by images of the Earth and Jupiter. Source: discogs.com and Wikimedia Commons

In 1980, Frank Sinatra released Trilogy: Past Present Future, a triple album that got weird.  On the third LP, "The Future," Sinatra took us on a nutty trip around the solar system, took us back in time to the Hoboken of his youth, and opined on the wonders of tomorrow's technology.

Through the '40s, '50s and '60s, Sinatra's career had seen wild successes and dry spells, but as the '80s approached he was in a fairly desperate state. The man they called "Ol' Blue Eyes" was just ... old. The leader of the Rat Pack was looking like a dinosaur. An ambitious project seemed just the thing to reassert his mastery and challenge the youngsters who were selling all the records.

The first two LPs are fairly in line with the rest of Sinatra’s oeuvre, but on the third disc, “The Future,” Sinatra lets his freak flag fly, as much as he can. He sings about the solar system, inventions, even his ideas about what happens in the afterlife.

The Album Is Separated Into Three Different Sections

test article image
source: pinterest

Trilogy is exactly what it sounds like, three LPs presented back to back to back. The album’s concept presents Sinatra’s past present and future in song form. LP one, “The Past,” contains standards from the ‘30s and ‘40s, songs that Sinatra already sang with new arrangements.

“The Present” features recordings of contemporary songs ranging from his genuinely beautiful cover of “Something” by The Beatles to “New York, New York” a song that everyone now connects to the Sinatra. In 1979, the song was just a Liza Minelli song from the box office disaster by Martin Scorsese.

Finally, "The Future," -- which has the full title of “The Future: Reflections on the Future in Three Tenses, further enumerated as A Musical Fantasy in Three Tenses for Frank Sinatra, Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and Mixed Chorus.”