From the evocative cover painting to the impeccably chosen songs within, this 1965 album harkens back to Sinatra's great Capitol-era concept albums like In the Wee Small Hours and Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely. T... more »he theme revolves around a man approaching his 50s, looking back with a mixture of nostalgia, regret, and uncertainty; given Sinatra's age at the time (he was 49 when this was recorded) and the way he invests himself in the material, it's impossible to interpret the record as anything but autobiographical. Wistful numbers such as "Don't Wait Too Long," "It Was a Very Good Year," "September Song," and the title track all hit the emotional bull's-eye, but everything here is excellent. Unquestionably his finest Reprise-era achievement. --Dan Epstein« less
From the evocative cover painting to the impeccably chosen songs within, this 1965 album harkens back to Sinatra's great Capitol-era concept albums like In the Wee Small Hours and Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely. The theme revolves around a man approaching his 50s, looking back with a mixture of nostalgia, regret, and uncertainty; given Sinatra's age at the time (he was 49 when this was recorded) and the way he invests himself in the material, it's impossible to interpret the record as anything but autobiographical. Wistful numbers such as "Don't Wait Too Long," "It Was a Very Good Year," "September Song," and the title track all hit the emotional bull's-eye, but everything here is excellent. Unquestionably his finest Reprise-era achievement. --Dan Epstein
"September of My Years is a perfectly arranged selection of songs recorded as Sinatra neared his 50th birthday (1965). It is outstanding, in that the 13 songs absolutely belong together on this collection, perfectly realized by Sinatra's mellow voice of the 1960s. It is especially stunning to compare songs like 'Hello, Young Lovers' to the early Columbia recordings, which are also first rate but lack the sincerity derived from five decades of living.From the Gordon Jenkins-arranged introduction to the title track to the closing September Song, the music (with Jenkins signature strings) provides the right wistful, reflective backdrop to a Sinatra whose voice has aged like wine. 'It was a Very Good Year' is probably the standout, and the kind of magic even FS could not have recorded when he was starting out in the late 1930s. Here it is evocative, heartfelt and very moving. 'Man in the Looking Glass' is remarkable, as is 'Once Upon a Time.'I agree with Dan Epstein's review: this is essential Sinatra, certainly the best concept album on Reprise. The listener can feel that Sinatra is singing part of his autobiography here, and for those of us still moved by his passing it takes on an even greater significance.Very highly recommended."
Gentle, poignant Sinatra
audrey | white mtns | 12/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I was 20 you couldn't have convinced me I'd ever own a Frank Sinatra album, but a few weeks ago I found myself humming these songs that I'd heard my mother playing years ago. The arrangements sound a little dated but their virtue is unchanged -- they leave Sinatra's voice far forward -- and some of his greatest performances are here, bookended by two masterpieces -- "The September of My Years" and "September Song". The songs selected flawlessly support the album's concept of the singer looking back from his approaching 50th birthday, and Sinatra doesn't hit a wrong note anywhere. When you think of everything it meant to be Frank Sinatra -- what a life to be looking back on! -- the chance to listen in is irresistible. You can't help but bring the ol' math brain out of mothballs to figure out what month your life is in; if you're getting older and have September in common with Ol' Blue Eyes, it doesn't seem so bad; if you're still in the early days, it adds some perspective to your thoughts and feelings about aging."The September of My Years" -- Not the first version recorded by Sinatra, but the definitive version. His voice is perfection, as smooth as Scotch, and his tone one of reflection without bitterness. The dip when he sings 'A-a-and I find ....' is lovely and restrained.So often Sinatra could have descended into melancholy, but didn't -- "How Old Am I?" has not a trace of self-pity and "Don't Wait Too Long" is never churlish."It Gets Lonely Early" -- Good lyrics and superb phrasing propel this tearjerker to a higher plane.Some of the songs have sub-par lyrics and arrangements -- "This Is All I Ask" and "I See It Now" -- but Sinatra's phrasing pulls them out of the hat.Other masterpieces include "Last Night When We Were Young", with an arrangement as timeless as the vocalization, and "The Man in the Looking Glass" -- quintessential Sinatra -- quietly passionate and more than a little irreverent without ever being clownish."It Was a Very Good Year" -- Hey, I'm as cynical as the next person, and I enjoy irony, but you can't listen to this song without thinking it might be nice to hold a world-view that didn't reject romance and hope as passe. And what woman wouldn't want to be remembered as the singer of "Once Upon a Time" remembers his long-ago sweetheart?"When the Wind Was Green" -- an evocative arrangement with Sinatra's smooth-as-silk delivery."Hello Young Lovers" is a terrific song, and can you hear it without believing Frank is thinking of Ava Gardner. The song reaches out to the young without condemnation or condescension -- a trick most adults of the '60s couldn't pull off. "September Song" -- 'When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame, one hasn't got time for the waiting game' .... 'And these few precious day,s I'll spend with you'. Such a great song so perfectly sung.Even if you're not a diehard fan, you can't help but enjoy hearing Sinatra at the top of his form on this breathtakingly beautiful album."
A Masterpiece and a Mirror
Anthony G Pizza | FL | 01/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Tonight will not swing. Tonight is for serious," writes WB executive Stan Cornyn's liner notes to Frank Sinatra's majestic "September of My Years." And, turning 50 in 1965, Sinatra was in reflective mood not only himself, but for a generation which had won WWII and only began to view the uncertainty of the second half of the 60s.This is one of the most empathetic albums ever made. Sinatra addresses the physical changes of age (with humor in "The Man In The Looking Glass"), the familial empty nest ("It Gets Lonely Early") and begins enjoying what younger people overlooked (the title track, Gordon Jenkins' "This is All I Ask"). Although "All I Ask," was covered by Jimmy Durante and "Once Upon A Time" by Tony Bennett (not to mention the gorgeous "Hello Young Lovers" from The King and I") Sinatra posseses them in this context. Listen to him sing the phrase "and it caaaaammmmmeee undone" on "It's A Very Good Year," and you hear someone who enjoyed the true sensuality of that moment. A masterpiece as reflective in covering others' songs as the work of any singer/songwriter."
Frank's Fall Classic
Lawrence E. LaRocco | Berwyn, Illinois | 07/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Melancholy, wistful, and romantically reflective, "September of My Years" is a musical summing up of the first fifty years of Sinatra's never dull life. It is his greatest achievement with Reprise, and it is one of Frank's top five albums by almost any standard. Sinatra recorded this album in 1965 when he was still forty-nine, and it won a Grammy award for album of the year. Gordon Jenkins once again provides the perfect backdrop for Sinatra's vocals with his lush strings and classical overtones. This is not a torch album like "Only the Lonely" or "No One Cares." What it is, is a summing up, a retrospective of a half century of love and despair. It is also a superb example of the entertainer of the century once again at the absolute zenith of his vocal powers. "It Was A Very Good Year" perfectly expresses this album's message of the possibility of love at any stage of one's life. One of the greatest pleasures of exploring Sinatra's immense body of work is discovering new levels and dimensions of meaning the longer and more carefully you really listen to what he expressed in the lyrics of a song. This album is one of his most complex statements on the perils of love, and it is, of course, an essential part of any serious Sinatra-phile's collection. BUY IT, TREASURE IT, and realize that you are listening to a great work from the greatest entertainer of all time."
Fine album by the immortal Frank Sinatra
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 04/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"September Of My Years is clearly one of Frank Sinatra's best albums ever--and I agree with Amazon when they suggest that it's probably his best album from his years at his own Reprise Records label. The sound quality is excellent and the cover artwork is in very good taste.
"The September Of My Years" starts off the album with Frank sounding better than he did on several of his earlier albums on Capitol Records! His voice is rich, full of warmth and the amount of emotion is just right--not too syrupy sweet and not to cold either. Great! The arrangement also makes great use of the strings. "How Old Am I?" features Frank again at his finest; the melody is stunning and Frank is very good on this tune. He emotes every subtle nuance of the lyrics and his excellent diction bolsters his performance even further!
"Don't Wait Too Long" has Frank giving advice to younger people that life is short and it's important to live your life and enjoy it as best as you can. This is an excellent highlight of this album; and Frank's delivery lacks nothing--it's all THAT good. "This Is All I ask" again puts Frank front and center--right where he always belonged! Frank sings with all his heart and soul; and I love it! The strings again are used to great advantage.
"Last Night When We Were Young" is a number that was cut from the MGM motion picture entitled In The Good Old Summertime; and Frank delivers this so well that Judy Garland must have been very proud of her dear buddy Frank! "It Was A Very Good Year" is probably one of Frank's best tunes from his Reprise years; this incredible ballad is hauntingly beautiful and it tugs at my heartstrings every time I hear it. Frank does this on up right!
"Hello, Young Lovers" comes from The King And I; this tune originally performed by Deborah Kerr sounds fresh and new when Frank delivers it so flawlessly. The tempo is slowed down somewhat so that Frank can put his own stamp on this beautiful love song; and it all holds its own very well.
"Once Upon A Time" is a nostalgic number that has Frank reminiscing about a love lost long ago; and the album ends strong with Frank Sinatra performing "September Song." "September Song" has Frank changing tempos effortlessly and it amazes me how well he could do this.
Frank Sinatra was clearly just about the best male singer of the entire twentieth century; and Sinatra fans will consider this a must-have for their collections. "