Obama, McCain Find Sinatra 'So Easy To Love' The latest issue of Blender magazine includes a piece titled "White House DJ," which features lists of the top 10 favorite songs of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. Jonathan Schwartz talks about the candidates' selections, as well as their only commonality: Frank Sinatra.
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Obama, McCain Find Sinatra 'So Easy To Love'

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Obama, McCain Find Sinatra 'So Easy To Love'

Obama, McCain Find Sinatra 'So Easy To Love'

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A lot of attention was paid this week to the list that both major party presidential candidates provided to Blender magazine of their favorite songs. Barack Obama seemed to favor the Fugees, the Stones, Aretha Franklin and U2. John McCain really likes ABBA. I mean, really. He put two of their songs on his top-10 list, including his number one favorite, "Dancing Queen." He also likes Louis Armstrong, The Beach Boys and Merle Haggard.

But there is one artist and only one artist who made the list of both presidential contenders: the one, the only, ladies and gentlemen, the Chairman of the Board.

(Soundbite of song "New York, New York")

Mr. FRANK SINATRA: (Singing) Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today...

SIMON: You know, there's only one other name you think of when you think of Frank Sinatra, and that's Jonathan Schwartz, the Sinatra scholar and platter spinner. He hosts "The Sunday Show" on member station WNYC and joins us from their studios there. Jonathan, so nice to be with you.

JONATHAN SCHWARTZ: Hello, Scott. Same thing from here.

SIMON: Any symbolism you see in both candidates picking Sinatra songs?

SCHWARTZ: No. I think that the strength, the honor of the music, the integrity of the singing has stretched through time and has touched both of these guys.

SIMON: Let me get you to take a look at each of them. Senator McCain's Sinatra pick - and I must confide, this is the one I would choose - is "I've Got You Under My Skin."

(Soundbite of song "I've Got You Under My Skin")

Mr. SINATRA: (Singing) I've got you under my skin, I've got you deep in the heart of me...

SIMON: Any meaning you read into this?


SIMON: Or why do you think John McCain? A bit of pop psychology.

Mr. SCHWARTZ: I have no idea, except for the fact that that record is iconic, perhaps the greatest recording of popular music made in this country in the 20th century. So I can't account for John McCain's attraction to it except to say that it invaded his heart in the way that it invaded so many others.

SIMON: Senator Obama - this a single that, I think it's safe to say, is less well known. And that's "You'd Be So Easy To Love."

(Soundbite of song "You'd Be So Easy To Love")

Mr. SINATRA: (Singing) You'd be so easy to love So easy to idolize all others above...

Mr. SCHWARTZ: That's an arrangement by Johnny Mandel, and it's part of his first album that he made for his own record company, Reprise. It's called "Ring-a-Ding Ding," the actual album. As for Obama, I guess he heard it and liked it. The interesting thing, Scott, is both songs are by Cole Porter.

SIMON: Oh! That's a lapse. I should have noticed that, my word. Now, it's irresistible to notice, as you go through all the titles, what Senator McCain and Senator Obama did not choose. I note, for example, Senator Obama did not choose "My Kind of Town."

(Soundbite of song "My Kind Of Town")

Mr. SINATRA: (Singing) This is my kind of town, Chicago is My kind of town, Chicago is...

Mr. SCHWARTZ: But Scott, for Obama to have chosen "My Kind of Town," Chicago would have been a political gesture. McCain picked no song about Arizona.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Isn't there a...

Mr. SCHWARTZ: Sinatra did record "By The Time I Get To Phoenix."

SIMON: Oh, did he? Well, of course, it's irresistible to note Senator McCain didn't choose this song.

(Soundbite of song "You Make Me Feel So Young")

Mr. SINATRA: (Singing) You make me feel so young You make me feel like spring has sprung...

Mr. SCHWARTZ: Scott, he theoretically could have chosen "September of My Year."

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Jonathan, give us a song to go out on.

Mr. SCHWARTZ: This recording is a recording of a song by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. Harold, who was the composer, used to call certain songs like this his "tapeworm" songs. In other words, the melody went on and on and usually, singers addressed the song bombastically. My momma done tol' me - pow! Not Sinatra and Nelson Riddle.

(Soundbite of song "Blues In The Night")

Mr. SINATRA: (Singing) My mama done tol' me...

SCHWARTZ: It's about as beautiful and as introspective a recording as you can find. And it is Sinatra's record of "Blues In The Night."

(Soundbite of song "Blues In The Night")

Mr. SINATRA: (Singing) A woman's a two-face, a worrisome thing who'll leave ya to sing the blues in the night

SIMON: Jonathan Schwartz from WNYC, where he hosts "The Sunday Show."

(Soundbite of song "Blues In The Night")

Mr. SINATRA: (Singing) Now the rains a-fallin, hear the train a-callin, "whooee!" (My mama done tol' me) hear that lonesome whistle blowin' cross the trestle, "whooee!" (My mama done tol' me) a-whooee-ah-whooee, ol' clickety-clacks a-echoin back the blues in the night The evenin' breeze will start the trees to cryin' and the moon will hide its light when you get the blues in the night.

SIMON: Wow. You're listening to Weekend Edition from NPR News.

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