My fiancé loves Frank Sinatra – his films, music and style. I’ve always enjoyed Sinatra myself but I must admit that my knowledge of this cultural icon was pretty basic. I knew the popular songs and the image, but it ended there. In the last few years, after several old Hollywood movie nights, I started to see why he was so loved by many. His music has become a staple in our home, as my fiancé loves to play his songs when he’s cooking, drawing or simply hanging out around the house. Something about his songs just raise the level sophistication to whatever it is that you’re doing. A feeling that today’s music seems to lack, I feel.
As soon as my fiancé learned that the Grammy Museum was exhibiting Sinatra: An American Icon, we all headed to DTLA to catch the show. My son also went along, as he too loves himself some “Ol’ Blue Eyes.”
The exhibit pretty much takes up the second floor of the museum, and holds a wide range of artifacts, photography and interactive multimedia stations for viewers to get the full-on experience that is Sinatra. It covers everything from his early career, musical influences (like Luis Armstrong and Bing Crosby) to his relationships with political figures, like JFK. If you don’t live in LA and have a few bucks left over from your tax refund to spend on a splurge, you may like this beautiful, limited-edition, luxury book, Sinatra. We saw one copy at the Grammy Museum gift shop, and it really is a gorgeous piece of art.
After viewing the Sinatra exhibit, we explored the rest of the museum, and found ourselves singing, playing with instruments and recalling the many performances of our lifetime (who can forget Ricky’s 1998 performance?). We also got to see two other great exhibitions – Legends Of Motown: The Supremes and Respect! Otis Redding and the Revolution of Soul.
Legends Of Motown: The Supremes starts with the beginning of their career when they were still known as the Primettes (a fact I did not know) and ends with their signing with Motown. Since the Grammy Museum aims to educate their viewers with a dynamic approach to music history and cultural impact, the exhibit does not solely focus on the beautiful gowns worn by Diana, Mary, Florence and later Cindy. However, I just had to capture the beadwork of this dress.
Respect! Otis Redding and the Revolution of Soul unveils the impact his music had, not only in bridging the gap between rock and soul, but within cultures as well. The exhibit shares several of his many stage outfits, video footage and photography. He left behind an extraordinary body of work at such a young age. I could not help but think what could have been … We will never know.
Of course I had stop and listen to the the tunes that impacted my life the most when it comes to music genres – 90s alternative. Nirvana, Pearl Jam (who can forget Eddie’s Grammy non-acceptance speech?) and Alice and Chains defined a huge chunk of my life with their lyrics of angst along with real hip-hop (which started to decline by 1996, if you ask me). I mean, we have something close to it today, and it’s a quite catchy. But NWA, Tribe, Biggy … It was era that cannot be matched or outdone.
That’s what makes the Grammy Museum so much fun. You can look beyond the red carpet and awards, and focus on the impact music has had on our lives, history and culture. If you’re in LA or plan to visit, stop by.