I’ve sung this song many times throughout the years and I’ve heard all of the different versions too. I’ve pole-danced with it playing in the background when pole-dancing wasn’t such a popular pastime—back in the late 1980s. I wore a lavender suit, chunky sandals, pink lipstick, and gold costume jewelry. This wasn’t in a nightclub, and I had a partner. He had the music, and I had the legs. Together, we were a perfect combination.
Uncle Danny and I loved to croon to Sinatra. We’d sing it just about anywhere: in the car, in the bar, at his house or someone else’s. It didn’t matter where we were, because “Old Blue Eyes” was there with us every step of the way. I’m no Liza Minnelli in the singing department even after studying voice with three different teachers. They tried albeit unsuccessfully. But Danny on the other hand, was a natural. He sang beautifully with no training and no inhibitions. Of course, his musical ability was most evident post-cocktails.
At times, we got carried away, dancing on the pole and off. We rehearsed kicks, turns, and struts, along with Danny’s adapation of the lyrics. These were no longer G-rated. My mother would roll her eyes and try to avoid laughing, but always gave in. Often we had an audience or mom joined in as a back-up singer. Every weekend, we listened to “Sundays with Sinatra” on a Philadelphia radio station. It was all Frank for hours on end, and Danny would sing along at the top of his lungs. Somehow he knew all of the lyrics.
Perhaps this was because a Sinatra tape was always playing in his car. I don’t think he listened to anyone else.
Danny & I always had a special relationship. I could have as much fun with him as any friends my own age. He could party like a rock star; or he could be the perfect date with a white tablecloth and too many utensils to choose from. We would fight at times like brother and sister, rather than uncle and niece. I always won, or I got mad and left. Eventually I got over it, and Danny never held a grudge.
Dan wasn’t a big city guy. Coming to New York was a topic of discussion, but it never actually happened. I knew if I could just get him here, he’d have a great time. I wanted him to see what my life was like in the city that never sleeps. I could only imagine what he pictured, and knowing that the reality was probably the furthest thing from his imagination, I wanted to surprise him. Make him proud. Show him that just like the song, I had “made it here.”
Unexpectedly, Danny died a year ago. He was a young 62. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of his silly demeanor, or miss his crazy antics. I wish he would’ve made it to New York just once. To be “King of the Hill,” “Top of the Heap,” and “A Number One,” if only for a day, and to sing his final performance with me, on or off the pole. Old New York would not have let him down, and Sinatra would’ve been proud.
|Danny Trout 1949-2011|