Sinatra still the chairman with hit album

Fri May 23, 2008 6:07pm EDT
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By Kamau High

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Frank Sinatra is having a very good week. Buoyed by a cavalcade of marketing and advertising surrounding multiple products tied to the 10th anniversary of his death, "Nothing but the Best" (Reprise), a collection of remastered classics, has debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 99,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The last time Sinatra debuted so high was in 1993 with the No. 2 hit "Duets," which went on to sell 3.2 million copies.

Sinatra's name and works are all over the media landscape of late. Warner Home Video is releasing 22 of his films, including "Ocean's Eleven," "The Man With the Golden Arm" and "Anchors Aweigh." Turner Classic Movies, backed by a ubiquitous advertising campaign, is showing Sinatra movies and musical specials throughout the month of May hosted by his children, Nancy, Tina and Frank Jr. And Life Books put out an updated version of "Remembering Sinatra" titled "Life: Remembering Sinatra: 10 Years Later."

Sirius Satellite Radio, which has a channel dedicated to Sinatra, broadcast a 90-minute program about the new album with interviews and commentary. In addition, the U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative stamp bearing the same Sinatra image used on the compilation album's cover.

"They're contemporizing a classic star and associating him in a modern context. That revives interest and drives people to find out more about that artist," says Dean Crutchfield, a branding expert formerly with Wolff Olins, a branding company in New York.

The avalanche of material stems from a partnership between Warner Music and the Sinatra family under the banner Frank Sinatra Enterprises. Announced in late 2007, the agreement gives FSE the sole right to license Sinatra's likeness and image.

"FSE wanted to commemorate Sinatra's life and his great body of work," FSE co-president Jimmy Edwards says. "All these partnerships helped increase his profile, but Frank sells Frank."


<p>Nancy Sinatra, daughter of Frank Sinatra, kisses the 42-cent First-Class Frank Sinatra commemorative stamp as Frank Jr. and granddaughter A.J. Lambert smile during a Postal Service ceremony in New York May 13, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>