Sid Mark: I was taken by Robert Davi's cover of Sinatra's music
LOS ANGELES, CA -- In what has amounted to a decades-long musical odyssey, a well-loved radio legend and a famous Hollywood actor have finally united in a worldwide salute to the late American singer and film actor Frank Sinatra.
Entertainer and recording artist Robert Davi flew from Los Angeles to the east coast to meet and be interviewed by Sid Mark, the eminent founder and dedicated host of WPHT -- a clear channel talk radio station whose programming remains the only one of its kind that was personally authorized by Sinatra.
Mark inaugurated his well-received local show, "The Sounds of Sinatra," some 55 years ago, later catapulting it to national syndication in 1979. Today, scores of radio stations from coast to coast are broadcasting the production, attracting an extensive spectrum of listeners from all age groups, cultures, beliefs and spiritual convictions.
The difference between Mark's programming and those on other radio stations promoting classic music styles is note-worthy. WPHT's needle has been stuck for more than half a century in the groove of only one type of music distinction: Frank Sinatra's.
Although many recording artists have attempted to re-imagine the unique characteristics of Sinatra's technique, only a few have succeeded in their endeavors. Rising to the top of the heap is Davi, who is set to take his critically-acclaimed Sinatra tribute to The Venetian in Las Vegas, NV, headlining a three-night engagement on February 23, 24 and 25.
"I was very much taken by Robert Davi's interpretation of Mr. Sinatra's music," stated Mark, who said he promised Sinatra he would play his music for as long as he has breath in his body. "[Davi's] songs are fresh. He understands the lyric. To meet him, one understands [that Davi] has lived the life."
Davi's relationship with Sinatra began early in life when Davi shared screentime with his mentor in "Contract on Cherry Street," a 1977 movie that marked Davi's introduction to Hollywood. Nearly 35 years later, Davi recorded "Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance," an acknowlegment of gratitude to Sinatra that secured a prestigious position on Billboard's Top 10 contemporary jazz charts within one month of its highly-anticipated release.
Coming face-to-face with the one man who is wholly committed to Sinatra's music was another chance of a lifetime for Davi.
"This is a man who Ol' Blue Eyes loved and who still loves Ol' Blue Eyes in such a profound way," said Davi. "I've come to understand that Sid is more than a legendary disc jockey. He is an artist. His violin is the recording device he uses to educate and inspire others. And when he listens, he listens with his whole being...totally immersed."
During their recorded conversation -- which will be broadcast in two parts beginning on January 21 and 22, and concluding on January 28 and 29 -- the two men of tremendous stature talked about music and their individual stories of Sinatra.
By the time Davi was ready to return to LA, he and Mark had forged deep emotional connections that resulted in an unscratched, unbreakable golden bond of industrious significance that seems to have been orchestrated by forces beyond mortal comprehension.
"My drive to Philly from New York was filled with anticipation of an easy trip," said Davi. "On my way to meet Sid, my GPS went haywire, taking me off course through Hoboken, New Jersey. Other than being possessed by some unknown factors, there is absolutely no logical explanation for why my GPS directed me to Frank Sinatra's birthplace prior to my interview with the man who has dedicated his life to playing Sinatra's music."
Perhaps it was providence that Robert Davi and Sid Mark would come face-to-face at a time when Davi is more determined than ever to help keep the spirit of Sinatra alive in the hearts of many.
As Davi prepares for his Las Vegas extravaganza, Mark has offered the star of such major blockbusters as "Die Hard" and "Licence to Kill" some affectionate, yet studied, words of advice.
"Treat each tune as if it were a diamond," said Mark. "Keep them polished and tuck them away in a safe place each evening."
Maybe those would have been the same encouraging thoughts Sinatra would have shared with Davi if Ol' Blue Eyes were still alive today.
Then again, maybe he just did.
Sid Mark's historic interview with Davi will be archived in perpetuity by Orange Productions.