5 Sinatra Songs You Gotta Hear: “Day By Day”

5. “Day By Day” (click title to listen)
From Come Swing With Me! (Capitol, 1961)

Come Swing With Me! is one of Sinatra’s last proper albums for Capitol (not counting, of course, the cobbled-together leftover albums that the label dummied up after Frank had moved on). I actually am really indifferent to it as a whole.

The whole idea and push behind this album was much better realized a year later on Swing Along With Me!, which Capitol sued to have renamed to Sinatra Swings! for fear that people would mistake the titles and hurt Come Swing With Me! sales (Capitol probably could’ve helped this album’s cause by letting the similar moniker stick and using non-discerning customers’ mistake to their advantage).

Billy May was the conductor on both Come Swing With Me! and Swing Along With Me!. His arrangements gave Sinatra a hell of a platform to sing and swing on. But for most of Come Swing With Me!, Sinatra just sounds disengaged. Not necessarily to a distracting point—it’s just that if you listen to a lot of Frank and you know the subtext of the battle percolating between him and Capitol at the time, you can kind of hear some traces of “F*ck this sh*t” creeping in.

Compare the vocals on Come Swing With Me! to the gusto he sings with on Ring-a-Ding-Ding!, the album he delivered shortly later on his own label.

For all the faults of Come Swing With Me! though, it has “Day By Day,” which just might be one of the greatest album openers of all time. Sinatra’s fully engaged (it’s a pity it doesn’t last to the second track), and the arrangement is alive and exciting. Turn up that bass and take it in.

In an ideal world, he would’ve given the song another pass for Swing Along With Me!, where that album’s production would’ve brought even more oomph to the proceedings and given Frank good reason to dump that album’s only bit of dead weight, “Granada.”

But hey, “Day By Day” on a meh album is a million times better than no “Day By Day” at all.

This post was authored by Paul Snyder.