In 1960, Nice ‘n’ Easy did it for Frank Sinatra. Following his masterpiece of melancholy, No One Cares, he returned with a set of romantic, reflective ballads anchored by a quintessentially breezy title track. Featuring The Voice at his deeply felt best and the orchestrations of Nelson Riddle at their lushest, Nice ‘n’ Easy spent nine weeks at the top of the Billboard stereo album chart of a total 86 chart weeks. It received multiple Grammy Award nominations including Album of the Year and was certified Gold. Capitol Records, Frank Sinatra Enterprises, and UMe will reissue this album in time for its 60th anniversary in an expanded and remixed edition featuring three bonus tracks. It will arrive on May 15 on digital platforms and June 5 in physical CD and LP editions.
As well as Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Lew Spence’s future standard “Nice ‘n’ Easy” – actually a late addition to the album – the LP featured songs by the leading lights of the Great American Songbook such as Irving Berlin (“How Deep Is the Ocean”), George and Ira Gershwin (“I’ve Got a Crush on You,” “Embraceable You”), and Johnny Mercer (“Dream,” “Fools Rush In” with Rube Bloom), and Richard Whiting (“She’s Funny That Way” with Neil Moret). As always, Sinatra made these songs his own aided by Riddle’s incomparable arrangements. What made these renditions even more special, though, was the fact that Sinatra had recorded all of them in the first decade of his career. By the time sessions for the album commenced in March 1960, all of these songs had gotten under Sinatra’s skin. That lived-in quality contributed to the power of his mature vocals, developed from life experience and the intuitive instinct of a fine actor.
The album was originally to be built around the Hoagy Carmichael/Ned Washington classic “The Nearness of You,” but when Sinatra took a chance on “Nice ‘n’ Easy” – the lone contemporary tune on the LP – the older song was cut from the running order. Nice ‘n’ Easy was released in July 1960, and “The Nearness of You” belatedly ended up on 1962’s Sinatra Sings…of Love and Things and The Great Years, two of the albums Capitol assembled in the wake of his defection to his own Reprise label. That same year, it was released on a stereo jukebox single and on a various-artists compilation LP. It was first included on a Nice ‘n’ Easy CD reissue on the 1991 Capitol edition, and it is again appended to this anniversary iteration with its original take slate intact.
Two more bonus tracks are also included: the previously unreleased session takes for “Nice ‘n’ Easy” and “I’ve Got a Crush on You.” (One alternate take of “Nice ‘n’ Easy” was included on the 2007 Capitol collection Romance: Songs from the Heart.) The CD liner notes include vintage quotes from personnel including Sinatra, Riddle, and pianist Bill Miller. A standalone vinyl edition will also be released on June 5, presenting just the remixed album with no bonus material.
As with past Sinatra reissues, Nice ‘n’ Easy has been remixed in stereo for this release. Look for this 60th anniversary edition on May 15 (digital) and June 5 (physical) at the links below!
Frank Sinatra, Nice ‘n’ Easy: 60th Anniversary Expanded Edition (Capitol SW-1417, 1960 – reissued Capitol/FSE/UMe, 2020)
- Nice ‘n’ Easy
- That Old Feeling
- How Deep Is the Ocean
- I’ve Got a Crush on You
- You Go to My Head
- Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)
- Nevertheless (I’m Still in Love with You)
- She’s Funny That Way
- Try a Little Tenderness
- Embraceable You
- The Nearness of You (Bonus Track)
- I’ve Got a Crush on You – Session Takes (previously unreleased)
- Nice ‘n’ Easy – Session Takes (previously unreleased)