It Was a Very Good Year

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"It Was a Very Good Year" is a song composed by Ervin Drake in 1961 for and originally recorded by Bob Shane with The Kingston Trio.[1][2] It was subsequently made famous by Frank Sinatra's version in D-minor,[3] which won the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Male in 1966. Gordon Jenkins was awarded Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for the Sinatra version. This single peaked at #28 on the U.S. pop chart and became Sinatra's first #1 single on the Easy Listening charts.[4] The song can be found on Sinatra's 1965 album September of My Years. A live, stripped-down performance is featured on his Sinatra at the Sands album. It was featured in The Sopranos season two opener, "Guy Walks into a Psychiatrist's Office...".

The song recounts the type of girls the singer had relationships with at various years in his life: when he was 17, "small-town girls on the village green"; at 21, "city girls who lived up the stairs"; at 35, "blue-blooded girls of independent means." Each of these years he calls "very good." In the song's final verse, the singer reflects that he is older, and he thinks back on his entire life "as vintage wine." All of these romances were sweet to him, like a wine from a very good (i.e. vintage) year. The song written by Ervin Drake actually was inspired by his future wife to be Edith Vincent Bermaine. She was a showgirl who he dated, and thirty years later married.


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  1. ^ Rubeck, Shaw, Blake et al., The Kingston Trio On Record (Naperville IL: KK Inc, 1986), p. 46
  2. ^ a b Friedwald, Will (2009-04-02). "When He Was 46 it Was a Very Good Year - WSJ". Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  3. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 22 - Smack Dab in the Middle on Route 66: A skinny dip in the easy listening mainstream. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  5. ^ Peppiat, Wheaton et. el. Sinatra: A Man and his Music. Warner Bros. DVD, prod. Hemion, Raskin,1999
  6. ^ "Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde". 2006. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 

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