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July 17, 2006

 
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FLY ME TO THE MOON
Right and Left Hand Man to Ol' Blue Eyes



Bill Miller, pianist and conductor for Frank Sinatra for almost 50 years, died in Montreal last week from complications following a heart attack. The guy played on all of Frank’s greatest 60s and 70s sides. Like the singer, he could swing and then turn around and break your heart; Sinatra called him “my partner at the piano.”

Miller, born in Brooklyn in 1915, was 18-years-old when he started playing the big band scene with Larry Funk and his Band of a Thousand Melodies before moving on to stints with Joe Haymes and Red Norvo. It was after his tenure with Norvo in 1952 that Miller and Sinatra hooked up. Miller joined Frank on the road and in the studio and is most famous for his deft finger work on unforgettable recordings like One For My Baby, Lady is a Tramp, The Lonesome Road, and more classics than you can shake a martini at.

Their professional relationship made them friends. In 1969 when Miller lost his wife and house in a mudslide in the Los Angeles hills, Sinatra paid his hospital bills, bought him a new apartment, and helped the inconsolable musician resume a somewhat normal life. Onstage the singer nicknamed the pianist "Sunshine Charlie" – ironic, because like Sinatra, Miller dug the night time and rarely saw daylight.

When Sinatra died of a heart attack in 1998 at age 82, Miller played One for My Baby at the funeral and eventually ended up working with Frank Sinatra Jr.’s orchestra until two weeks ago when he fell and broke his hip while touring with Junior in Canada.

The heart attack followed soon after. There were complications.

The last thing the pianist said as he was wheeled into the operating room was “Fly me to the moon.”

Bill Miller was 91-years-old.

A.) I understand Nat King Cole was a great influence on him.
B.) 91-years-old and still playing onstage ... bravo.
C.) I hate goddamn Mondays.




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WARNING - Do Not Click:

FIVE GODLESS
MONDAY LINKS
YOU DON'T NEED

1.....81-Year-old grandma stabbed, strangled, and stuffed in closet.
2.....Justin Timberlake and his secret drugs.
3.....Marisol Bello writes about a "pungent odor akin to rotting flesh mixed with manure."
4.....Oh fuck, I think I'm gonna puke.
5.....Eminem allegedly beats on an old guy at a titty bar.




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