Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely - 1958

Abridged Stereo Releases


The vast, vast majority of stereo releases of this album through the years have been abridged (incomplete), missing two songs.  On this page, we will look at these commonly-available releases, but I really cannot recommend any albums on this page, for the simple reason that FRANK SINATRA SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY was conceived and recorded as a twelve-song collection.  If you want to hear FRANK SINATRA SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY, you should hear it in its full-length scope and glory, in my opinion.  It’s a landmark album, and should be absorbed “in whole,” no?  That said, many people still buy these incomplete releases, sometimes for their sound characteristics, so they are worth looking at for technical reasons, if nothing else.

Each clip on this page falls within the 90-second free sample clip freely available on iTunes.  Click VIEW in the box above to hear the 90-second iTunes clip.

AUDIO CLIPS - Abridged LPs

Click photos to hear audio

Above: Original SW-1053 D11 LP

Above: Mid-60s SW-1053 W19 LP, courtesy stevelucille

Above: c. 1967 ST-1053 W21 LP, cut at Capitol in NYC, pressed by RCA

Above: 1969 ST-8-1053 H1 Capitol Record Club LP, cut at Capitol, pressed at Decca (see note at right)

Above: c. 1969-1972 SLCT 6168 UK LP, D43, lacquer cut at Capitol in Hollywood, pressed at EMI in England

Above: 1973 SY-4533 J2 LP

Above: c. 1973 SM-1053 J47 LP

Above: c. 1974 SY-4533 H6#2 LP

Above: c. 1977 SM-1053 F50 LP (cut on Neumann Lathe)

Above: c. 1977 SM 501053 G5 Columbia Record Club LP, cut at Capitol (Neumann Lathe), pressed by Columbia

Note about the 1969 Decca LP at left:  Your ears are not fooling you: there is no sound on one channel.  Not only that, but the entire album is that way on both sides!  Not Decca’s fault, as Capitol cut the lacquers.


Reel-to-Reel Releases

This album just missed the window of opportunity for release on Capitol’s  2-track, 7.5 ips reel-to-reel format.  (Considering the album’s obscenely long running time of nearly 60 minutes, the 30-minute time limit of that format would have resulted in either 5/12ths of the album being deleted, or in this being a 2-tape set, which likely would have sold from something like $24.95 in 1958 dollars, or about $160 in 2016 dollars -- truly a boutique item!)

In fact, when FRANK SINATRA SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY was released, Capitol’s tape division, overseen by former Sinatra mixer John Palladino, was about to go on a bit of a hiatus, undergoing a transition from the 7.5 ips 2-track format (running in one direction only) to the more commercially viable 7.5 ips 4-track format (2 tracks in each direction, meaning the tape would be turned over for side two, just like an LP).  According to Billboard’s April 11, 1960 issue, Capitol retrenched from the 2-track format (and indeed all tape formats) in October of 1958, returning to the commercial pre-recorded tape market in April of 1960 with 11 titles, all in the inferior 4-track format, including Sings for Only the Lonely:

Now, let’s face it, folks.  Regardless of what the “P.R. machine” told us, the main reason for going from two-track tape to four-track tape was to reduce costs, so it comes as no surprise that if it was okay to go from half-track tape at 7.5 ips to quarter-track tape at 7.5 ips (reducing tape stock by half), why not cut the tape speed in half, too, to reduce duplication time AND tape stock?  Of course, that very thing came to pass (around 1966?), because nothing is better than saving money, right?

Our friends “stevelucille” and “ArneW” have shared clips from their 7.5 ips and 3.75 ips tapes of this album, and those clips have been posted at the Steve Hoffman Music Forum.  You can hear them here:

Clearly, the 3.75 ips tape is a step down in quality from the 7.5 ips tape (and the 7.5 ips tape is a definite step down from the two-track, 7.5 ips tapes that Capitol had been selling earlier in the 1950s.)  If both tapes were in “mint condition,” the 7.5 ips version would be the head-and-shoulders preference.

Before we leave the topic of reel-to-reel tapes, here is the rest of that article from Billboard, April 11, 1960:

Above: Original SW-1053 N3 LP, courtesy Arkoffs

Above: Original SW-1053 D7#2 LP, courtesy Arkoffs