Monday, May 02, 2011

John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra and Me

Well, another find in my father and mother's record collection has me shaking my head in amazement and appreciation.
I've written about cleaning out and selling my mother Sheila's suburban house here several times, and also written quite frequently about my late father Edward's (and apparently some of my mother and possibly grandparents) record collection. It is quite an impressive one of big band jazz bands and vocalists as well a lots of other jazz, classical and even Celtic music.
As I cleaned out the house and compile that collection, I have become a bit more familiar with my own vinyl collection, with much of it having been stored at my parents' house and slowly but surely making its way to our house.
So, as I was doing some cleaning and compiling this morning (in between some job searching), I found a cardboard box, 12 inches wide, 14 inches long and 6 inches tall, with the flaps folded over. From what I could see inside, it contained some old record jackets/albums of 33s and 78s. Nothing too surprising yet, considering the age of many of my father's records.
When I opened the box, I found on top of the other albums and jackets a clear plastic trifold holder with an old photo of President John F. Kennedy and the dates 1917-1963, obviously issued in memorial after he was assassinated.
Also in the folder is an old 45 in a plain brown wrapper with the words "'High Hopes' with Jack Kennedy" on the front and "Jack Kennedy" and "All the Way" on the back, and the number kb-2077 on the front and kb-2078 on the back. There is no record label listed and no other credits or explanatory information on the record or sleeve.
I assumed that this was a spoken word record, like so many elected officials, politicians and celebrities of that era recorded (hell, I also found a kind of flexi disc Red Skelton recorded in my father's collection), so I looked it up in the Internet to find out a bit more about it.
Holy crap; it turns out that this record is the legendary, rare recording Frank Sinatra made of his hit song "High Hopes," with new lyrics written by Sammy Kahn specifically for the 1960 Kennedy presidential campaign. On the flip side is the same orchestra and chorus, but minus Sinatra, with a Kennedy campaign version of "All the Way."
I have heard of this 45 before, but never actually seen it and never had any idea that it was in my parents' record collection. Admittedly, both were fans of President Kennedy (my parents being Roman Catholic and first-generation Irish Americans), but this record was never mentioned and was obviously put aside and protected. It makes sense because I have found a copy of the special edition of the Buffalo News from the day Kennedy was assassinated in my mother's items.
The amount of money being offered for copies of this record also gave me pause, so now the question arises, do we sell this and put the money toward my mother's continued care, do we keep it, let it gain value and sell it a little later, or do we treasure it as an amazing keepsake?
On the whole, this is another reason why music and music collecting has such a hold on me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I too just found numerous copies of this JFK record cleaning out some old closets.

Any idea where to get a current value?

5:19 PM  

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