With the exception of the year the Beatles exploded on the American pop charts, no recording artist ever had a year as good as Frank Sinatra did in 1957. For my money three of the ten best albums Sinatra ever recorded came out that year, starting with "Come Fly With Me" and followed by "Where You Are" and "A Swinging Affair." But Sinatra also put out two other albums almost as good, "Close to You and More" and the soundtrack for "Pal Joey," while still finding time to record "A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra." Only the last qualifies as average, which means that in one year Sinatra put out five above average albums; stop and think how many artists put out five above average albums in an entire career.
As if often the case with Sinatra's Capitol albums during the Fifties, "Come Fly With Me" is a thematic collection of songs having to do with travel that takes listeners around the world. We go from "Moonlight in Vermont" and "Autumn in New York" to "April in Paris" and "London By Night." The emphasis on fun is seen in humorous songs like "Isle of Capri" and "On the Road to Mandalay." This album was Sinatra's first project with arranger Billy May and the result of the bold, brassy arrangements is more boisterous and more fun than his more somber albums, like "Where Are You." During this period Sinatra had proved his greatest strength was as a saloon singer, but from the opening notes of the title song, "Come Fly With Me" makes it clear that he was a master of the playful, carefree tune as well.
"Come Fly With Me" hit the top of the Billboard album charts in 1958. The cover, with its clear blue sky, stands out as a distinct memory from my childhood; I am sure my mother had pretty much all of the Sinatra albums, but this is the one that stands out in visual terms. This remastered album is further enhanced by the addition of a trio of bonus tracks, of which "Chicago" is the best (it was released as a single during this period), but his cover of Cole Porter's "I Love Paris" is pretty good as well. Even without those bonus tracks, "Come Fly With Me" remains one of the top ten Sinatra albums and therefore part of an essential collection of the man and his music.