The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus to EX++*
- This vintage Capitol stereo pressing boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER throughout
- An amazingly good sounding recording, easily one of his five best, and it would be hard to think of one that sounds better
- We would love to find you some original stereo pressings from 1958 in audiophile playing condition, but we find about two or three over the course of five or ten years, so these early '60s reissues are going to be the only game in town for the foreseeable future
- Frank’s vocals sound present, breathy, and full, and not many copies can deliver that sound
- According to John Rockwell’s book, Sinatra: An American Classic, when asked at a party in the mid-1970s if he had a favorite album among his recordings, without hesitation, Sinatra chose Only the Lonely
- Mark and problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings - there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- 5 stars: "Sinatra never forces emotion out of the lyric, he lets everything flow naturally, with grace. It’s a heartbreaking record, the ideal late-night album."
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*NOTE: On side 1, there is a mark that plays 15 times at a moderate level about 1/4" from the end of track 2, "Angel Eyes."
On side 2, there are marks that play at a light to loud level, at times intermittently, throughout tracks 1-4 ("Blues In The Night," "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry," "Ebb Tide," "Gone With The Wind"). There is a visible indent in the vinyl about 1/8" into track 4 that plays as 3 muted pops, and another about 1" from the end of the same track that also plays at 3 muted pops.
Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Frank Sinatra singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
This vintage Capitol stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What The Best Sides Of Only The Lonely Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1958
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Size and Space
One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small -- they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies -- my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” -- create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
And most of the time those very special pressings are just plain more involving. When you hear a copy that does all that -- a copy like this one -- it’s an entirely different listening experience.
What We're Listening For On Only The Lonely
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight note-like bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
A Must Own Sinatra Record
We consider this album Sinatra's Masterpiece. It's a Demo Disc Quality recording that should be part of any serious Vocal Collection.
Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- Only The Lonely
- Angel Eyes
- What's New?
- Willow Weep For Me
- Blues In The Night
- Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry
- Ebb Tide
- Gone With The Wind
- One For My Baby
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
Originally, Frank Sinatra had planned to record Only the Lonely with Gordon Jenkins, who had arranged his previous all-ballads album, Where Are You. Jenkins was unavailable at the time of the sessions, which led Sinatra back to his original arranger at Capitol, Nelson Riddle. The result is arguably his greatest ballads album.
Only the Lonely follows the same formula as his previous down albums, but the tone is considerably bleaker and more desperate. Riddle used a larger orchestra for the album than he had in the past, which lent the album a stately, nearly classical atmosphere. At its core, however, the album is a set of brooding saloon songs, highlighted by two of Sinatra’s tour de forces — “Angel Eyes” and “One for My Baby.”
Sinatra never forces emotion out of the lyric, he lets everything flow naturally, with grace. It’s a heartbreaking record, the ideal late-night album.
Sinatra was nominated for five Grammys at the inaugural Grammy Awards in 1959. Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely and Sinatra’s other album released in 1958, Come Fly with Me, were nominated for the Album of the Year, and Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely won the Grammy Award for Best Album Cover. -- Wikipedia