Frank Sinatra’s unfinished version of Lush Life will be released on October 19 as part of a deluxe reissue of his 1958 album Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely, Variety reported. Composed by Billy Strayhorn, Lush Life, considered a jazz standard, was abandoned by Sinatra mid-take at Capitol Records Studio in 1958.
The song has been mentioned in several of Sinatra’s biographies, Variety said, including James Kaplan’s 2015 book Sinatra: The Chairman. Kaplan writes that Lush Life was removed because it did not blend in with the other songs on the album. “It [Lush Life] was wrong for Frank. He certainly had the musical chops for it...(but) in some basic way, Lush Life didn’t speak to him,” Variety quotes Kaplan as saying in the book. “In the end (it) was an art song rather than a ballad.”
Several bootlegged versions of the song have come out over the years but this is the first time that Sinatra’s record label and estate are releasing it publicly, Variety said.
Lush Life was first publicly performed by its composer, Strayhorn, with vocalist Kay Davis in November 1948. It has since been covered by numerous artists including Nat King Cole, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Mathis, Sarah Vaughan, Rickie Lee Jones, Queen Latifah, Linda Ronstadt. It was recently performed by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett as a duet.