It was just a coincidence, perhaps, that they both happened to be from New Jersey — Frank Sinatra from Hoboken, and Count Basie from Red Bank — but their occasional musical partnership was a remarkably fruitful one, yielding three great albums: “Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First” (1962), “It Might As Well Be Swing” (1964) and the live album “Sinatra at the Sands” (1966). Combine Sinatra’s charismatic vocal style with Basie’s robust approach to swing, and the results were almost always magical.
“Fly Me to the Moon,” from “It Might As Well Be Swing,” was perhaps their finest moment together: the definitive take on this often recorded, Bart Howard-written song.
It was also, coincidentally, the first song every heard on the moon: astronaut Buzz Aldrin (also a New Jerseyan, hailing from Montclair) played it there on a cassette player in 1969.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.