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From James Bond to the Rat Pack: Robert Davi Sings Sinatra

Get this. June 26 happens to be the 70th birthday of actor and singer Robert Davi, which makes him exactly 18 years my senior. 

And that song that he sings, 1969’s My Way, just happened to be sitting at No.21 on the UK singles charts the day I entered the world, though it was early days – just three months into a mammoth 124-week run. Get a kick out of him.

Rat Pack inspired crooners? They’re ten a penny these days aren’t they? 

Employing all the trusty old tropes that deliver competent if predictable imitations of Sinatra’s swagger and style, it seems like every Tom, Dick and Davi has hitched a ride on the big band bandwagon. Mind you, this particular Davi can state his case with a bona fide connection to the Chairman Of The Board. 

Robert Davi made his motion picture debut in 1977’s Contract On Cherry Street, a New York detective thriller about the mob that coincidentally happened to be a vehicle for the penultimate starring role of Frank Sinatra himself.

You may recognise Davi as the tough guy actor who went on to feature in everything from The Goonies, Die Hard, and most memorably, as Franz Sanchez, the Latin American drug lord in the 007 revenge story Licence To Kill, which I’ve always thought of as coming across like an enjoyable TV movie rather than a traditional Bond film.

Backed by a thirty-piece orchestra and production by Phil Ramone, in 2011 recorded the Davi Sings Sinatra: On The Road To Romance album at the legendary Capitol Records building in Hollywood, where Ol’ Blue Eyes had laid down many of his most acclaimed works.

With his laidback Italian manner and, above all, his musicality shining through, I was pleasantly surprised how well Davi really can sing: smooth and strong crooner voice, phrasing, and first class pronunciation, if not the broad range of Sinatra at his peak. Of which I’m certain.

Steve Pafford

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