Nowhere does Christmas sound so old-fashioned and ‘classy’ as on this compilation from 2002, which I bought in the European 2007 version. The Rat Pack does possess a softer, mellow side.
The Rat Pack
The name “The Rat Pack” stems back to the 1940s, when the home of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart was called “Holmby Hills Rat Pack”, a reference to the group of friends Bogart frequently hung out with. According to legend, Bacall was the one who first named the group “The Rat Pack”. Initially the group was comprised of people like Errol Flynn, Ava Gardner, Nat King Cole, Robert Mitchum, Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis, Mickey Rooney, Lena Horne, Jerry Lewis and Cesar Romero.
After Bogart’s death in 1957 Frank Sinatra got engaged to Lauren Bacall. The Rat Pack’s ‘leadership’ moved over to Sinatra. The group changed into a production team consisting of artists and actors who supported each other’s careers. Movies were produced by the group, like 1958’s Some Came Running.
The biggest hit came in 1960 when The Rat Pack released the movie Ocean’s 11, a film about robberies and break-ins in Las Vegas, the city where The Rat Pack practically lived. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop were the stars: the second incarnation of The Rat Pack had arrived. During the 1960s The Rat Pack slimmed down to the main 3: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
Slowly but surely, the name became a relic of the past, the men grew apart (professionally speaking). In 1984 the three men suddenly appeared in a movie, Cannonball Run II, together, only to disappear into the background again. Until the announcement came that Sinatra, Davis Jr. and Martin were to go out on tour together. The tour started on March 13, 1988. Just 5 shows into the tour, Martin withdrew himself and was replaced by Liza Minnelli. Not long after the tour ended Sammy Davis Jr. passed away, officially ending The Rat Pack.
Christmas With The Rat Pack
In 2002 a collection of Rat Pack Christmas songs was compiled, representing the most famous line-up: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, at a time that they were on top of the world and their abilities. In 2007 the collection was re-released in remastered form and a new cover. A great collection, harking back at times long gone by. Great music for those dark days surrounding Christmas.
- I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (Dean Martin)
- Mistletoe And Holly (Frank Sinatra)
- Christmas Time All Over The World (Sammy Davis, Jr.)
- The First Noel (Frank Sinatra)
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Dean Martin)
- I Believe (Frank Sinatra)
- Silver Bells (Dean Martin)
- The Christmas Song (Sammy Davis, Jr.)
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Frank Sinatra)
- Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Dean Martin)
- The Christmas Waltz (Frank Sinatra)
- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Dean Martin)
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Frank Sinatra)
- Peace On Earth / Silent Night (Dean Martin)
- Jingle Bells (Sammy Davis, Jr.)
- White Christmas (Dean Martin)
- It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (Frank Sinatra)
- Winter Wonderland (Dean Martin)
- I’ll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams) (Frank Sinatra)
- A Marshmallow World (Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin, live)
- Auld Lang Syne (Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin, live)
What’s your take on the collection? Do you like it just as much as I do? Let me know!
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Christmas With The Rat Pack.
Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin – Oceans 11 (1960) image: pinterest.com
The Rat Pack in Las Vegas 1960s image: bestclassicbands.com
The Rat Pack backstage Las Vegas 1960s image: allthatsinteresting.com
Christmas With The Rat Pack (2007) image: last.fm
Christmas With The Rat Pack (2002) image: amazon.co.uk
Christmas With The Rat Pack (2013) image: bol.com