Frank Sinatra In the Wee Small Hours

For a decade, Sinatra pushed to make a cohesive LP at a time when no one in the record business was thinking beyond singles. Finally, his break-up with Ava Gardner provided the perfect catalyst. These 16 ballads, recorded in just a few days, are the authoritative take on masculine loneliness. Like all Sinatra songs, they’re not just beautifully sung but interpreted into drama: the title track is the initial confession of pain, Rodgers and Hart’s “Glad to Be Unhappy” and Cole Porter’s “I Get Along Without You Very Well” the futile denials, and “I’ll Never Be the Same” the grim acceptance that the lady’s gone for good.