Recording Academy President on 100th Birthday Concert for Frank Sinatra: ‘It’s About Timelessness’

“When you analyze what Frank was able to do as an artist, it’s pretty unique and unusual,” Neil Portnow tells TheWrap about Chairman of the Board

Frank Sinatra trump inauguration
Frank Sinatra Enterprises

Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, is thrilled to have a chance to celebrate Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday with the “Sinatra 100” concert special.

In an interview with TheWrap, Portnow explained why he feels Sinatra’s legacy has endured across multiple generations.

“It’s about timelessness,” he said. “When you analyze what Frank was able to do as an artist, it’s pretty unique and unusual. We haven’t seen too many like him since and I doubt we will see many of that stature. It’s not only the gift he has in his voice, it’s his connectivity with an audience. The fact that on his 100th birthday Frank is still one of the most iconic artists on the planet is a testament to that.”

Among the stars paying tribute to Sinatra in the special are: Adam Levine; Seth MacFarlane; Tony Bennett; Lady Gaga; Carrie Underwood; John Legend; and many more. According to Portnow, it was no problem getting the high-profile list assembled.

“When you go out and say, ‘The Grammys are doing a tribute to Frank Sinatra on his 100th birthday,’ everybody says ‘Yes,’” he explained. “Frankly, it’s a matter of paring it down rather than convincing people to do it. And the only hesitation that I would ever hear is, ‘Boy, I hope I’m good enough.’”

Sinatra won nine Grammys in his career, including three for Album Of The Year for “Come Dance With Me” (1959), “September Of My Years” (1965) and “A Man And His Music” (1966). He also received a special Lifetime Achievement Award, Grammy Legend Award, and had 13 recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.

Introducing Sinatra to new generation of fans is essential, Portnow said.

“As stewards of pop culture and music, to be able to put the spotlight on Frank, and to put that in the context of a new generation that may not have heard of him and may discover something new, that’s smack in the middle of our mission and our thinking,” he said.

“Sinatra 100 — An All-Star Grammy Concert” will air on CBS Dec. 6 at 9 p.m./8c.