Greetings and Salutations fellow Thursday night explorers,
Come out and join us this week as we travel to Angelo’s Piano Lounge to take in some great times with great people. Angelo’s almost serves as a memory of what things used to be. One item you are sure to notice when you are at Angelo’s is a very large portrait of the Sultan of Swoon himself: Frank Sinatra. Every woman wanted to have him and every man wanted to be him. He was a man of many talents, but none more important than that oh-so-easy to recognize voice. You see, Frank came from an era where music carried weight to it; it had feeling and made you sit down and listen. What people don’t know is that behind Frank’s amazing career was a Milwaukee Piano lounge and a certain can of Old Milwaukee…
It all started in 1952, when Sinatra had reached an all-time low in his career. His relationship with Columbia Records was disintegrating; one musician even claimed Sinatra “couldn’t give away records”. Sinatra was playing in Las Vegas to a mere 150 people a night in an auditorium that could seat 1200. Sinatra knew things need to change. One day while going through his mail, he found a red envelope addressed to him from Milwaukee. He opened it to find a simple invitation asking him to play at a small piano lounge in Milwaukee. With nothing tying him to Vegas, he decided to go. He arrived at Angelo’s late on a Wednesday night, the bar dimly lit with the rays of neon shining bright through the window, He approached the bartender to ask about the invitation, but before he could get a word out, a mysterious man in the back corner said, “Hey Frank! Why don’t ya play me something!” Frank jokingly replied “Are you sure? Not sure if you noticed but the music just isn’t finding me right now.” Suddenly, a blindingly bright spotlight illuminated a stage, a piano, and a can of Old Milwaukee. “Have a drink Frank!”
Frank approached the piano, cracked open the can and took a sip. Then, as if every musical ounce of Frank’s talent came pouring out, he performed and wrote “You Make Me Feel So Young” on the spot. The mysterious man in the shadows stood up, approached the stage, and started to clap. Frank looked up with the look of astonishment and happiness, and took a bow. For the next week, Frank would go on to play sold out shows in Milwaukee all whilst writing some of his greatest hits. It was the day Frank left that he finally asked the bartender who the mysterious man was; “Oh that’s just Angelo, the owner”. Frank smiled and finished his beer. In tradition, many musicians will now leave a beer on their piano for Frank in hopes that one day they find that same inspiration.
Cheers my Friends!
Your Co-Founder and Friend,
*Keeping your glass filled and spirits high one Thursday at a time, this is Welcome to Thursdays: a local social group determined to make your Thursdays more fun. Each Wednesday, The Squeaky Curd features a fictitious history of a Milwaukee County bar that we gather at on Thursday evening. Join us this Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Angelo’s Piano Lounge, located at 1866 N. Van Buren St. (Lower East Side) at 7:30pm.*