On Sinatra, Tom’s The Man
WHEN Tom Burlinson was a toddler in the late 1950s, he would point to his mum’s Frank Sinatra record and insist she play it.
“Let’s hear the man in the hat,” the youngster bellowed.
Although a fan at three, he never guessed his career would one day centre on ‘ol’ blue eyes’ himself.
Best known as ‘The Man from Snowy River’ after starring in the 1982 film, Burlinson now makes his primary living singing the songs of the legendary crooner.
“There was something about Sinatra, the music and songs that grabbed me from a very young age,” the Sydneysider said.
Burlinson followed the path of a young actor and didn’t reveal his vocal ability until 1991, with the help of Sinatra’s daughter Tina.
“I had written a song called The Man in the Hat about Frank’s effect on my life and sang it on The Midday Show,” he said.
“Then I heard about the mini-series, Sinatra, produced by Tina and wanted to be considered to play the role of Frank.”
Burlinson said Tina cast another actor as Frank but needed someone to sing his voice as a young man.
“I flew to LA and sang to her and she offered me the job – I wasn’t a professional singer, so I was absolutely pinching myself,” he said.
“Then it became known in Australia that The Man from Snowy River could not only sing, but sounded like Sinatra, so that led to me performing in stage musicals and eventually to creating my own show about Sinatra in 1998.”
Now Burlinson is performing classic live album, Sinatra at the Sands.
“I’m not pretending to be Frank but there is a fine line there,” he said.
“Some of the performance, attitude and skill come out because it goes with the territory but I have my own emotional connection with the material.
“I’m never saying that I’m as good as Sinatra, although it has been gratifying over the years to hear people say: ‘I closed my eyes and Frank was still alive’.”