On Si­na­tra, Tom’s The Man

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Music - Sara Fitz­patrick

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’.”

Tom Burlin­son

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