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"It Was a Very Good Year"
Single by Frank Sinatra
from the album September of My Years
B-side"Moment to Moment"
ReleasedDecember 1965
StudioUnited Western Recorders, United A
Songwriter(s)Ervin Drake
Producer(s)Sonny Burke
Frank Sinatra singles chronology
"Ev'rybody Has the Right to Be Wrong! (At Least Once)"
"It Was a Very Good Year"
"Strangers in the Night"

"It Was a Very Good Year" is a song composed by Ervin Drake in 1961 and originally recorded by Bob Shane with the Kingston Trio.[1][2] It was made famous by Frank Sinatra's version in D minor,[3] which won the Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal Performance in 1966 and became Sinatra's first number one Adult Contemporary single while it peaked at #28 on the Hot 100.[4]


The nostalgic,[5] melancholic song[6][7] recounts the type of girls with whom the singer had relationships at various years in his life: when he was 17, "small-town girls ... on the village green"; at 21, "city girls who lived up the stairs"; at 35, "blue-blooded girls of independent means". Each of these years he calls "very good". In the song's final verse, the singer reflects that he is older, and in the autumn of his years, and he thinks back on his entire life "as vintage wine". All of these romances were sweet to him, like a wine from a very good (i.e., vintage) year.


Ervin Drake's inspiration to write the song was his then wife-to-be, Edith Vincent Bermaine. She was a showgirl, whom he had dated, and eventually married twenty years after the song was written.[8]

Notable recordings

In popular media

See also


  1. ^ Rubeck, Shaw, Blake et al., The Kingston Trio On Record (Naperville IL: KK Inc, 1986), p. 46
  2. ^ a b Friedwald, Will (2009-04-02). "When He Was 46 it Was a Very Good Year - WSJ". Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  3. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 22 - Smack Dab in the Middle on Route 66: A skinny dip in the easy listening mainstream. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  5. ^ Browne, Ray Broadus; Ambrosetti, Ronald J. (1993). Continuities in Popular Culture: The Present in the Past & the Past in the Present and Future. ISBN 9780879725938.
  6. ^ "50 years later, a look back at Sinatra's influential "It Was a Very Good Year"".
  7. ^ American Icons: Frank Sinatra. Stonesong Press. 2018-04-15. ISBN 9781493033010.
  8. ^ Bernstein, Adam (January 15, 2015). "Ervin Drake, songwriter of 'It Was a Very Good Year,' dies at 95". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
  9. ^ Peppiat, Wheaton et. el. Sinatra: A Man and his Music. Warner Bros. DVD, prod. Hemion, Raskin,1999
  10. ^ "Modern Folk Quartet - Modern Folk Quartet | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  11. ^ "Michael Jackson - It Was A Very Good Year - Diana TV Show Special 1971 - GMJHD". Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Ervin Drake, songwriter - obituary". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  13. ^ ""The Simpsons" Duffless (TV Episode 1993)". IMDb, Inc. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Songfacts, It Was A Very Good Year". Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  15. ^ Rabasca Roepe, Lisa. "50 years later, a look back at Sinatra's influential "It Was A Very Good Year"". Retrieved 22 February 2020.