The tracks of the album were initially to be arranged by Gordon Jenkins, but Jenkins at the time of the recording was working with Nat King Cole on his LP The Very Thought of You. So, Sinatra made the decision to have the tracks of the album arranged by Nelson Riddle.
Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely was recorded at Capitol Studio A, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. The album was recorded over the course of May and June of 1958 to be released in the autumn of that year. The album was recorded over three sessions throughout May 29 through June 25, and the sessions listed below include the masters featured in Only the Lonely.
- "Ebb Time," "Angel Eyes," and "Spring Is Here," "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry," "Only the Lonely," "Willow Weep For Me" were recorded on May 29, 1958.
- "Blues in the Night," "What's New?," "Gone with the Wind," and "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" were recorded on June 24, 1958.
- "It's a Lonesome Old Town" and "Goodbye" were recorded on June 25, 1958.
Only the Lonely was a successor to Sinatra's previous ballad albums released under Capitol, In the Wee Small Hours and Where Are You?. The album introduced Sinatra to some of his most-famous saloon songs, "Angel Eyes" and "One for My Baby." Sinatra would go on to sing these songs in concert into 1990's.
The concept of the album begins with the precedent from "Only the Lonely" with Sinatra finding places in which "only the lonely go." From there, he finds a bistro with "Angel Eyes," and disappears to find his girl in "What's New?." After finding loss with "It's a Lonesome Old Town" and "Willow Weep for Me," Sinatra says "Goodbye" and finds "Blues in the Night." After thinking he finds love with "Ebb Tide," spring rolls around with the Rodgers/Hart song "Spring is Here." To follow with "Gone with the Wind," Sinatra comes to the realization his girl is gone and goes to a saloon to spend the rest of the night. This concludes the album with "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)."
- "Only the Lonely" (Sammy Cahn, Jimmy Van Heusen) – 4:10
- "Angel Eyes" (Matt Dennis, Earl Brent) – 3:46
- "What's New?" (Bob Haggart, Johnny Burke) – 5:13
- "It's a Lonesome Old Town" (Harry Tobias, Charles Kisco) – 4:18
- "Willow Weep for Me" (Ann Ronell) – 4:49
- "Goodbye"(Gordon Jenkins) – 5:45
- "Blues in the Night" (Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) – 4:44
- "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" (Cahn, Jule Styne) – 4:00
- "Ebb Tide" (Robert Maxwell, Carl Sigman) – 3:18
- "Spring is Here" (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) – 4:47
- "Gone with the Wind" (Allie Wrubel, Herb Magidson) – 5:15
- "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" (Arlen, Mercer) – 4:23
- Bonus tracks included on the 1987 CD release:
- "Sleep Warm" (Lew Spence, Marilyn Keith, Alan Bergman) – 2:45
- "Where or When" (Rodgers, Hart) – 2:25
Like most of Sinatra's Capitol albums, none of the songs featured in the actual album's track listing were released as singles. However, the song "Sleep Warm" from the recording dates of the album was released as a B-side single of the song "Mr. Success."
Allmusic reviewed the album at a perfect score of five out of five stars. Describing Riddle's arrangements, Stephen Thomas Erlewine states that they give a "stately, nearly classical atmosphere" as well as claiming the album is more "bleaker and more desperate" than Where Are You?.
Rolling Stone reviewed the album and also gave it a perfect five out of five star score.
Only the Lonely peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts of 1958.
Awards and nominations
Alongside Come Fly with Me, Only the Lonely was nominated for "Album of the Year' in 1959, but lost to Henry Mancini for The Music from Peter Gunn. Only the Lonely did, however, win the award for best album art and photography in the category for "Best Recording Package."
|Sammy Cahn||Liner Notes|
|James Van Heusen||Liner Notes|
|Nelson Riddle||Arranger, Conductor|
|Frank Sinatra||Art Direction, Vocals|
|Pete Welding||Liner Notes|
- Only the Lonely recording dates – May 29, 1958 1st session
- Only the Lonely recording dates – May 29, 1958 2nd session
- Only the Lonely recording dates – June 24, 1958
- Only the Lonely recording dates – June 25, 1958
- Allmusic review
- Rolling Stone 5/5 listing
[[Category:Albums released in 1958]