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Friday, May 15, 1998 Published at 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK

Special Report

Empire State Building turns blue as silent tribute
image: [ Frank Sinatra: appreciated by millions around the globe ]
Frank Sinatra: appreciated by millions around the globe

New York, the city whose praises were sung by Frank Sinatra, has announced that it is turning its most famous landmark blue as statesmen and superstars paid tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes.

The top of the Empire State Building will be bathed in blue light for three days in a symbolic "thank you" to the legendary crooner who enjoyed a long association with the city.

Sinatra will be best remembered among the city's inhabitants for his vibrant 1980 version of New York, New York, which reached number four in the American charts.

A spokesman for the Empire State Building Company said: "We will be turning the top of the building blue with floodlights.

"It is a silent tribute to a man who has a place in a lot of New Yorkers' hearts for his singing and his links with the city.

"Lighting up the building in blue is just our way of saying thanks for the memories."

Tributes to Frank Sinatra from around the world have been led by President Bill Clinton currently attending the G8 summit in Birmingham, England.

The US president sent condolences to the family and described himself as a great admirer of Sinatra's style.

[ image: Clinton: condolences to Sinatra family]
Clinton: condolences to Sinatra family
"When I became president, I had never met Frank Sinatra, although I was an enormous admirer of his," Mr Clinton said.

"I had the opportunity after I became president to get to know him a little, to have dinner with him, to appreciate on a personal level what hundreds of millions of people around the world appreciated from afar," he added.

Recently, Nancy Sinatra spoke of how she wanted her father Frank to be remembered.

She said: "He was the finest singer of American popular songs in US history. I don't think there will be another one like him, I really don't.

"I hope students in 100 years time from now will know the other side to this man.

"He represents innocence and vulnerability. But most of all he represents honesty. He is the most honest man you could ever have known."

[ image: Blair:
Blair: "grew up with Sinatra songs"
The British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Frank Sinatra had been one of the greatest performers of the century.

"I have never met him or seen him perform, but I have seen many of his films and heard his songs. I have grown up with Frank Sinatra and he will be deeply missed," said Mr Blair, also at the G8 summit.

American author Gore Vidal said the singer had played a unique part in the life of his country.

"I would say that half the population of the United States over the age of 40 was conceived while their parents were listening to his records. He played a great romantic role in the country," he said.

Singer Elton John, in Boston, USA, said Sinatra "was simply the best - no one else even comes close."

Entertainer Bruce Forsyth said: "He was the guv'nor as far as I was concerned. I was very shocked when I heard the news, although it wasn't unexpected.

" I think we had known it was coming for a few years."

It is often assumed that Mr Forsyth was a friend of Sinatra because of their close associations with mutual friend Sammy Davies Junior, but the two only rubbed shoulders once.

Mr Forsyth added: "It is one of the big regrets in my life that I never met him properly. He is one of the two people I would always have loved to meet, Frank and Fred Astaire."

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