Goodbye combines biography with a son's discovery of his father. Gordon Jenkins, one of America's most significant musical figures throughout his 50-year career, collaborated with many of the major talents in postwar pop and jazz. Modest by nature, he rarely spoke of his accomplishments, and there was much to discover when, on account of his father's death in 1984, Bruce Jenkins began his research. Paralleling the story of Gordon Jenkins's personal life is a veritable history of popular music, featuring luminaries from Irving Berlin to Billie Holiday. This richly anecdotal biography relates a wealth of heretofore untold stories of his encounters with icons like Sinatra, who was uncharacteristically awestruck by him, and Judy Garland, whom only Jenkins could convince to go onstage when she was crippled with anxiety. A concluding chapter documents Jenkins's slow, difficult death from ALS, leaving readers with an unforgettable image of a legend dying with dignity and unexpected good humor.
"a very worthwhile and insightful read...well recommended."
- Gerry Stonestreet, Editor, In Tune Magazine
"Gordon Jenkins was a multitalented genius of music. His son Bruce, has not only written a definative biography of his father, but also given us a marvelous history of an era in American music that will never be duplicated. The last chapter is a profile in courage, of both father and mother, confronting their final years with dignity and humor. I cried when I read it, as I often do when I listen to Jenkins, Sinatra, or Puccini. Goodbye: In Search of Gordon Jenkins is a story that will remain with you long after you have read it."
- Ron Della Chiesa, Host of " Strictly Sinatra" on WPLM Radio, Plymouth, Massachusetts
"Frank Sinatra once told me that he and my father were the two saddest men," writes Jenkins in his biography of his father, Gordon "Gor" Jenkins. As a top-notch composer, arranger, conductor and performer, "Gor" worked with many of the great singers of the 1940s through the 1960s, and is probably best known for the suites "Seven Dreams and Manhattan Tower", as well as Frank Sinatra's hit, "It Was a Very Good Year," which earned Gor a Grammy in 1965. The book reads like a Who's Who of the period, with vignettes spotlighting Gor's work with Nat Cole, Bing Crosby, Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee and many others. Perhaps most surprising is the author's account of his father's obsession with The Weavers, and Jenkins's interview with Pete Seeger provides first hand information on the folk group's 1950 recording sessions, Decca Records's confusion about how to market the group and the controversy over the lyrics for "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena." A highlight of the volume is Jenkins's interview with Sinatra. Jenkins, a San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist, writes in a relaxed, breezy style, and much of the book is quoted material from his interviews with the artists, providing a trove of fresh material for swing, jazz and folk fans."
-Publishers Weekly, December 5, 2005
"The best book for the holiday season written by a baseball writer isn't about baseball. Bruce Jenkins, longtime A's beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and now a general columnist, has written a wonderful memoir about his father, Gordon, the late songwriter, composer and arranger for pop music legends Frank Sinatra, Nat Cole, Judy Garland, Peggy Lee and Louis Armstrong, among others....it's a moving tale about a son's relentless and tireless effort to find out who his famous father really was. The stuff about senior Jenkins' relationship with Sinatra is especially compelling and Bruce was actually able to get one of the last interviews granted by the Chairman."
- Bill Madden, New York Daily News, November 26, 2005
"At last someone has written a definitive book about Gordon Jenkins, one of America's musical giants. Bruce Jenkins' cultural history of his father's fabulous career is a must read. This narrative covers Gordon's career from his early days with Isham Jones up to and including his collaboration with Frank Sinatra. It is unpudownable."
-Van Alexander, arranger and composer, co-writer and arranger of Ella Fitzgerald's "A Tisket, A Tasket" and author of First Chart
"On that sad day I heard of Gordon Jenkins' passing, my initial feeling was one of regret that I'd never spent enough time with this wonderful and talented man. This biography by his son, Bruce Jenkins, truly does him justice. It is beautifully crafted, objective—no small feet for a son writing about his dad—and captures the wisdom, talent, joy, and black sense of humor that was Gordon's."
- Johnny Mandel, composer, performer, arranger; winner of the 1997 ASCAP Henry Mancini Award; known for dozens of songs, Academy-award-winning film scores and the Theme from M*A*S*H
"When Gordon Jenkins walked into a recording session, everything stopped. I never saw it with anybody else. He was the best-equipped musician, orchestrator and conductor that I ever worked with."
- Frank Sinatra, 1990
"In my teenage years, I was obsessed with Gordon Jenkins' music. I was a hopeless romantic, and his was the most romantic I've ever heard."
- Nora Ephron
"My album with Gordon Jenkins is the best I've ever been associated with. I'll hold it up against anybody's. Show me what you got."
- Harry Nilsson, 1988