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October 6, 2022

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Live from Las Vegas: 10 albums from Strip showrooms

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra sing at the Sands

Sun File Photo

Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin sing a duet together during a 1960s performance in the Sands’ Copa Room. The Rat Pack was born when Sinatra joined Martin onstage to sing “Sleep Warm” at the Sands on Jan. 20, 1960.

When Frank Sinatra died in 1998, Las Vegas honored him by dimming the lights of the Strip. Now there's another tribute — a new compilation album of his songs recorded from 1961 to 1987 at the Sands, Caesars Palace and the Golden Nugget.

Sinatra's Las Vegas career is among the most storied. But dozens of artists have had their Las Vegas shows turned into live albums. Here are a few of them:

    • Coward cover
      /courtesy of Columbia Records

      "Noël Coward at Las Vegas"

      Sir Noel Coward, the English playwright, actor and singer known for his wit and flamboyance, made his first appearance in Las Vegas during a four-week run at the Desert Inn. He performed two shows a day, one of which became his first live album. That summer 1955 day was 118 degrees and Coward reportedly was sick with the flu, but he braved the heat (wearing a dinner jacket and black tie, nonetheless) and delivered a stunning performance.

      Coward developed a large following, and Hollywood celebrities regularly flocked to see his standing-room-only shows. His fans included Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra.

    • The Rat Pack perform at the Sands
      /Las Vegas News Bureau

      "Rat Pack: Live at the Sands"

      More a comedy album than a musical disc, the Rat Pack's Sands show features a little bit of singing from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. and a lot of shtick. Much of the September 1963 performance, recorded at the Sands' Copa Room, was ad-libbed. Martin and Davis take charge of most of the comedy (much of it politically incorrect), while Sinatra delivers a more straightforward singing performance.

      The album was released in November 2001 to mark the release of the remake of "Ocean's Eleven." It is only the second official issue of a Martin/Sinatra/Davis show.

    • Jayne Mansfield
      /AP

      "Jayne in Las Vegas"

      Reissued in December 2009, the album featuring blond bombshell Jayne Mansfield never specifies where she is performing or when, but experts agree it is likely the mid-1960s at the Dunes.

      Dissatisfied with her film roles, Mansfield and then-husband Mickey Hargitay headlined the Dunes with an act called the House of Love. It was a hit, and 20th Century Fox Records recorded it for an album.

      Hi Horse, a record label, reissued "Jayne in Las Vegas" in December 2009.

    • Elvis Presley at the International Hotel
      /AP Photo

      "Elvis Live From Las Vegas"

      This four-disc box set, released in July 2001 by RCA Records, includes live recordings from Las Vegas shows Elvis Presley performed through every decade of his career. After all, he had somewhat of a love affair with this city.

      The first disc features a complete show from Aug. 24, 1969, the second a complete show from Aug. 11, 1970. The third and fourth discs offer recordings from various shows from 1956 through 1975. Most were recorded at the International and Las Vegas Hilton.

    • Cher past and present
      /AP Photo

      "Sonny and Cher: Live in Las Vegas, Vol. 2"

      Sonny and Cher recorded their second live album during July and August 1973 in the Congo Room of the now-defunct Sahara.

      The four-hour, double-disc set includes music and comedy. The couple wove their signature self-deprecating humor through medleys of several songs.

      The album ultimately reached 175 on the Billboard charts. Sonny Bono wrote most of the songs, but he and Cher also performed several covers, including tunes written by Stevie Wonder, Carole King and Neil Diamond.

    • Roy Orbison
      /AP

      "Roy Orbison: Live in Las Vegas"

      This CD is a compilation of cuts from two months of live Roy Orbison shows taped in 1983 in the Congo Room of the Sahara. The recordings were found in terrible condition but were restored and digitally remastered.

      The album includes 13 of Orbison's biggest hits, including "Only the Lonely" and "Oh, Pretty Woman." Listen, and it's no wonder Elvis Presley once dubbed Orbison "the greatest singer in the world."

    • Phish image 1998
      /Courtesy

      Phish's "Vegas '96"

      The jam band turned its first Las Vegas show, on Dec. 6, 1996, at the Aladdin Theater, into a live triple album. A limited edition box version also includes a DVD and 40-page book featuring footage and photos from the concert.

      Dedicated Phish fans consider the Vegas debut to be one of the band's finest showings. It included guest appearances by members of Primus, two yodelers, a gaggle of Elvis impersonators and a former child actor who appeared in Stephen King's "Children of the Corn."

      Phish has played several more shows in Las Vegas since, including a 1998 Halloween concert at UNLV that was made into another live album.

    • Buffett
      /AP Photo/Richard Drew

      "Jimmy Buffett: Live in Las Vegas"

      Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band recorded this live album at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sept. 20, 2003. Two months later, Buffett released it on his record label, Mailboat Records. It eventually reached No. 13 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart.

      Buffett is a Vegas regular. He owns the Margaritaville bar and restaurant that anchors the north end of the Flamingo and a Margaritaville-themed casino is set to open inside the resort in October.

    • Sarah Brightman
      Photo by Ethan Miller/Las Vegas Sun

      Sarah Brightman's "The Harem World Tour: Live From Las Vegas"

      Classical crossover artist Sarah Brightman made a full-length album and DVD out of a stop on her Harem World Tour. Recorded March 13, 2004, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the CD includes a stunning array of styles: classic rock covers of classics by Kansas and the Moody Blues, Middle Eastern-inspired originals and a rendition of the "Phantom of the Opera Suite."

      The British soprano rose to fame on Broadway, most notably as the original Christine in "The Phantom of the Opera."

    • Dave Matthews' and Tim Reynolds' "Live in Las Vegas"

      Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds paired up in Las Vegas in December 2009 for their third live album, taping a two-night set at Planet Hollywood. The show included solo songs from each artist, as well as covers. The album featured several songs never before released.

      Members of the DMB Warehouse (Matthews' fan club) who pre-ordered the album received a special treat: "Double Down," an eight-track bonus disc also recorded in Las Vegas.

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