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Frank Sinatra

Francis Albert Sinatra was an American singer who is considered one of the finest vocalists of all time, renowned for his impeccable phrasing and timing. Many critics place him alongside Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley and The Beatles as one of the most important popular music figures of the 20th century.

Sinatra launched a second career as a dramatic film actor, and became admired for a screen persona distinctly tougher than his smooth singing style. Sinatra also had a larger-than-life presence in the public eye, and as "The Chairman of the Board" became an American icon, known for his brash, sometimes swaggering attitude, as embodied by his signature song "My Way".

He was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was the only child of a quiet Sicilian fireman father, Anthony Martin Sinatra (1894-1969). Anthony had emigrated to the United States in 1895. His mother, Natalie Della Gavarante (1896-1977), was a talented, tempestuous Ligurian, who worked as a part-time abortionist. She was known as "Dolly", and emigrated in 1897. Although it is part of the Sinatra folklore that Frank had an impoverished childhood, he was actually brought up in middle-class surroundings, due to his father's secure job as a fireman, and his mother's strong political ties in Hoboken.

Frank Sinatra decided to become a singer after hearing Bing Crosby on the radio. He began singing in small clubs in New Jersey and eventually attracted the attention of trumpeter and band-leader Harry James.

After a brief stint with James, he joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1940 where he rose to fame as a singer. His vast appeal to the "bobby soxers", as teenage girls were called, revealed a whole new audience for popular music, which had appealed mainly to adults up to that time. It was as a featured singer with Dorsey that Sinatra made his earliest film appearances, such as the 1942 Eleanor Powell/Red Skelton comedy, ''Ship Ahoy'' in which the uncredited singer performed a couple of songs.He later signed with Columbia Records as a solo artist with some success, particularly during the musicians' recording strikes. Vocalists were not part of the musician union and were allowed to record during the ban by using ''a capella'' vocal backing. Sinatra's singing career was in decline in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Sinatra had begun appearing in movies in the early 1940s, but usually in musicals, often undistinguished ones. He also appeared on a weekly television show on CBS for two years from 1950-1952 (and would try again for one year on ABC from 1957-1958). Sinatra then launched a second career as a full-fledged dramatic actor by playing scrappy Pvt. Angelo Maggio in eve-of-Pearl Harbor drama ''From Here to Eternity'' (1953), for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. This role and performance became legendary at the time as the key comeback moment in Sinatra's career.

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The Golden Age of Jazz

Sinatra In The Studio

Read "Sinatra In The Studio" reviewed by Bill Gottlieb


This article was first published at All About Jazz in December 1998. Back in 1947, I covered, for kicks, a Frank Sinatra Columbia record date, produced in New York at Liederkranz Hall. There was an acoustically superb studio large enough to handle the sumptuous, full-fiddle orchestra assembled by Axel Stordahl, the leader and arranger. In the band were many of the city's top studio musicians, a stimulating sight. Dominating the scene was Sinatra, the one-time ...

15
Highly Opinionated

The Rat Pack vs. the Kids in the Kitchen: Are Those Our Only Choices?

Read "The Rat Pack vs. the Kids in the Kitchen: Are Those Our Only Choices?" reviewed by Con Chapman


It was a more important anniversary than most so we decided to splurge on a local restaurant that always gives me buyer's remorse when I get the check. My wife and I are both getting up in years and we eat out at what she used to jokingly refer to as “blue hair hours," when you can get the early-bird special if you want. In that time slot the crowd consists of senior citizen guys and their wives, ...

38
Building a Jazz Library

Frank Sinatra: The Capitol Records Albums, 1954 to 1959

Read "Frank Sinatra: The Capitol Records Albums, 1954 to 1959" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


After stints in the Harry James and Tommy Dorsey bands, Frank Sinatra began his solo recording career in 1947 with Columbia Records. This association lasted until 1950. He switched labels in 1954, moving on to Capitol Records. Songs For Swingin' Lovers (Capitol, 1954) was his first release for the label. It was the beginning of an unparalleled output of excellence in recorded music. Nobody has done it better. He stayed with Capitol until 1961 when he started his own label, ...

6
Album Review

Frank Sinatra: Sing and Dance with Frank Sinatra

Read "Sing and Dance with Frank Sinatra" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


Sing and Dance with Frank Sinatra is without question a recording achievement of importance and historical magnitude. Producers Charles L. Granata and Andreas Meyer have delivered an experience that sources and reconstitutes important Sinatra mid-20th Century material. It will fascinate Sinatraphiles and enlighten those interested in “The Voice's" artistic development from crooner to swing icon. Included in the album are eight Great American Songbook classics that Sinatra recorded for Columbia Records circa 1950 with swinging big bands. Those ...

6
Highly Opinionated

Frank Sinatra: Myth, Reality and a Critic Standing in Line at Arby’s

Read "Frank Sinatra: Myth, Reality and a Critic Standing in Line at Arby’s" reviewed by S.G Provizer


The mere act of re-releasing a 1960 Frank Sinatra album speaks to the fact that his name still creates ripples when tossed into the cultural pond; still has the power to inspire a reaction when other other vocal stars of yore have receded into distant memory. An ocean of ink has been spilled in portraits and musical criticism of the “Chairman of the Board," some of it merely respectful, most adulatory. Long ago, the rough, mafia-inflected edges were smoothed out ...

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Interview

Chuck Granata: On Sinatra, The Beach Boys, and Johnny Mandel

Read "Chuck Granata: On Sinatra, The Beach Boys, and Johnny Mandel" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


Chuck Granata is a record and radio producer, author, music historian and archivist. He has written four books on music and sound recording: Sessions with Sinatra: Frank Sinatra and the Art of Recording (Chicago Review Press, A Capella Books, 1999), Wouldn't it be Nice: Brian Wilson and the Making of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (Chicago Review Press, A Capella Books, 2003), Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music (with legendary record producer Phil Ramone) (Hyperion Press, 2007) and the ...

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Beauty, Love and Justice: Living A Coltranian Life

Frank Sinatra: A Son of Immigrants Sings America's Heart

Read "Frank Sinatra: A Son of Immigrants Sings America's Heart" reviewed by Christine Passarella


Roots Sitting in my dining room, going through my childhood photos and mementos was like viewing a dream. I opened an envelope and pulled out a yellowed note in my father's sort of wild handwriting. The envelope said, written in my mother's exquisitely perfect handwriting, “Dad saved this, it's Frank Sinatra's dentist." On the card was the name of the dentist and a phone number. My mind immediately started to reflect on Sinatra's impact on my emotions throughout the stages ...

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Performance / Tour

Just Announced: More Artists Added To Star-studded Celebration Of Peggy Lee And Frank Sinatra In Newark on February 8th

Just Announced: More Artists Added To Star-studded Celebration Of Peggy Lee And Frank Sinatra In Newark on February 8th

Source: AMT Public Relations

Thursday, February 8, 2024 @ 7:30 p.m. New Jersey Performing Arts Center 1 Center Street Newark, New NJ 07102 $49-$99. To purchase, contact NJPAC at 1.888.GO.NJPAC / 1.888.466.5722 or visit NJPAC.org. The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) celebrates the close friendship of legendary singer and songwriter Miss Peggy Lee and the greatest vocal star of all, Frank Sinatra. This one-night-only event on Thursday, February 8, 2024, features Christian McBride as Musical Director, with a lineup of ...

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Performance / Tour

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center Announces 2024 Winter Jazz Performances Including Max Roach Centennial Celebrations, All-Star Musical Exploration Of Peggy Lee-frank Sinatra, And More

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center Announces 2024 Winter Jazz Performances Including Max Roach Centennial Celebrations, All-Star Musical Exploration Of Peggy Lee-frank Sinatra, And More

Source: AMT Public Relations

Thursday, January 18 at 7:00 p.m. Max Roach Centennial: The Drum Also Waltzes Documentary Film Screening + Panel Discussion Celebrate Max Roach’s centennial with a screening of the new documentary Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes at The Newark Museum of Art. Afterwards, a panel discussion will include Max’s son Raoul Roach and the film’s director / producers Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro. Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes explores the life and music of the legendary drummer, composer, bandleader ...

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Performance / Tour

Omar Kamal "The Palestinian Frank Sinatra" At The Appel Room On April 6th!

Omar Kamal "The Palestinian Frank Sinatra" At The Appel Room On April 6th!

Source: Scott Thompson Public Relations

OMAR KAMAL- One Night Only- April 6th- The Appel Room- 7pm Omar Kamal has been called the “Palestinian Frank Sinatra", and with good reason. Singer/composer Kamal comes from the city of Nablus. His multi-cultural influences have given him a rich taste in music ranging from Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson to Arabic greats such as Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Fairouz, and even modern trendsetters like The Weeknd. In concert, he has a free wheeling style that blends various eastern and western ...

Video / DVD

Frank Sinatra: Only the Lonely

Frank Sinatra: Only the Lonely

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Some things are distinctly American: a black leather motorcycle jacket, a Zippo lighter, a surf board, a Corvette and and iPhone. Add to the list Frank Sinatra's “Hey" that opens Angel Eyes on Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely. Recorded in May and June 1958, the album of saloon-y torch songs was recently reissued in October. The two-CD set features both the original mono version and a new stereo remix, plus a handful of alternate takes, false starts and ...

Video / DVD

Frank Sinatra and Ernie Freeman

Frank Sinatra and Ernie Freeman

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

As I recall growing up in Manhattan in the mid-1960s, the Beatles were only big in bedrooms. Kids listened to Fab Four 45s on their portable phonographs sitting on the floor next to their beds or heard the group on AM radios under their pillows. Outside the bedroom, in the world I encountered—the living rooms of friends' apartments, barber shops and distant open windows—what I heard most was Frank Sinatra. Albums were still an adult purchase, and even in the ...

Video / DVD

Frank Sinatra on Film: 1942-'51

Frank Sinatra on Film: 1942-'51

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Let's end the week with clips of Frank Sinatra singing in films between 1942 and 1951, when he was still idolized by women and before middle-aged men stole him away in the mid-1950s: Here's Sinatra singing Poor You from Ship Ahoy in 1942 with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra... Here's Sinatra singing The Music Stopped from Higher and Higher in 1943... Here's Sinatra, again from A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening... Here's Sinatra and Gloria DeHaven singing Come Out, Come ...

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TV / Film

Roger Moore and Sinatra

Roger Moore and Sinatra

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Roger Moore, who played a dashing secret agent in TV's The Saint and in seven James Bond films, died on May 23, 2017. He was 89. Though Roger wasn't a jazz musician and had nothing to do with music (the point of this blog), I had an opportunity to interview him for one of my Wall Street Journal “Playlist" columns. When I called Roger in late 2014 to do the interview, he was living (naturally) in Monaco. Just saying Monaco ...

Recording

Sinatra: Strangers in the Night 2

Sinatra: Strangers in the Night 2

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Yesterday, I posted about Frank Sinatra's single, Strangers in the Night, which went to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart this week in 1966. I also included a link to my Wall Street Journal essay on the song and album. Included in yesterday's post was my complete interview with Jimmy Bowen, who produced the single and shed some light on why Sinatra wasn't crazy about the song and why he avoided it in future concerts. Today, I want to ...

1

Video / DVD

Sinatra on TV: The DVDs

Sinatra on TV: The DVDs

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

It's easy to forget how many TV specials Frank Sinatra taped over the decades. Let's just say it's dozens. A glance at his entry at IMBD.com can make your head spin. There are the ones you know, ones you don't and ones that you'd love to see in full if you could, like The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home, Elvis! (1960). (Actually, to view it, go here.) Now, Eagle Rock Entertainment has released four separate DVDs that collectively feature ...

1

TV / Film

Sinatra on TV in '65

Sinatra on TV in '65

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

As years go, 1965 marked a significant cultural turning point. With teen audiences screaming at concerts for the Beatles and the Supremes, pop-rock and soul began to lock up a sizable slice of the record market. At the exact same time, the future was becoming a national obsession, helped along largely by the space race and moon shot. Jet travel, the Houston Astrodome, the New York World's Fair, muscle cars, California, futuristic children's cartoons and ads for products like Tang, ...

Diane Marino
piano and vocals
Marc Smason
trombone
Brian Nova
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Ken Slavin
vocals
Eddie Wakes
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Todd Gordon
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Paul Cosentino
clarinet
Laurent Doumont
saxophone
Gary Porter
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Dave Tull
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Greg Nathan
bass, acoustic
Michael Lake
trombone
Hans Olson
vocals
LJ Folk
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Depot Town Big Band
band / ensemble / orchestra
Lou Dottoli
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Tea Cup Gin
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Ryan Baker
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David Francis
piano and vocals
Sam Merrick
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Vince Eury
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LILLY
vocals
Maria Emrik
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Chip Parker
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Karina
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George Lake BIG Band
band / ensemble / orchestra
Omar Kamal
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The Jazz Bastards
band / ensemble / orchestra
Larry Wolf
vocals
Lounge Jazz
band / ensemble / orchestra
Ike Moriz
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Flatirons Jazz Orchestra
band / ensemble / orchestra
Bobby Cole
piano and vocals
Cary Gang
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Enrico Solazzo
arranger
Chris Weeks
vocals
Gus Leighton
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Aaron Parnell Brown
guitar and vocals
Anthony Bruno
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Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Sing and Dance with...

Impex Records
2020

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Ultimate Sinatra: A...

Capitol Records
2015

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With Love

Original Jazz Classics
2014

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The Very Best Of

Original Jazz Classics
2013

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Duets - Twentieth...

Original Jazz Classics
2013

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Sinatra Swings

Original Jazz Classics
2012

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