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L E’s Stories – “Ol Blue Eyes Was The King Of Bobby Soxers And Buddies With Lucky Luciano & Bugsy Siegel”” – The Story Of Frank Sinatra

Bone Daddy has often told me how Granny and Pops would get up in the morning and put on music on their RCA Victrola record player to start the day off with their three favorite singers, Bing Crosby, Perry Como and Ol Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra…..and as he puts it, Crosby and Como were OK….but Sinatra was great…..so, BD grew up in his formative years being inundated by the sounds of the “world’s best crooners”…..and since BD was blessed with a wonderful ear for music…..evidenced by his ability to play the piano by ear…..which meant that he developed a wonderful repetoire of all the songs that will be featured in this story herewith….which linger in his mind still today in 2021….some 66 years later.  So, suffice to say, today’s story holds a special place in Bone Daddy’s heart…..cuz each time he hears a song that was made famous by Frank Sinatra during his career from 1935 to 1995….it always brings back fond memories of waking up each day with Granny, Pops, Lil Wally and Runt in Midland, Texas to the sounds of Ol Blue Eyes….for he was truly one of the best of the best to ever grace a stage or recording studio…..as his story told herewith will prove out.

 

Music – 1935 To 1995 – Documentary Special -Frank Sinatra:  A Complicated Life

 

Frank Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer and actor….who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century…..while being one of the best-selling music artists of all time….as he sold more than 150 million records worldwide.  Sinatra was born to Italian immigrants in Hoboken, New Jersey….who was greatly influenced by the intimate easy listening vocal style of Bing Crosby…..and began his musical career in the swing era with bandleaders Harry James and Tommy Dorsey…..as Sinatra found success as a solo artist after he signed with Columbia Records in 1943….after which he became the idol of the “bobby soxers”…..when he released his debut album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra, in 1946…..but by the early 1950’s, his professional career had stalled….and he turned to Las Vegas….where he became one of its best known residency performers….as well as becoming a part of a group of entertainers known as The Rat Pack…..which included Joey Bishop, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford   Sinatra’s career was reborn in 1953 with the success of the movie in which he starred From Here to Eternity…..when his performance subsequently earning him an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor.  Sinatra subsequently released several critically lauded music albums on Capitol Records label….of which some are retrospectively noted as being among the 1st “concept albums”….which included In the Wee Small Hours in 1955….. Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! in 1956…..Come Fly with Me in 1958….Only the Lonely also in 1958….No One Cares in 1959…..and Nice ‘n’ Easy in 1960.

 

Music – 1958 – Frank Sinatra – “Come Fly With Me”

 

 

Music – 1958 – Frank Sinatra – “Only The Lonely”

 

 

Music – 1965 – Frank Sinatra Sings “Nice & Easy” – While Gene Kelly Dances

 

Sinatra left Capitol in 1960 to start his own record label….Reprise Records…. and released a string of successful albums….when in 1965 he recorded the retrospective album September of My Years…..pllus, he starred in the Emmy-winning television special Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music….then after releasing Sinatra at the Sands….which was recorded at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Vegas with frequent collaborator Count Basie in early 1966…..that is when he recorded one of his most famous collaborations with Tom Jobim the following year….with the album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim…..which was followed in 1968 with Francis A. & Edward K….. which was a joint effort with Duke Ellington.  Sinatra retired for the 1st time in 1973, but came out of retirement two years later.  He recorded several albums and resumed performing at Caesars Palace…..the he released “New York, New York” in 1980.  Using his Las Vegas shows as a home base, he toured both within the United States and internationally until shortly before his death in 1998.

 

Music – 1935 To 1995 – Special Highlights – Frank Sinatra: Life and Career

 

Sinatra forged a highly successful career as a film actor….when after winning an Academy Award for From Here to Eternity….that is when he starred in The Man with the Golden Arm in 1955….and in The Manchurian Candidate in 1962.  He had also appeared in various musicals such as On the Town in 1949 ….Guys and Dolls in 1955….High Society in 1956….and Pal Joey in 1957….for which he won another Golden Globe,  Toward the end of his career, he frequently played detectives….including the title character in Tony Rome in 1967.  Sinatra would later receive the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1971.  On television, The Frank Sinatra Show began on ABC in 1950….and he continued to make appearances on television throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Sinatra was also heavily involved with politics from the mid-1940’s…. while actively campaigning for presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.  Also, Sinatra was investigated by the FBI for his alleged relationship with the Mafia.

 

Music – 1935 To 1965 – CBS 48 Hours Special With Dan Rather – Sinatra: “Living With The Legend”

 

Even though Sinatra never learned how to read music, he worked very hard from a young age to improve his abilities in all aspects of music…..as he was a perfectionist….who was renowned for his dress sense and performing presence….as he always insisted on recording live with his band.  His bright blue eyes earned him the popular nickname “Ol’ Blue Eyes”Sinatra led a colorful personal life….and was often involved in turbulent affairs with women….such as with his 2nd wife Ava Gardner….as he later married Mia Farrow in 1966 and Barbara Marx in 1976.  Sinatra had several violent confrontations, usually with journalists he felt had crossed him, or work bosses with whom he had disagreements.  He was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1983….was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1985….and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997.  Sinatra was also the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards….which included the Grammy Trustees Award, Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  He was collectively included in Time magazine’s compilation of the 20th century’s 100 most influential people.  After Sinatra’s death, American music critic Robert Christgau called him “the greatest singer of the 20th century”….as he continues to be seen as an iconic figure.

 

Music – 1915 To 1998 – Bio Graphics Special – Frank Sinatra:  “One of the Most Influential Figures of the 20th Century”

 

Francis Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915, in an upstairs tenement at 415 Monroe Street in Hoboken, New Jersey….as the only child of Italian immigrants Natalina “Dolly” Garaventa and Antonino Martino “Marty” Sinatra.  Sinatra weighed 13.5 pounds (6.1 kg) at birth and had to be delivered with the aid of forceps….which caused severe scarring to his left cheek, neck and ear….and perforated his eardrum…..which was damage that remained for life.  Due to his injuries at birth, his baptism at St. Francis Church in Hoboken was delayed until April 2, 1916….as Sinatra was raised in the Roman Catholic church.  A childhood operation on his mastoid bone left major scarring on his neck, and during adolescence he suffered from cystic acne that further scarred his face and neck.  Sinatra’s mother was energetic and driven….and biographers believe that she was the dominant factor in the development of her son’s personality traits and self-confidence.  Sinatra’s fourth wife Barbara would later claim that Dolly was abusive to him as a child….and “knocked him around a lot”.  Dolly became influential in Hoboken and in local Democratic Party circles.  She worked as a midwife, earning $50 for each delivery….and according to Sinatra biographer Kitty Kelley….Dolly Sinatra also ran an illegal abortion service that catered to Italian Catholic girls….for which she was nicknamed “Hatpin Dolly”….plus, she also had a gift for languages and served as a local interpreter.  Sinatra’s illiterate father was a bantamweight boxer….who fought under the name Marty O’Brien….as he later worked for 24 years at the Hoboken Fire Department….while working his way up to captain.  Sinatra spent much time at his parents’ tavern in Hoboken, working on his homework….and occasionally singing a song on top of the player piano for spare change. During the Great Depression, Dolly provided money to her son for outings with friends and to buy expensive clothes….which resulted in neighbors describing him as the “best-dressed kid in the neighborhood”.  Excessively thin and small as a child and young man, Sinatra’s skinny frame later became a staple of jokes during stage shows.

 

Music – 1943 – Lucky Strike Presents The Lucky Strike Orchestra With Frank Sinatra Singing “Stardust”

 

Music – 1946 – Frank Sinatra – “Old Man River”

 

 

Music – 1944 – Movie Clip From “Step Lively” – Frank Sinatra + Gloria DeHaven – “Come Out, Come Out, Whereever You Are”                                            

 

Sinatra developed an interest in music, particularly big band jazz, at a young age.  He listened to Gene Austin, Rudy Vallée, Russ Colombo and Bob Eberly …..while idolizing Bing Crosby.  Sinatra’s maternal uncle, Domenico, gave him a ukulele for his 15th birthday….and he began performing at family gatherings.  Sinatra attended David E. Rue Jr. High School from 1928, and A. J. Demarest High School (since renamed as Hoboken High School) in 193…. where he arranged bands for school dances…..when he left without graduating….while having attended only 47 days before being expelled for “general rowdiness” To please his mother, he enrolled at Drake Business School….but departed after 11 months…..when Dolly found Sinatra work as a delivery boy at the Jersey Observer newspaper….where his godfather Frank Garrick worked….and soon thereafter, he was a riveter at the Tietjen and Lang shipyard.  He performed in local Hoboken social clubs such as The Cat’s Meow and The Comedy Club….and sang for free on radio stations such as WAAT in Jersey City.  In New York, Sinatra found jobs singing for his supper or for cigarettes.  To improve his speech, he began taking elocution lessons for a dollar each from vocal coach John Quinlan, who was one of the first people to notice his impressive vocal range.  Sinatra began singing professionally as a teenager….but he learned music by ear….and never learned to read music.  He got his 1st break in 1935….when his mother persuaded a local singing group, the 3 Flashes, to let him join…..as Fred Tamburro, the group’s baritone, stated that “Frank hung around us like we were gods or something”….while admitting that they only took him on board because he owned a car and could chauffeur the group around.  Sinatra soon learned they were auditioning for the Major Bowes Amateur Hour show…. and “begged” the group to let him in on the act.  With Sinatra, the group became known as the Hoboken Four….and passed an audition from Edward Bowes to appear on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour show….where they each earned $12.50 for the appearance….and ended up attracting 40,000 votes…. while winning 1st prize….along with a six-month contract to perform on stage and radio across the United States.  Sinatra quickly became the group’s lead singer….and much to the jealousy of his fellow group members….as he garnered most of the attention from girls…..and due to the success of the group, Bowes kept asking for them to return….albeit disguised under different names, varying from “The Secaucus Cockamamies” to “The Bayonne Bacalas”.

 

Music – 1965 – TV Special “A Man And His Music” – Frank Sinatra + The Nelson Riddle Orchestra – “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”                                              
 

In 1938, Sinatra found employment as a singing waiter at a roadhouse called “The Rustic Cabin” in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey….for which he was paid $15 a week.  The roadhouse was connected to the WNEW radio station in New York City….and he began performing with a group live during the Dance Parade show.  Despite the low salary, Sinatra felt that this was the break he was looking for….as he boasted to friends that he was going to “become so big that no one could ever touch him”.  In March 1939, saxophone player Frank Mane….who knew Sinatra from Jersey City radio station WAAT where both performed on live broadcasts….as he arranged for him to audition and record “Our Love”….which was his first solo studio recording.  In June, bandleader Harry James, who had heard Sinatra sing on “Dance Parade”….when he signed a two-year contract of $75 a week one evening after a show at the Paramount Theatre in New York.  It was with the James band that Sinatra released his 1st commercial record “From the Bottom of My Heart” in July.  No more than 8,000 copies of the record were sold….and further records released with James through 1939, such as “All or Nothing At All”….also had weak sales on their initial release.  Thanks to his vocal training, Sinatra could now sing two tones higher….and developed a repertoire which included songs such as “My Buddy”, “Willow Weep for Me”, “It’s Funny to Everyone but Me”, “Here Comes the Night”, “On a Little Street in Singapore”, “Ciribiribin”, and “Every Day of My Life”.

 

Music – 1939 – Frank Sinatra – “Willow Weep For Me”

 

Music – 1939 – The Harry James Orchestra With Frank Sinatra – “All Or Nothing At All” – Sinatra’s 1st Recorded Song

Sinatra became increasingly frustrated with the status of the Harry James band….while feeling that he was not achieving the major success and acclaim he was looking for….as his pianist and close friend Hank Sanicola persuaded him to stay with the group….but in November 1939 he left James to replace Jack Leonard as the lead singer of the Tommy Dorsey band.  Sinatra earned $125 a week, appearing at the Palmer House in Chicago….and James released Sinatra from his contract.  On January 26, 1940, he made his first public appearance with the band at the Coronado Theatre in Rockford, Illinois….as he opened the show with “Stardust”.  Dorsey recalled: “You could almost feel the excitement coming up out of the crowds when the kid stood up to sing. Remember, he was no matinée idol. He was just a skinny kid with big ears. I used to stand there so amazed I’d almost forget to take my own solos”. Dorsey was a major influence on Sinatra….while becoming a father figure….as Sinatra copied Dorsey’s mannerisms and traits….as he became a demanding perfectionist like him….and even adopting his hobby of toy trains.  He asked Dorsey to be godfather to his daughter Nancy in June 1940. Sinatra later said that “The only two people I’ve ever been afraid of are my mother and Tommy Dorsey” Though Kelley claims that Sinatra and drummer Buddy Rich were bitter rivals, other authors state that they were friends and even roommates when the band was on the road….but professional jealousy surfaced….as both men wanted to be considered the star of Dorsey’s band…..when later, Sinatra helped Rich form his own band with a $25,000 loan…..and provided financial help to Rich during times of the drummer’s serious illness.

 

Music – 1940 – Frank Sinatra + The  Tommy Dorsey Orchestra – “Polka Dots And Moonbeams”

 

Music – 1941 – Frank Sinatra + The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra – “The One You Love (Belongs To Somebody Else)”

 

 Music – 1943 – Movie Clip From “Reveille With Beverly” – Frank Sinatra Sings “Night And Day”

 

In his first year with Dorsey, Sinatra recorded over forty songs….with his 1st  vocal hit being the song “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” in late April 1940…. then two more chart appearances followed with “Say It” and “Imagination” ….which was Sinatra’s 1st top-10 hit.  His 4th chart appearance was “I’ll Never Smile Again”…. which topped the charts for 12 weeks beginning in mid-July.  Other records with Tommy Dorsey issued by RCA Victor include “Our Love Affair” and “Stardust” in 1940….“Oh! Look at Me Now”, “Dolores”, “Everything Happens to Me” and “This Love of Mine” in 1941….“Just as Though You Were There”, “Take Me” and “There Are Such Things” in 1942…. and “It Started All Over Again”, “In the Blue of Evening” and “It’s Always You” in 1943.  As his success and popularity grew, Sinatra pushed Dorsey to allow him to record some solo songs….to which Dorsey eventually relented…. and on January 19, 1942, Sinatra recorded “Night and Day”, “The Night We Called It a Day”, “The Song is You” and “Lamplighter’s Serenade” at a Bluebird recording session….with Axel Stordahl as arranger and conductor.  Sinatra 1st heard the recordings at the Hollywood Palladium and Hollywood Plaza….and was astounded at how good he sounded….as Stordahl recalled “He just couldn’t believe his ears. He was so excited, you almost believed he had never recorded before. I think this was a turning point in his career. I think he began to see what he might do on his own”.

 

Music – 1940 – Frank Sinatra + The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra – “Our Love Affair”

 

 

Music – 1940 – Frank Sinatra + The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra – “Imagination”         

 

Music – 1940 To 1943 – Special – Frank Sinatra + Tommy Dorsey

 

 Music – 1940 – NBC Broadcast Special – Tommy Dorsey + Frank Sinatra + Jo Stafford + The Pied Pipers – “Every Tune Deserves Its Own Style” 

 

After the 1942 recordings, Sinatra believed he needed to go solo….while having an insatiable desire to compete with Bing Crosby….but he was hampered by his contract which gave Dorsey 43% of Sinatra’s lifetime earnings in the entertainment industry…..and that is when a legal battle ensued….which was eventually settled in August 1942…..so, on September 3, 1942, Dorsey bade farewell to Sinatra….while reportedly saying as Sinatra left, “I hope you fall on your ass”…..but he was more gracious on the air when replacing Sinatra with singer Dick Haymes.  Rumors began spreading in newspapers that Sinatra’s mobster godfather, Willie Moretti, coerced Dorsey to let Sinatra out of his contract for a few thousand dollars….while holding a gun to his head.  Sinatra persuaded Stordahl to leave Dorsey with him….and become his personal arranger….while offering him $650 a month salary….which was five times the salary of Dorsey.  Dorsey and Sinatra, who had been very close, never reconciled their differences…..as even up until his death in November 1956, Dorsey occasionally made biting comments about Sinatra to the press such as “he’s the most fascinating man in the world, but don’t put your hand in the cage”.

 

Music – 1946 – Frank Sinatra + The Axel Stordahl Orchestra – “The Things We Did Last Summer”

 

 

Music – 1948 – Frank Sinatra + The Axel Stordahl Orchestra – “You Go To My Head”

 

Music – 1946 – Frank Sinatra + The Axel Stordahl Orchestra – “How Deep Is The Ocean”

By May 1941, Sinatra topped the male singer polls in Billboard and  DownBeat magazines…..as his appeal to bobby soxers, as teenage girls of that time were called, revealed a whole new audience for popular music…. which had been recorded mainly for adults up to that time.  The new phenomenon became officially known as “Sinatramania” after his “legendary opening” at the Paramount Theatre in New York on December 30, 1942.  According to Nancy Sinatra, Jack Benny later said, “I thought the goddamned building was going to cave in. I never heard such a commotion … All this for a fellow I never heard of.”  Sinatra performed for four weeks at the theater….when his act followed the Benny Goodman orchestra….after which his contract was renewed for another four weeks by Bob Weitman due to his popularity…..as he became known as “Swoonatra” or “The Voice”….and his fans “Sinatratics”….who organized meetings and sent masses of letters of adoration….and within a few weeks of the show, some 1000 Sinatra fan clubs had been reported across the US.  Sinatra’s publicist, George Evans, encouraged interviews and photographs with fans….and was the man responsible for depicting Sinatra as a vulnerable, shy, Italian–American with a rough childhood who made good.  Sinatra was quoted as saying about his Sinatratics….Perfectly simple: It was the war years and there was a great loneliness, and I was the boy in every corner drugstore, the boy who’d gone off drafted to the war. That’s all.”  When Sinatra returned to the Paramount in October 1944 only 250 persons left the 1st show….while 35,000 fans were left outside….which caused a near riot known as the Columbus Day Riot, outside the venue because they were not allowed in.  Such was the bobby-soxer devotion to Sinatra that they were known to write Sinatra’s song titles on their clothing….bribe hotel maids for an opportunity to touch his bed…. and accost his person in the form of stealing clothing he was wearing, most commonly his bow-tie.

 

 

Music – 2021 – Facts Verse Special – Frank Sinatra: “Details That Everyone Ignores”

 

Sinatra signed with Columbia Records as a solo artist on June 1, 1943 during the 1942–44 musicians’ strike…..when Columbia Records re-released Harry James and Sinatra’s August 1939 version of “All or Nothing at All”….which reached # 2 on June 2….and was on the best-selling list for 18 weeks…..as he initially had great success….and performed on the radio on Your Hit Parade from February 1943 until December 1944 and on stage….as Columbia wanted new recordings of their growing star as quickly as possible….so, Alec Wilder was hired as an arranger and conductor for several sessions with a vocal group called the Bobby Tucker Singers…..with these 1st sessions were on June 7, June 22, August 5, and November 10, 1943.  Of the nine songs recorded during these sessions, seven charted on the best-selling list.  That year he also made his 1st solo nightclub appearance at New York’s Riobamba….and a successful concert in the Wedgewood Room of the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria New York that year secured his popularity in New York high society…..and that is when Sinatra released “You’ll Never Know”, “Close to You”, “Sunday, Monday, or Always” and “People Will Say We’re in Love” as singles.  By the end of 1943 he was more popular in a DownBeat poll than Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Bob Eberly, and Dick Haymes.

 

Music – 1957 – Frank Sinatra – “You’ll Never Know How Much I Love You”
 

 

 Music – 1943 – Frank Sinatra – “Close To You”

 

Music – 1943 – Frank Sinatra – “People Will Say We’re In Love”

 

Sinatra did not serve in the military during World War II…..when on December 11, 1943, he was officially classified 4-F….as “Registrant not acceptable for military service” by his draft board because of a perforated eardrum…..however, U.S. Army files reported that Sinatra was “not acceptable material from a psychiatric viewpoint”…..but his emotional instability was hidden to avoid “undue unpleasantness for both the selectee and the induction service”.  Briefly, there were rumors reported by columnist Walter Winchell that Sinatra paid $40,000 to avoid the service….but the FBI found this to be without merit.  Toward the end of the war, Sinatra entertained the troops during several successful overseas USO tours with comedian Phil Silvers.  During one trip to Rome he met the Pope….who asked him if he was an operatic tenor.  Sinatra worked frequently with the popular Andrews Sisters in radio in the 1940’s….and many USO shows were broadcast to troops via the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS).  In 1944 Sinatra released “I Couldn’t Sleep a Wink Last Night” as a single….and recorded his own version of Crosby’s “White Christmas”…..and the following year he released “I Dream of You (More Than You Dream I Do)”, “Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)”, “Dream” and “Nancy (with the Laughing Face)” as singles.  Despite being heavily involved in political activity in 1945 and 1946, in those two years Sinatra sang on 160 radio shows, recorded 36 times….as well as shooting four films.  By 1946 he was performing on stage up to 45 times a week….while singing up to 100 songs daily and earning up to $93,000 a week.                                                                           

 

Music – 1948 – Frank Sinatra – “If You Are But A Dream”   

                                                                                        
 

Music – 1944 – Movie Clip From “Step Lively” – Gloria DeHaven + Frank sinatra – “Some Other Time”

In 1946 Sinatra released “Oh! What it Seemed to Be”, “Day by Day”, “They Say It’s Wonderful”, “Five Minutes More” and “The Coffee Song” as singles….and recorded his 1st album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra…..which reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart.  William Ruhlmann of AllMusic wrote that Sinatra “took the material very seriously, singing the love lyrics with utter seriousness”…..and that his “singing and the classically influenced settings gave the songs unusual depth of meaning”….for he was soon selling ten million records a year.  Such was Sinatra’s command at Columbia that his love of conducting was indulged with the release of the set Frank Sinatra Conducts the Music of Alec Wilder….which was an offering unlikely to appeal to Sinatra’s core fan base at the time….which basically consisted of teenage girls.  The following year he released his 2nd album, Songs by Sinatra, featuring songs of a similar mood and tempo such as Irving Berlin’s “How Deep is the Ocean?”….and Harold Arlen’s and Jerome Kern’s “All The Things You Are”….plus “Mam’selle”, composed by Edmund Goulding with lyrics by Mack Gordon for the film The Razor’s Edge in 1946….which was released as a single….but Sinatra had competition with versions by Art Lund, Dick Haymes, Dennis Day and The Pied Pipers….as they also reached the top ten of the Billboard charts.  In December he recorded “Sweet Lorraine” with the Metronome All-Stars….which featured talented jazz musicians such as Coleman Hawkins, Harry Carney and Charlie Shavers….with Nat King Cole on piano in what Charles L. Granata describes as “one of the highlights of Sinatra’s Columbia epoch”.

 

Music – 1946 – Frank Sinatra – “All The Things That You Are”

 

 

 Music – 1947 – Frank Sinatra – “Day By Day”                                                            

 

Music – 1946 – Frank Sinatra + The Axel Stordahl Orchestra – “The Coffee Song”                                                                                                                                     

 

Sinatra’s 3rd album, Christmas Songs by Sinatra, was originally released in 1948 as a 78 rpm album set….with a 10″ LP record being released two years later.  When Sinatra was featured as a priest in The Miracle of the Bells….and due to negative press surrounding his alleged Mafia connections at the time….that’s when it was announced to the public that Sinatra would donate his $100,000 in wages from the film to the Catholic Church….and by the end of 1948, Sinatra had slipped to 4th on DownBeats annual poll of most popular singers behind Billy Eckstine, Frankie Laine and Bing Crosby…..and in the following year he was pushed out of the top spots in polls for the first time since 1943….then his album Frankly Sentimental  in 1949 was panned by DownBeat…..who commented that “for all his talent, it seldom comes to life”….and although “The Hucklebuck” reached the top ten, it was his last single release under the Columbia label…..while Sinatra’s final two albums with Columbia, Dedicated to You and Sing and Dance with Frank Sinatra, were released in 1950.  Sinatra would later feature a number of the Sing and Dance with Frank Sinatra album’s songs, including “Lover”, “It’s Only a Paper Moon”, “It All Depends on You”, on his 1961 Capitol release, Sinatra’s Swingin’ Session!!!.  Cementing the low of his career was the death of publicist George Evans from a heart attack in January 1950 at 48….when  according to Jimmy Van Heusen, Sinatra’s close friend and songwriter, Evans’s death to him was “an enormous shock which defies words”….as he had been crucial to Sinatra’s career….as well as popularity with the bobbysoxers.  Sinatra’s reputation continued to decline as reports broke out in February of his affair with Ava Gardner…..which ultimately led to the destruction of his marriage to Nancy….albeit he insisted that his marriage had long been over even before he had met Gardner.  In April, Sinatra was hired to perform at the Copa Club in New York….but had to cancel five days of the booking due to suffering a submucosal hemorrhage of the throat….as Evans once said that whenever Sinatra suffered from a bad throat and the loss of voice, it was always due to emotional tension which “absolutely destroyed him”.

 

Music – 1949 – Frank Sinatra – “The Hucklebuck”

 

 

 Music – 1949 – The Bing Crosby Show – With Guest Frank Sinatra Singing “All The Way” + “Love & Marriage” + “Baby, Come On Home”

 

After experiencing financial difficulty following his divorce and career decline, Sinatra was forced to borrow $200,000 from Columbia to pay his back taxes after MCA refused to front the money.  Rejected by Hollywood, he turned to Las Vegas and made his debut at the Desert Inn in September 1951….plus he also began singing at the Riverside Hotel in Reno, Nevada…. for this was the beginning of Sinatra becoming one of Las Vegas’s pioneer resident entertainers….and a prominent figure on the Vegas scene throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s onwards….which was a period described by Rojek as the “high-water mark” of Sinatra’s “hedonism and self absorption”…..when Rojek noted that the Rat Pack “provided an outlet for gregarious banter and wisecracks”….but argues that it was Sinatra’s vehicle of possessing an “unassailable command over the other performers” On October 4, 1953, Sinatra made his 1st performance at the Sands Hotel and Casino….which was after an invitation by the manager Jack Entratter….who had previously worked at the Copa in New York.  Sinatra typically performed there three times a year….and later even acquired a share in the hotel.\

 

Music & Entertainment – 1999 – A&E Biography Special – “The Rat Pack” – Part 1 & 2

 

Music & Comedy – 1966 – The Frank Sinatra Spectacular – Freaturing The Rat Pack With Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Johnny Carson

 

Sinatra’s decline in popularity was evident at his concert appearances….as evidenced by a brief run at the Paramount in New York….when he drew small audiences….and at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, he performed to half-filled houses of wildcatters and ranchers.  At a concert at Chez Paree in Chicago, only 150 people in a 1,200-seat capacity venue turned up to see him.  By April 1952 he was performing at the Kauai County Fair in Hawaii….while his relationship with Columbia Records was disintegrating….with A&R executive Mitch Miller claiming he “couldn’t give away” the singer’s records.  Though several notable recordings were made during this time period, such as “If I Could Write a Book” in January 1952….which Granata saw as a “turning point“….thus forecasting his later work with its sensitivity….that is when Columbia and MCA dropped him not long thereafterr.  His last studio recording for Columbia, “Why Try To Change Me Now”, was recorded in New York on September 17, 1952….with orchestra arranged and conducted by Percy Faith….as journalist Burt Boyar observed, “Sinatra had had it. It was sad. From the top to the bottom in one horrible lesson.”

 

Music – 1952 – Frank Sinatra – “Why Try To Change Me Now”

 

 Music – 1953 – Frank Sinatra – “I’ve Got The World On A String”                                    

Music – 1954 – Frank Sinatra – “My Funny Valentine” – With Daughter Nancy On Set

 

The release of the film From Here to Eternity in August 1953 marked the beginning of a remarkable career revival….as Tom Santopietro notes that Sinatra began to bury himself in his work….with an “unparalleled frenetic schedule of recordings, movies and concerts” in what authors Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan describe as “a new and brilliant phase” On March 13, 1953, Sinatra met with Capitol Records vice president Alan Livingston and signed a seven-year recording contract.  His 1st session for Capitol took place at KHJ studios at Studio C, 5515 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, with Axel Stordahl conducting.  The session produced four recordings, including “I’m Walking Behind You”….which was Sinatra’s 1st Capitol single.  After spending two weeks on location in Hawaii filming From Here to Eternity, Sinatra returned to KHJ on April 30 for his 1st recording session with Nelson Riddle….who was an established arranger and conductor at Capitol….who was also Nat King Cole’s musical director.  After recording the 1st song, “I’ve Got the World on a String”, Sinatra offered Riddle a rare expression of praise, “Beautiful!”….and after listening to the playbacks, he could not hide his enthusiasm, exclaiming, “I’m back, baby, I’m back!”  In subsequent sessions in May and November 1953, Sinatra and Riddle developed and refined their musical collaboration….with Sinatra providing specific guidance on the arrangements.  Sinatra’s 1st album for Capitol, Songs for Young Lovers, was released on January 4, 1954….and included “A Foggy Day”, “I Get a Kick Out of You”, “My Funny Valentine”, “Violets for Your Furs” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me”….which were songs that became staples of his later concerts….then during that same month, Sinatra released the single “Young at Heart”….which reached # 2 and was awarded Song of the Year….then in March, he recorded and released the single “Three Coins in the Fountain”…..as a “powerful ballad” that reached # 4.  Sinatra’s 2nd album with Riddle, Swing Easy!….which reflected his “love for the jazz idiom” according to Granata, was released on August 2nd of that year….and included “Just One of Those Things”, “Taking a Chance on Love”, “Get Happy” and “All of Me”…..as Swing Easy! was named Album of the Year by Billboard…..and Ol Blue Eyes was also named “Favorite Male Vocalist” by BillboardDownBeat, and Metronome that year…..as Sinatra came to consider Riddle “the greatest arranger in the world”….and Riddle, who considered Sinatra “a perfectionist”, offered equal praise of the singer, observing, “It’s not only that his intuitions as to tempi, phrasing, and even configuration are amazingly right, but his taste is so impeccable … there is still no one who can approach him.”

 

Music – 1955 – Frank Sinatra – “Three Coins In A Fountain”

 

Music – 1953 – Movie Clip From “Meet Danny Wilson – Frank Sinatra (Danny) Sings -“All Of Me”

 

Music – 1954 – Frank Sinatra – “Young At Heart”

 

 Music – 1954 – Frank Sinatra – “I Get A Kick Outta You”

 

Music – 1954 – Frank Sinatra – “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”

 

In 1955 Sinatra released In the Wee Small Hours, his 1st 12″ LP, featuring songs such as “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”, “Mood Indigo”, “Glad to Be Unhappy” and “When Your Lover Has Gone”…..when according to Granata, it was the first concept album of his to make a “single persuasive statement”….with an extended program and “melancholy mood” Sinatra embarked on his 1st tour of Australia the same year.  Another collaboration with Riddle resulted in the development of Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!…. which is sometimes seen as one of his best albums, which was released in March 1956…..as it features a recording of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” by Cole Porter….as it was something which Sinatra paid meticulous care to, taking a reported 22 takes to perfect.                                                                              

Music – 1955 – Frank Sinatra – “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning”          

Music – 1955 – Frank Sinatra – “Mood Indigo” 

                                                           

Music – 1965 – Frank Sinatra Live – “When Your Lover Has Gone”

Music – 1958 – Frank Sinatra – “Only The Lonely”

 

 

 Music – 1965 – Frank Sinatra – “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”

 

His February 1956 recording sessions inaugurated the studios at the Capitol Records Building, complete with a 56-piece symphonic orchestra.  According to Granata his recordings of “Night and Day”, “Oh! Look At Me Now” and “From This Moment On” revealed “powerful sexual overtones, stunningly achieved through the mounting tension and release of Sinatra’s best-teasing vocal lines”….while his recording of “River, Stay ‘Way from My Door” in April demonstrated his “brilliance as a syncopational improviser”….as Riddle said that Sinatra took “particular delight” in singing “The Lady is a Tramp”….. while commenting that he “always sang that song with a certain amount of salaciousness”….making “cue tricks” with the lyrics.  His penchant for conducting was displayed again in 1956’s Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color….which was an instrumental album that has been interpreted to be a catharsis to his failed relationship with Gardner.  Also that year, Sinatra sang at the Democratic National Convention…..and then performed with The Dorsey Brothers for a week soon afterwards at the Paramount Theater.

 

Music -1967 – Frank Sinatra + Ella Fitzgerald – “The Lady Is A Tramp”

 

Music & Entertainment – The Frank Sinatra Show – With Bob Hope + Kim Novak + Peggy Lee

 

 Music – 1943 – Movie Clip From “Reveille With Beverly” – Frank Sinatra – “Night And Day”                                                                                                               

 

In 1957, Sinatra released Close to YouA Swingin’ Affair! and Where Are You?….which was his 1st album in stereo, with Gordon Jenkins.  Granata considers “Close to You” to have been thematically his closest concept album to perfection during the “golden” era….as well as Nelson Riddle’s finest work….which was “extremely progressive” by the standards of the day….as it was structured like a three-act play…..with each commencing with the songs “With Every Breath I Take”, “Blame It On My Youth” and “It Could Happen to You”.  For Granata, Sinatra’s A Swingin’ Affair! and swing music predecessor  Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! solidified “Sinatra’s image as a ‘swinger’, from both a musical and visual standpoint”.  Buddy Collette considered the swing albums to have been heavily influenced by Sammy Davis Jr…..and stated that when he worked with Sinatra in the mid-1960’s he approached a song much differently than he had done in the early 1950’s.  On June 9, 1957, he performed in a 62-minute concert conducted by Riddle at the Seattle Civic Auditorium….which was his 1st appearance in Seattle since 1945.  The recording was first released as a bootleg….but in 1999 Artanis Entertainment Group officially released it as the Sinatra ’57 in Concert live album….which was after Sinatra’s death.  In 1958 Sinatra released the concept album Come Fly with Me with Billy May….which was designed as a musical world tour.  It reached the top spot on the Billboard album chart in its second week….while remaining at the top for five weeks….and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year at the inaugural Grammy Awards.  The title song, “Come Fly With Me”, written especially for him, would become one of his best known standards.  On May 29 he recorded seven songs in a single session….which more than doubled the usual yield of a recording session.  In September, Sinatra released Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely….as a stark collection of introspective saloon songs and blues-tinged ballads….as these proved to be a huge commercial success….after spending 120 weeks on Billboards album chart and peaking at # 1….with cuts from this LP, such as “Angel Eyes” and “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”, would remain staples of the “saloon song” segments of Sinatra’s concerts.

 

Music – 1957 – Frank Sinatra Live – “Come Fly With Me”

 

 

Music – 1965 – The Tonight Show – Frank Sinatra – “Angel Eyes”                                                          

 

Music – 1962 – Live At Royal Festival Hall – Frank Sinatra – “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)”                                                                                      

 

In 1959, Sinatra released Come Dance with Me!, a highly successful, critically acclaimed album….which stayed on Billboard’s Pop album chart for 140 weeks….while peaking at # 2…..as it won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year….as well as Best Vocal Performance, Male and Best Arrangement for Billy May.  He also released No One Cares in the same year…..which was a collection of “brooding, lonely” torch songs….of which critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine thought was nearly as good as its predecessor Where Are You?…. but lacked the “lush” arrangements of it and the “grandiose melancholy” of Only the Lonely.  In the words of Kelley, by 1959, Sinatra was “not simply the leader of the Rat Pack”….but had “assumed the position of il padrone in Hollywood”…..as Nice ‘n’ Easy, a collection of ballads, topped the Billboard chart in October 1960….and remained in the charts for 86 weeks….while winning critical plaudits…..as Granata noted the “lifelike ambient sound” quality of Nice and Easy….with the perfection in the stereo balance….and the “bold, bright and snappy” sound of the band.  He highlighted the “close, warm and sharp” feel of Sinatra’s voice, particularly on the songs “September in the Rain”, “I Concentrate on You”, and “My Blue Heaven”.                    

 

Music – 1964 – Movie Clip From “Robin and the 7 Hoods” – Sinatra + Cosby + Martin – “Style”

 

 Music – 1960 – NBC Special – Dean Martin + Frank Sinatra Duet Medley

 

 

Music – 1964 – Special – Dean Martin + Bing Crosby + Frank Sinatra Sing A Medley Of Old Songs

 

Sinatra grew discontented at Capitol…..and fell into a feud with Alan Livingston….which lasted over six months…..as his 1st attempt at owning his own label was with his pursuit of buying declining jazz label, Verve Records….which ended once an initial agreement with Verve founder, Norman Granz, “failed to materialize.”….so, he decided to form his own label, Reprise Records….and, in an effort to assert his new direction, temporarily parted with Riddle, May and Jenkins…..while working with other arrangers such as Neil Hefti, Don Costa and Quincy Jones…..as Sinatra built the appeal of Reprise Records as one in which artists were promised creative control over their music….as well as a guarantee that they would eventually gain “complete ownership of their work, including publishing rights.”  Under Sinatra the company developed into a music industry “powerhouse”….and he later sold it for an estimated $80 million.  His first album on the label, Ring-a-Ding-Ding! in 1961 was a major success….after peaking at # 4 on Billboard. The album was released in February 1961….which was the same month that Reprise Records released Ben Webster’s The Warm Moods…. Sammy Davis Jr.’s The Wham of Sam….Mavis River’s Mavis….and Joe E. Lewis’s It is Now Post Time.  During the initial years of Reprise, Sinatra was still under contract to record for Capitol….when he completed his contractual commitment with the release of Point of No Return….then in 1962, Sinatra released Sinatra and Strings…..which was a set of standard ballads arranged by Don Costa….as they became one of the most critically acclaimed works of Sinatra’s entire Reprise period.  Frank Jr., who was present during the recording, noted the “huge orchestra”…..which Nancy Sinatra stated “opened a whole new era” in pop music….with orchestras getting bigger and embracing a “lush string sound”…..when Sinatra and Count Basie collaborated for the album Sinatra-Basie the same year…..as this album became a popular and successful release …..which prompted them to rejoin two years later for the follow-up It Might as Well Be Swing….which was arranged by Quincy Jones…..plus, the two became frequent performers together….while appearing at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965.  Also in 1962, as the owner of his own record label, Sinatra was able to step on the podium as conductor again…..thus releasing his 3rd instrumental album Frank Sinatra Conducts Music from Pictures and Plays.

 

Music – 1950 – The Frank Sinatra Show – With Sinatra Performing “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm”

 

Music – 1965 – Live At The Kiel Opera House – Frank Sinatra – “Fly Me To The Moon”

 

Music – 1962 – Frank Sinatra – “If You Go Away”                                                                                                                                                                                 

In 1963, Sinatra reunited with Nelson Riddle for The Concert Sinatra….which was an ambitious album featuring a 73-piece symphony orchestra arranged and conducted by Riddle…..when the concert was recorded on a motion picture scoring sound stage with the use of multiple synchronized recording machines that employed an optical signal onto 35 mm film designed for movie soundtracks.  Granata considers the album to have been “impeachable and one of the very best of the Sinatra-Riddle ballad albums”….in which Sinatra displayed an impressive vocal range, particularly in “Ol’ Man River”, in which he darkened the hue.  In 1964 the song “My Kind of Town” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song….then Ol Blue Eyes released Softly, as I Leave You….after which he collaborated with Bing Crosby and Fred Waring on America, I Hear You Singing….which was a collection of patriotic songs recorded as a tribute to the assassinated President John F. Kennedy.  Sinatra increasingly became involved in charitable pursuits in this period…..when in 1961 and 1962 he went to Mexico solely for the purpose of putting on performances for Mexican charities….and in July 1964 he was present for the dedication of the Frank Sinatra International Youth Center for Arab and Jewish children in Nazareth.  Sinatra’s phenomenal success in 1965….which coincided with his 50th birthday….as Billboard was propted to proclaim that he may have reached the “peak of his eminence”.  In June 1965, Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin played live in St. Louis to benefit Dismas House….which was a prisoner rehabilitation and training center with nationwide programs that in particular helped serve African Americans….as The Rat Pack concert, called The Frank Sinatra Spectacular, was broadcast live via satellite to numerous movie theaters across America.  The album September of My Years was released September 1965….and went on to win the Grammy Award for best album of the year.  Granata considers the album to have been one of the finest of his Reprise years….“a reflective throwback to the concept records of the 1950’s, and more than any of those collections, distills everything that Frank Sinatra had ever learned or experienced as a vocalist”…..as one of the album’s singles, “It Was a Very Good Year”, won the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Male….and that is when a career anthology, A Man and His Music, followed in November….while winning Album of the Year at the Grammys the following year.

 

Music – 1967 – Live At Caesars Palace – Frank sinatra – “My Kind Of Town”

 

Music – 1966 – Frank Sinatra – “Killing Me Softly”

 

Music – 1965 – Frank Sinatra – “It Was A Very Good Year”

 

 Music – 1963 – Frank Sinatra – “Softly, As I Leave You”

 

In 1966 Sinatra released That’s Life…..with both the single and album of the same name becoming Top Ten hits in the US on Billboards pop charts….then Strangers in the Night went on to top the Billboard and UK pop singles charts….while winning the award for Record of the Year at the Grammys. Sinatra’s 1st live album, Sinatra at the Sands, was recorded during January and February 1966 at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas…..when Sinatra was backed by the Count Basie Orchestra….with Quincy Jones conducting…..as Sinatra pulled out from the Sands the following year….when he was driven out by its new owner Howard Hughes, after a fight.                            

Animation & Music – 1954 – Animated Special – Frank Sinatra – “The Christmas Waltz”                                                                                                               

 Animation & Music – 1954 – Animated Special – Frank Sinatra – “Jingle Bells”

 

Animation & Music – 1954 – Special – Frank Sinatra – “Mistletoe + Holly”

 

Animation & Music – 1954 – Special – Frank Sinatra – “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”                                                                                                                     

 

Sinatra started 1967 with a series of recording sessions with Antônio Carlos Jobim…..when he recorded one of his collaborations with Jobim, the Grammy-nominated album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim….which was one of the best-selling albums of the year, behind the Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band According to Santopietro the album “consists of an extraordinarily effective blend of bossa nova and slightly swinging jazz vocals, and succeeds in creating an unbroken mood of romance and regret” Writer Stan Cornyn wrote that Sinatra sang so softly on the album that it was comparable to the time that he suffered from a vocal hemorrhage in 1950.  Sinatra also released the album The World We Knew….which features a chart-topping duet of “Somethin’ Stupid” with daughter Nancy…..then in December, Sinatra collaborated with Duke Ellington on the album Francis A. & Edward K….and according to Granata, the recording of “Indian Summer” on the album was a favorite of Riddle’s…. while noting the “contemplative mood [which] is heightened by a Johnny Hodges alto sax solo that will bring a tear to your eye” With Sinatra in mind, singer-songwriter Paul Anka wrote the song “My Way”….while using the melody of the French “Comme d’habitude” (“As Usual”) composed by Claude François and Jacques Revaux.  Sinatra recorded it just after Christmas 1968….but “My Way”, Sinatra’s best-known song on the Reprise label, was not an instant success….while charting at # 27 in the US and # 5 in the UK….  but it remained in the UK charts for 122 weeks….which included 75 non-consecutive weeks in the Top 40 between April 1969 and September 1971…. which was still a record in 2015…..when Sinatra told songwriter Ervin Drake in the 1970’s that he “detested” singing the song…..because he believed audiences would think it was a “self-aggrandizing tribute”….thus professing that he “hated boastfulness in others”.

 

Music – 1965 – Frank Sinatra + Antonio Carlos Jobim Duet – “The Girl From Ipanema”

 

Music – 1965 – Frank Sinatra With Antonio Carlos Jobim – “Wave”

 

 

Music – 1967 – Frank & Nancy Sinatra – “Something Stupid”

 

 

Music – 1967 – Frank Sinatra + The Duke Ellington Orchestra – “Indian Summer”

 

Music – 1974 – Live At Madison Square Garden – Frank Sinatra – “My Way”             

 

In an effort to maintain his commercial viability in the late 1960’s, Sinatra would record works by Paul Simon (“Mrs. Robinson”), the Beatles (“Yesterday”) and Joni Mitchell (“Both Sides, Now”) in 1969…..then in 1970, Sinatra released Watertown….which was a critically acclaimed concept album….with music by Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons….and lyrics by Jake Holmes….however, it sold a mere 30,000 copies that year….and reached a peak chart position of # 101.  Also, he left Caesars Palace in September that year after an incident where executive Sanford Waterman pulled a gun on him…..so, he performed several charity concerts with Count Basie at the Royal Festival Hall in London…..then on November 2, 1970, Sinatra recorded the last songs for Reprise Records before his self-imposed retirement….which was announced the following June at a concert in Hollywood to raise money for the Motion Picture and TV Relief Fund…..when he gave a “rousing” performance of “That’s Life” while finishing the concert with a Matt Dennis and Earl Brent song, “Angel Eyes”…..which he had recorded on the Only The Lonely album in 1958…..when he sang the last line….“‘Scuse me while I disappear”….as the spotlight went dark and he left the stage….when he told LIFE journalist Thomas Thompson that “I’ve got things to do, like the first thing is not to do anything at all for eight months … maybe a year”….while Barbara Sinatra later claimed that Sinatra had grown “tired of entertaining people, especially when all they really wanted were the same old tunes he had long ago become bored by” While he was in retirement is whn President Richard Nixon asked him to perform at a Young Voters Rally in anticipation of the upcoming campaign…..as Sinatra obliged and chose to sing “My Kind of Town” for the rally held in Chicago on October 20, 1972.

 

Music – 1965 – – Live On Stage – Frank Sinatra – “That’s Life”

 

Music – – 1969 – Frank Sinatra – “Mrs. Robinson”

 

 

 Music – 1968 – Frank Sinatra Live – “For Once In My Life”

 

 

 Music – 1968 – Frank Sinatra – “Yesterday”

 

 

 Music – 1968 – Frank Sinatra – “Both Sides Now”                                                                                                                  

 

In 1973, Sinatra came out of his short-lived retirement with a television special and album…..which was entitled Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back….and arranged by Gordon Jenkins and Don Costa….while being a huge success that  reached # 13 on Billboard and # 12 in the UK…..then the television special, Magnavox Presents Frank Sinatra, reunited Sinatra with Gene Kelly.  He initially developed problems with his vocal cords during the comeback due to a prolonged period without singing….but that Christmas he performed at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas…..and returned to Caesars Palace the following month in January 1974….even though he had previously vowed to never perform there again…..then he began what Barbara Sinatra describes as a “massive comeback tour of the United States, Europe, the Far East and Australia” In July, while on a 2nd tour of Australia, he caused an uproar by describing journalists there….who were aggressively pursuing his every move and pushing for a press conference…..as “bums, parasites, fags and buck-and-a-half hookers”….when after he was pressured to apologize, Sinatra instead insisted that the journalists apologize for “fifteen years of abuse I have taken from the world press”…..after which union actions cancelled concerts and grounded Sinatra’s plane….while essentially trapping him in Australia…..when in the end, Sinatra’s lawyer, Mickey Rudin, arranged for Sinatra to issue a written conciliatory note….and a final concert that was televised to the nation…..then in October 1974 he appeared at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in a televised concert that was later released as an album under the title The Main Event – Live.  Backing him was bandleader Woody Herman and the Young Thundering Herd….who accompanied Sinatra on a European tour later that month.

 

Comedy & Entertainment – 1965 – The Tonight Show – With Joey Bishop + Frank Sinatra + Dean Martin

 

In 1975, Sinatra performed in concerts in New York with Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald….and at the London Palladium with Basie and Sarah Vaughan….. and in Tehran at Aryamehr Stadium, giving 140 performances in 105 days.  In August he held several consecutive concerts at Lake Tahoe together with the newly-risen singer John Denver….who became a frequent collaborator…..as  Sinatra had recorded Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “My Sweet Lady” for Sinatra & Company in 1971….. and according to Denver, his song “A Baby Just Like You” was written at Sinatra’s request for his new grandchild, Angela.  During the Labor Day weekend held in 1976, Sinatra was responsible for reuniting old friends and comedy partners Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis for the 1st time in nearly twenty years….when they performed at the “Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon”.  That year, the Friars Club selected him as the “Top Box Office Name of the Century”…..and he was given the Scopus Award by the American Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel….plus an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Nevada.                       

 

Music – 1975 – Frank Sinatra – “Leaving On A Jet Plane”

 

 

Music – 1975 – Frank Sinatra – “My Sweet Lady”

 

 

 Music – 1975 – Frank Sinatra – “A Baby Just Like You”                                                    

 

Sinatra continued to perform at Caesars Palace into the late 1970’s….and was performing there in January 1977 when his mother Dolly died in a plane crash on the way to see him….when he cancelled two weeks of shows….and spent time recovering from the shock in Barbados.  In March, he performed in front of Princess Margaret at the Royal Albert Hall in London….while raising money for the NSPCC.   On March 14, he recorded with Nelson Riddle for the last time….while recording the songs “Linda”, “Sweet Loraine” and “Barbara”…..as the two men had a major falling out…..and didn’t patched up their differences until January 1985 at a dinner organized for Ronald Reagan ….which was when Sinatra asked Riddle to make another album with him…. but Riddle was ill at the time….and died that October, before they had a chance to record.  In 1978, Sinatra filed a $1 million lawsuit against a land developer for using his name in the “Frank Sinatra Drive Center” in West Los Angeles.  During a party at Caesars in 1979, he was awarded the Grammy Trustees Award….while celebrating 40 years in show business and his 64th birthday.  That year, former President Gerald Ford awarded Sinatra the International Man of the Year Award….and he performed in front of the Egyptian pyramids for Anwar Sadat….which raised more than $500,000 for Sadat’s wife’s charities.  In 1980, Sinatra’s first album in six years was released, Trilogy: Past Present Future, a highly ambitious triple album that features an array of songs from both the pre-rock era and rock era…..as it was the 1st studio album of Sinatra’s to feature his touring pianist at the time, Vinnie Falcone…..and was based on an idea by Sonny Burke…..as the album garnered six Gramy nominations…. while winning for best liner notes….and peaked at # 17 on Billboard’s album chart….and spawned yet another song that would become a signature tune, “Theme from New York, New York”.  That year, as part of the Concert of the Americas, he performed in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil…. which broke records for the “largest live paid audience ever recorded for a solo performer”.  The following year, Sinatra built on the success of Trilogy  with She Shot Me Down….which was an album that was praised for embodying the dark tone of his Capitol years.  Also in 1981, Sinatra was embroiled in controversy when he worked a ten-day engagement for $2 million in Sun City in the internationally unrecognized Bophuthatswana….as it broke a cultural boycott against apartheid-era South Africa….when President Lucas Mangope  awarded Sinatra with the highest honor, the Order of the Leopard, and made him an honorary tribal chief.

 

Music – 1980 – Frank Sinatra – “New York, New York”

 

 

Music – 1963 – Frank Sinatra + Louie Satchmo Armstrong – “Birth Of The Blues”

 

Music – 1966 – Frank Sinatra – “Luck Be A Lady Tonight”                                               

 

Santopietro stated that by the early 1980’s, Sinatra’s voice had “coarsened, losing much of its power and flexibility, but audiences didn’t care”.  In 1982, he signed a $16 million three-year deal with the Golden Nugget of Las Vegas. Kelley notes that by this period Sinatra’s voice had grown “darker, tougher and loamier”….but he “continued to captivate audiences with his immutable magic”….. She added that his baritone voice “sometimes cracked, but the gliding intonations still aroused the same raptures of delight as they had at the Paramount Theater”.  That year he made a reported further $1.3 million from the Showtime television rights to his “Concert of the Americas” in the Dominican Republic….$1.6 million for a concert series at Carnegie Hall….and $250,000 in just one evening at the Chicago Fest…..when he donated a lot of his earnings to charity…..plus, he put on a performance at the White House for the Italian prime minister….and performed at the Radio City Music Hall with Luciano Pavarotti and George Shearing.  Sinatra was selected as one of the five recipients of the 1983 Kennedy Center Honors, alongside Katherine Dunham, James Stewart, Elia Kazan and Virgil Thomson.  Quoting Henry James, President Reagan said in honoring his old friend that “art was the shadow of humanity” and that Sinatra had “spent his life casting a magnificent and powerful shadow”.  On September 21, 1983, Sinatra filed a $2 million court case against Kitty Kelley….while suing her for punitive damages before her unofficial biography, His Way, was even published….as the book became a best-seller for “all the wrong reasons” and “the most eye-opening celebrity biography of our time” according to William Safire of The New York Times Sinatra was always adamant that such a book would be written on his terms….and he himself would “set the record straight” in details of his life….but according to Kelley, the family detested her and the book….which took its toll on Sinatra’s health…..as Kelley claimed that Tina Sinatra blamed her for her father’s colon surgery in 1986.  He was forced to drop the case on September 19, 1984, with several leading newspapers expressing concerns about his views on censorship.

 

Music – 1935 To 1995 – Special Legends In Concert – Frank Sinatra

 

In 1984, Sinatra worked with Quincy Jones for the 1st time in nearly two decades on the album, L.A. Is My Lady….which was well received critically….. as the album was a substitute for another Jones project, an album of duets with Lena Horne, which had to be abandoned.  In 1986, Sinatra collapsed on stage while performing in Atlantic City and was hospitalized for diverticulitis, which left him looking frail.  Two years later, Sinatra reunited with Martin and Davis….and went on the Rat Pack Reunion Tour, during which they played many large arenas….when Martin dropped out of the tour early on…. which was due to a rift developed between Sinatra and Martin….and the two never spoke again.

 

Music – 1965 – Special – Frank Sinatra & Count Basie – “Fly Me To The Moon” + “Please Be Kind”+ “Too Marvelous For Words” + “Everybody Has The Right To Be Wrong” + “The Gal That Got Away”

In 1990, Sinatra was awarded the second “Ella Award” by the Los Angeles-based Society of Singers, and performed for a final time with Ella Fitzgerald at the award ceremony.  Sinatra maintained an active touring schedule in the early 1990’s….while performing 65 concerts in 1990….73 in 1991….and 84 in 1992 in seventeen different countries.  In 1993, Sinatra returned to Capitol Records and the recording studio for Duets….which became his best-selling album…..as the album and its sequel, Duets II….which was released the following year….would see Sinatra remake his classic recordings with popular contemporary performers….who added their vocals to a pre-recorded tape. During his tours in the early 1990’s, his memory failed him at times during concerts….and he fainted onstage in Richmond, Virginia in March 1994.  His final public concerts were held in Fukuoka Dome in Japan on December 19–20, 1994.  The following year, Sinatra sang for the last time on February 25, 1995, before a live audience of 1200 select guests at the Palm Desert Marriott Ballroom on the closing night of the Frank Sinatra Desert Classic golf tournament.  Esquire reported of the show that Sinatra was “clear, tough, on the money and in absolute control”.  Sinatra was awarded the Legend Award at the 1994 Grammy Awards….where he was introduced by Bono….who said of him, “Frank’s the chairman of the bad attitude … Rock ‘n roll plays at being tough, but this guy is the boss – the chairman of boss … I’m not going to mess with him, are you?”  In 1995, to mark Sinatra’s 80th birthday, the Empire State Building glowed blue.  A star-studded birthday tribute, Sinatra: 80 Years My Way, was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles….while featuring performers such as Ray Charles, Little Richard, Natalie Cole and Salt-N-Pepa singing his songs.  At the end of the program Sinatra performed on stage for the last time to sing the final notes of the “Theme from New York, New York” with an ensemble.  In recognition of his many years of association with Las Vegas, Frank Sinatra was elected to the Gaming Hall of Fame in 1997.

 

 

Movie & Music – 1951 – Clip From “Meet Danny Wilson” – Frank Sinatra Sings “That Old Black Magic”

 

Movie & Music – 1951 – Clip From “Meet Danny Wilson” – Frank Sinatra Sings “I’ve Got A Crush On You”                                                                                               

 

While Sinatra never learned how to read music well, he had a fine, natural understanding of it….and he worked very hard from a young age to improve his abilities in all aspects of music….for he could follow a lead sheet during a performance by “carefully following the patterns and groupings of notes arranged on the page”….and made his own notations to the music, using his ear to detect semitonal differences.  Granata states that some of the most accomplished classically trained musicians soon noticed his musical understanding….and remarked that Sinatra had a “sixth sense” which “demonstrated unusual proficiency when it came to detecting incorrect notes and sounds within the orchestra”.  Sinatra was an aficionado of classical music….and would often request classical strains in his music….while being inspired by composers such as Puccini and Impressionist masters…..as his personal favorite was Ralph Vaughan Williams.  He would insist on always recording live with the band because it gave him a “certain feeling” to perform live surrounded by musicians.  By the mid 1940’s, such was his understanding of music that after hearing an air check of some compositions by Alec Wilder….which were for strings and woodwinds….he became the conductor at Columbia Records for six of Wilder’s compositions…. “Air for Oboe”, “Air for English Horn”, “Air for Flute”, “Air for Bassoon”, “Slow Dance” and “Theme and Variations”…..as the works, which combine elements of jazz and classical music, were considered by Wilder to have been among the finest renditions and recordings of his compositions, past or present.  At one recording session with arranger Claus Ogerman and an orchestra, Sinatra heard “a couple of little strangers” in the string section, prompting Ogerman to make corrections to what were thought to be copyist’s errors.  Critic Gene Lees, a lyricist and the author of the words to the Jobim melody “This Happy Madness”, expressed amazement when he heard Sinatra’s recording of it on Sinatra & Company (1971), considering him to have delivered the lyrics to perfection.  Voice coach John Quinlan was impressed by Sinatra’s vocal range, remarking, “He has far more voice than people think he has. He can vocalize to a B-flat on top in full voice, and he doesn’t need a mic either”.  As a singer, early on he was primarily influenced by Bing Crosby….but later believed that Tony Bennett was “the best singer in the business”…..as Bennett also praised Sinatra himself, claiming that as a performer, he had “perfected the art of intimacy.”  According to Nelson Riddle, Sinatra had a “fairly rangy voice”….while remarking that “His voice has a very strident, insistent sound in the top register, a smooth lyrical sound in the middle register, and a very tender sound in the low. His voice is built on infinite taste, with an overall inflection of sex. He points everything he does from a sexual standpoint” Despite his heavy New Jersey accent, according to Richard Schuller, when Sinatra sang his accent was barely detectable….with his diction becoming “precise” and articulation “meticulous”.  His timing was impeccable, allowing him, according to Charles L. Granata, to “toy with the rhythm of a melody, bringing tremendous excitement to his reading of a lyric”. Tommy Dorsey observed that Sinatra would “take a musical phrase and play it all the way through seemingly without breathing for eight, ten, maybe sixteen bars”…..as Dorsey was a considerable influence on Sinatra’s techniques for his vocal phrasing with his own exceptional breath control on the trombone…..as Sinatra regularly swam and held his breath underwater….while thinking of song lyrics to increase his breathing power.  His wife Barbara expressed regarding his voice and musical understanding….“He’d always been critical of his voice, and that only intensified as he got older. He never liked to discuss a performance afterward because he knew his voice wasn’t as good as it used to be. If someone told him he’d been great, he’d reply, ‘It was a nice crowd, but my reed was off’ or ‘I wasn’t so good on the third number’. Strangely, in spite of his hearing problems, he had the most incredible ear, which often drove those he worked with nuts. There could be an orchestra of a hundred musicians, and if one played a bum note he’d know exactly who was responsible.”  Arrangers such as Nelson Riddle and Anthony Fanzo found Sinatra to be a perfectionist….who constantly drove himself and others around him….while stating that his collaborators approached him with a sense of uneasiness because of his unpredictable and often volatile temperament.  Granata comments that Sinatra was almost fanatically obsessed with perfection to the point that people began wondering if he was genuinely concerned about the music or showing off his power over others.  On days when he felt that his voice was not right, he would know after only a few notes and would postpone the recording session until the following day, yet still pay his musicians.  After a period of performing, Sinatra tired of singing a certain set of songs….and was always looking for talented new songwriters and composers to work with…..and once he found ones that he liked, he actively sought to work with them as often as he could….while making friends with many of them.  He once told Sammy Cahn, who wrote songs for Anchors Aweigh, “if you’re not there Monday, I’m not there Monday”.  Over the years he recorded 87 of Cahn’s songs…..of which 24 were composed by Jule Styne and 43 by Jimmy Van Heusen.  The Cahn-Styne partnership lasted from 1942 until 1954….when Van Heusen succeeded him as Sinatra’s main composer.  Unlike many of his contemporaries, Sinatra insisted upon direct input regarding arrangements and tempos for his recordings….as he would spend weeks thinking about the songs he wanted to record….and would keep an arranger in mind for each song….so, if it was a mellow love song, he would ask for Gordon Jenkins…..if it was a rhythm number, he would think of Billy May….or perhaps Neil Hefti or some other favored arranger…..as Jenkins considered Sinatra’s musical sense to be unerring.  His changes to Riddle’s charts would frustrate Riddle, yet he would usually concede that Sinatra’s ideas were superior.  Barbara Sinatra notes that Sinatra would almost always credit the songwriter at the end of each number….and would often make comments to the audience, such as “Isn’t that a pretty ballad” or “Don’t you think that’s the most marvelous love song”, delivered with “childlike delight”…..when she stated that after each show, Sinatra would be “in a buoyant, electrically charged mood, a post-show high that would take him hours to come down from as he quietly relived every note of the performance he’d just given”.  Nelson Riddle said of the development of Sinatra’s voice in 1955 saying “His voice is more interesting now: he has separated his voice into different colors, in different registers. Years ago, his voice was more even, and now it is divided into at least three interesting ranges: low, middle, and high. [He’s] probing more deeply into his songs than he used to. That may be due to the ten years he’s put on, and the things he’s been through.”

 

Entertainment & Music – 1988 – Larry King Live – With Frank Sinatra In His Final Major Interview

 

Sinatra’s split with Gardner in the fall of 1953 had a profound impact on the types of songs he sang and on his voice…..as he began to console himself in songs with a “brooding melancholy”….with songs such as “I’m a Fool to Want You”, “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me”, “My One and Only Love” and “There Will Never Be Another You”…..of which Riddle believed was the direct influence of Ava Gardner….while Lahr commented that the new Sinatra was “not the gentle boy balladeer of the forties. Fragility had gone from his voice, to be replaced by a virile adult’s sense of happiness and hurt” Author Granata considered Sinatra a “master of the art of recording”, noting that his work in the studio “set him apart from other gifted vocalists”.  During his career he made over 1000 recordings.  Recording sessions would typically last three hours, though Sinatra would always prepare for them by spending at least an hour by the piano beforehand to vocalize….which was followed by a short rehearsal with the orchestra to ensure the balance of sound.  During his Columbia years Sinatra used an RCA 44 microphone, which Granata describes as “the ‘old-fashioned’ microphone which is closely associated with Sinatra’s crooner image of the 1940’s”….albeit when performing on talk shows later he used a bullet-shaped RCA 77…..and when at Capitol he used a Neumann U47….which was an “ultra-sensitive” microphone that better captured the timbre and tone of his voice.

 

Music – 1965 – Frank Sinatra Live = “Witchcraft”

 

 Music – 1962 – Live At Royal Festival Hall – Frank Sinatra – “You Make Me Feel So Young”                                                                                                             

 

Sinatra attempted to pursue an acting career in Hollywood in the early 1940’s…..while films appealed to him, being exceptionally self-confident, he was rarely enthusiastic about his own acting, once remarking that “pictures stink” Sinatra made his film debut performing in an uncredited sequence in Las Vegas Nights in 1941….where he sang “I’ll Never Smile Again” with Tommy Dorsey’s Pied Pipers.  He had a cameo role along with Duke Ellington and Count Basie in Charles Barton’s Reveille with Beverly in 1943….plus making a brief appearance singing “Night and Day”.  Next, he was given leading roles in Higher and Higher and Step Lively….as both were in 1944 for RKO.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cast Sinatra opposite Gene Kelly and Kathryn Grayson in the Technicolor musical Anchors Aweigh in 1945…..in which he played a sailor on leave in Hollywood for four days…..which was a major success….as it garnered several Academy Award wins and nominations….and the song “I Fall in Love Too Easily”, sung by Sinatra in the film, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.  He briefly appeared at the end of Richard Whorf’s commercially successful Till the Clouds Roll By in 1946….which a Technicolor musical biopic of Jerome Kern, in which he sang “Ol’ Man River”.  Sinatra co-starred again with Gene Kelly in the Technicolor musical Take Me Out to the Ball Game in 1949….which was a film set in 1908, in which Sinatra and Kelly play baseball players who are part-time vaudevillians…..then he teamed up with Kelly for a third time in On the Town (also 1949), playing a sailor on leave in New York City….as the film remains rated very highly by critics.  Fred Zinnemann’s From Here to Eternity in 1953 deals with the tribulations of three soldiers, played by Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift and Sinatra….who were stationed in Hawaii in the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Sinatra had long been desperate to find a film role which would bring him back into the spotlight…. and Columbia Pictures boss Harry Cohn had been inundated by appeals from people across Hollywood to give Sinatra a chance to star as “Maggio” in the film.  During production, Montgomery Clift became a close friend….and Sinatra later professed that he “learned more about acting from him than anybody I ever knew before” After several years of critical and commercial decline, his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor win helped him regain his position as the top recording artist in the world.  His performance also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. The Los Angeles Examiner wrote that Sinatra is “simply superb, comical, pitiful, childishly brave, pathetically defiant”, commenting that his death scene is “one of the best ever photographed“.  Sinatra starred opposite Doris Day in the musical film Young at Heart in 1954….and earned critical praise for his performance as a psychopathic killer posing as an agent opposite  Sterling Hayden in the film noir Suddenly also 1954.  Sinatra was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor and BAFTA Award for Best Actor for his role as a heroin addict in The Man With The Golden Arm in 1955…..then after roles in Guys and Dolls and The Tender Trap in 1955…..that is when Sinatra was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role as a medical student in Stanley Kramer’s directorial début, Not as a Stranger…..which was also 1955…..when during production, Sinatra got drunk with Robert Mitchum and Broderick Crawford and trashed Kramer’s dressing room…..when Kramer vowed to never hire Sinatra again at the time ….and later regretted casting him as a Spanish guerrilla leader in The Pride and the Passion in 1957….then Sinatra was featured alongside Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly in High Society in 1956 for MGM….while earning a reported $250,000 for the picture…..as the public rushed to the cinemas to see Sinatra and Crosby together on-screen, and it ended up earning over $13 million at the box office….while becoming one of the highest-grossing pictures of the year.  He starred opposite Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak in George Sidney’s Pal Joey in 1957….for which he won for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.  Santopietro considers the scene in which Sinatra sings “The Lady Is a Tramp” to Hayworth to have been the finest moment of his film career.  He next portrayed comedian Joe E. Lewis in The Joker Is Wild (also 1957)….when the song “All the Way” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.  By 1958, Sinatra was one of the ten biggest box office draws in the United States….when he appeared with Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine in Vincente Minnelli’s Some Came Running and Kings Go Forth (both 1958) with Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood. “High Hopes”, sung by Sinatra in the Frank Capra comedy, A Hole in the Head in 1959 won the Academy Award for Best Original Song…..and became a chart hit, lasting on the Hot 100 for 17 weeks.  Due to an obligation he owed to 20th Century Fox for walking off the set of Henry King’s Carousel in 1956….that is when Sinatra starred opposite Shirley MacLaine, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan in Can-Can in 1960….when he earned $200,000 and 25% of the profits for the performance.  Around the same time, he starred in the Las Vegas-set Ocean’s 11 (also 1960)….which was the 1st film to feature the Rat Pack together…..and the start of a “new era of screen cool” for Santopietro.  Sinatra personally financed the film, and paid Martin and Davis fees of $150,000 and $125,000 respectively….which were sums considered exorbitant for the period.  He had a leading role opposite  Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate in 1962…. which he considered to be the role he was most excited about and the high point of his film career.  Vincent Canby, writing for the magazine Variety, found the portrayal of Sinatra’s character to be “a wide-awake pro creating a straight, quietly humorous character of some sensitivity.”  He appeared with the Rat Pack in the western Sergeants 3 (also 1962)…..while following it with 4 for Texas in 1963.  For his performance in Come Blow Your Horn (also 1963) adapted from the Neil Simon play, he was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.  Sinatra directed None but the Brave and Von Ryan’s Express in 1965….which was a major success,  However, in the mid 1960’s, Brad Dexter wanted to “breathe new life” into Sinatra’s film career by helping him display the same professional pride in his films as he did his recordings…..when on one occasion, he gave Sinatra to read Anthony Burgess’s novel A Clockwork Orange in 1962….with the idea of making a film….but Sinatra thought it had no potential and did not understand a word.  In the late 1960’s, Sinatra became known for playing detectives, including Tony Rome in Tony Rome in 1967…..and its sequel Lady In Cement in 1968…..plus, he also played a similar role in The Detective in 1968.  Sinatra starred opposite George Kennedy in the western Dirty Dingus Magee in 1970….which was an “abysmal” affair according to Santopietro…. which was panned by the critics.  The following year, Sinatra received a Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award and had intended to play Detective  Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry in 1971….but had to turn the role down due to developing Dupuytren’s contracture in his hand.  Sinatra’s last major film role was opposite Faye Dunaway in Brian G. Hutton’s The First Deadly Sin in 1980…..when Santopietro said that as a troubled New York City homicide cop, Sinatra gave an “extraordinarily rich”, heavily layered characterization, one which “made for one terrific farewell” to his film career.

 

Movie & Music – 1945 – Clip From “Anchors Aweigh” – Frank Sinatra + Gene Kelly – “I Begged Her”

 

 Movie – 1955 – Clip From “Man With The Golden Arm” – Frank Sinatra In “The Audition Scene”

 

Movie & Music – 1956 – Movie Clip From “High Society” – Bing Crosby + Frank Sinatra Perform “Well, Did You Evah”

 

Movie & Music – 1957 – Movie Clip From “Pal Joey” – With Frank Sinatra & Kim Novak Performing “I Could Write A Book”

 

Movie & Music – 1955 – Movie Clip From “Guys & Dolls” – Stubby Kaye + Johnny Silver + Frank Sinatra Sing “Guys And Dolls”

 

Movie & Music – 1955 – Movie Clip From “Robin And The 7 Hoods” – Frank Sinatra & The Rat Pack Sing “Mr. Booze”

 

Movie – 1955 – Movie Clip “From Here To Eternity” – With Ernest Borgnine + Burt Lancaster + Frank Sinatra In “The Bar Fight” Scene

 

Movie – 1955 – Official Trailer For “Not As A Stranger” – Starring Robert Mitchum + Olivia de Havilland + Frank Sinatra

 

Movie & Music – 1960 – Clip From “Can Can” – With Frank Sinatra, Maurice Chevalier, Shirley MacLaine, and Juliet Prowse

 

 

Movie – 1962 – Clip From “The Manchurian Candidate” – Opening Scene With Frank Sinatra

 

Movie – 1962 – Official Trailer From “Von Ryan’s Express” – Starring Frank Sinatra + Trevor Howard + Mark Robson + Edward Mulhare

 

Sinatra’s fourth and final Timex TV special, Welcome Home Elvis, was broadcast in March 1960, earning massive viewing figures….when during the show, he performed a duet with Presley, who sang Sinatra’s 1957 hit “Witchcraft” with the host performing the 1956 Presley classic “Love Me Tender”…..as Sinatra had previously been highly critical of Elvis Presley and rock and roll in the 1950’s….while describing it as a “deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac which fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.”  A CBS News special about the singer’s 50th birthday, Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music, was broadcast on November 16, 1965, and garnered both an Emmy award and a Peabody Award.  According to his musical collaboration with Jobim and Ella Fitzgerald in 1967, Sinatra appeared in the TV special, A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim….which was broadcast on CBS on November 13, 1965.  When Sinatra came out of retirement in 1973, he released both an album and appeared in a TV special named Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back…..as the TV special was highlighted by a dramatic reading of “Send in the Clowns”…..and a song-and-dance sequence with former co-star Gene Kelly.  In the late 1970’s, John Denver appeared as a guest in the Sinatra and Friends ABC-TV Special, singing “September Song” as a duet.

 

Music – 1976 – Frank Sinatra + John Denver Duet – “September Song”

 

Music – 1966 – Frank Sinatra + Count Basie – “Pennies From Heaven”

 

Music – 1986 – Frank Sinatra Live – “Send In The Clowns”                                       

 

Sinatra was married to Hollywood actress Ava Gardner from 1951 to 1957. It was a turbulent marriage with many well-publicized fights and altercations.  The couple formally announced their separation on October 29, 1953, through MGM.  Gardner filed for divorce in June 1954, at a time when she was dating matador Luis Miguel Dominguín, but the divorce was not settled until 1957.  Sinatra continued to feel very strongly for her, and they remained friends for life.  He was still dealing with her finances in 1976.

 

Music – 1980 – Frank Sinatra – “You And Me (We Wanted It All)”

 

Music – 1980 – Frank Sinatra – “It Had To Be You”                                                                                                                                                                                       

Sinatra was known for his immaculate sense of style.  He spent lavishly on expensive custom-tailored tuxedos and stylish pin-striped suits, which made him feel wealthy and important, and that he was giving his very best to the audience.  He was also obsessed with cleanliness—while with the Tommy Dorsey band he developed the nickname “Lady Macbeth”, because of frequent showering and switching his outfits.  His deep blue eyes earned him the popular nickname “Ol’ Blue Eyes”.  For Santopietro, Sinatra was the personification of America in the 1950’s: “cocky, eye on the main chance, optimistic, and full of the sense of possibility” Barbara Sinatra wrote, “A big part of Frank’s thrill was the sense of danger that he exuded, an underlying, ever-present tension only those closest to him knew could be defused with humor” Cary Grant, a friend of Sinatra, stated that Sinatra was the “most honest person he’d ever met, who spoke a simple truth, without artifice which scared people”…..as he was often moved to tears by his performances.  Jo-Caroll Dennison commented that he possessed “great inner strength with an energy and drive were enormous” A workaholic, he reportedly only slept four hours a night on average.  Throughout his life, Sinatra had mood swings and bouts of mild to severe depression, stating to an interviewer in the 1950’s that “I have an over-acute capacity for sadness as well as elation”….. when Barbara Sinatra stated that he would “snap at anyone for the slightest misdemeanor”….while Van Heusen said that when Sinatra got drunk it was “best to disappear”.

 

Music – 1958 – TV Special – Frank Sinatra With A Bunch Of Kids –“High Hopes”                                                                                                                             

 

Sinatra became the stereotype of the “tough working-class Italian American”, something which he embraced.  He said that if it had not been for his interest in music, he would have likely ended up in a life of crime. Willie Moretti was Sinatra’s godfather and the notorious underboss of the Genovese crime family….who helped Sinatra in exchange for kickbacks and was reported to have intervened in releasing Sinatra from his contract with Tommy Dorsey.  Sinatra went to the Mafia Havana Conference in 1946….and the press learned of his being there with Lucky Luciano….as one newspaper published the headline, “Shame, Sinatra”…..when he was reported to be a good friend of Sam Giancana….as the two men were seen playing golf together.  Kelley quotes Jo-Carrol Silvers that Sinatra “adored” Bugsy Siegel, and boasted to friends about him and how many people he had killed”.  Kelley also claimed that Sinatra and mobster Joseph Fischetti had been good friends from 1938 onward…..and even acted like “Sicilian brothers”.  She also states that Sinatra and Hank Sanicola were financial partners with Mickey Cohen in the gossip magazine Hollywood Night Life.  The FBI kept records amounting to 2,403 pages on Sinatra….who was a natural target with his alleged Mafia ties….his ardent New Deal politics….and his friendship with John F. Kennedy…..as the FBI kept him under surveillance for almost five decades beginning in the 1940’s.  The documents include accounts of Sinatra as the target of death threats and extortion schemes.  The FBI documented that Sinatra was losing esteem with the Mafia as he grew closer to President Kennedy….whose younger brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy was leading a crackdown on organized crime.  Sinatra denied Mafia involvement: “Any report that I fraternized with goons or racketeers is a vicious lie”.

 

Music – 1935 To 1995 – Special Documentary – Frank Sinatra:  “Dark Star”

 

In 1960, Sinatra bought a share in the Cal Neva Lodge & Casino, a casino hotel that straddles the California-Nevada state line on the north shores of Lake Tahoe. Sinatra built the Celebrity Room theater which attracted his show business friends Red Skelton, Marilyn Monroe, Victor Borge, Joe E. Lewis, Lucille Ball, Lena Horne, Juliet Prowse, the McGuire Sisters, and others. By 1962, he reportedly held a 50-percent share in the hotel…..but his gambling license was temporarily stripped by the Nevada Gaming Control Board in 1963 after Giancana was spotted on the premises.  Due to ongoing pressure from the FBI and Nevada Gaming Commission on mobster control of casinos, Sinatra agreed to give up his share in Cal Neva and the Sands.  That year, his son Frank Jr. was kidnapped but was eventually released unharmed.  Sinatra’s gaming license was restored in February 1981, following support from Ronald Reagan.

 

News & Music – 1981 – Special – Nevada State Gameing Commission Questions Frank Sinatra About His Alleged Ties To The Mafia

 

 

Special – 2015 – Bloodletterrs & Badmen Presents – “Willie Moretti, Frank Sinatra & the New Jersey Mob”                                                 

 

Sinatra held differing political views throughout his life….as his mother, Dolly Sinatra (1896–1977), was a Democratic Party ward leader….when after meeting President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, he subsequently heavily campaigned for the Democrats in the 1944 presidential election.  According to Jo Carroll Silvers, in his younger years Sinatra had “ardent liberal” sympathies….and was “so concerned about poor people that he was always quoting Henry Wallace”.  He was outspoken against racism, particularly toward blacks and Italians, from early on…..when in November 1945 Sinatra was invited by the mayor of Gary, Indiana, to try to settle a strike by white students of Froebel High School against the “Pro-Negro” policies of the new principal.  His comments, while praised by liberal publications, led to accusations by some that he was a Communist….which he strongly denied.  In the 1948 presidential election, Sinatra actively campaigned for President  Harry S. Truman….and in 1952 and 1956, he also campaigned for Adlai Stevenson.  Of all the U.S. presidents he associated with during his career, he was closest to John F. Kennedy…..as Sinatra often invited Kennedy to Hollywood and Las Vegas….and the two would womanize and enjoy parties together….then in January 1961, Sinatra and Peter Lawford organized the Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C., held on the evening before President Kennedy was sworn into office…..however, after taking office, Kennedy decided to cut ties with Sinatra due, in part, to the singer’s ties with the Mafia.  His brother Robert, who was serving as Attorney General and was known for urging FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to conduct even more crackdowns on the Mafia….and was even more distrustful of Sinatra….when in 1962, Sinatra’s friendship with Kennedy….whom he first met in the 1950’s ….officially ended when Kennedy officially decided to remove Sinatra….who never shook off rumors of affiliation with the Mafia…. from his “gang”….as Sinatra was snubbed by the President during his visit to Palm Springs…. where Sinatra lived….when JFK decided to stay with the Republican Bing Crosby….which was due to FBI concerns about Sinatra’s alleged connections to organized crime.  Despite also having ties with the Mafia, Crosby was not willing to give as much public hints as Sinatra.  Sinatra had invested a lot of his own money in upgrading the facilities at his home in anticipation of the President’s visit, fitting it with a heliport….which he later smashed up with a sledgehammer upon being rejected.  Despite the snub, when he learned of Kennedy’s assassination he reportedly sobbed in his bedroom for three days.

 

Music – 1959 – Timex Show Special – With Frank Sinatra + Bing Crosby + Dean Martin Singing – “Together, Wherever We Go” 

Music – 1960 – Welcome Home Elvis Special – Frank Sinatra Sings “Love Me Tender” Amd E;vos {res;eu Somgs “Witchcraft” Duet

 

Sinatra worked with Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968….and remained a supporter of the Democratic Party until the early 1970’s….when albeit he was still a registered Democrat, Sinatra endorsed Republican Ronald Reagan for a 2nd term as Governor of California in 1970.  He officially changed allegiance in July 1972 when he supported Richard Nixon for re-election in the 1972 presidential election.  In the 1980 presidential election, Sinatra supported Ronald Reagan and donated $4 million to Reagan’s campaign…..as he Reagan’s Presidential gala….which he had done for Kennedy 20 years previously.  In 1985, Reagan presented Sinatra with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, remarking, “His love of country, his generosity for those less fortunate … make him one of our most remarkable and distinguished Americans.”

 

Politics & Music – 1985 -50th Presidential Inauguration Ball for Ronald Reagan – Featuring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin

 

Santopietro notes that Sinatra was a “lifelong sympathizer with Jewish causes”…..as he was awarded the Hollzer Memorial Award by the Los Angeles Jewish Community in 1949.  He gave a series of concerts in Israel in 1962….. and donated his entire $50,000 fee for appearing in a cameo role in Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) to the Youth Center in Jerusalem.  On November 1, 1972, he raised $6.5 million in bond pledges for Israel….and was given the Medallion of Valor for his efforts.  The Frank Sinatra Student Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was dedicated in his name in 1978.  He owned a Jewish skullcap, known as a kippah or yarmulkah, which was sold as part of his wife’s estate many years after his death.

 

Music & Entertainment – 2020 – Special – “The Tragic Truth About Frank Sinatra”
 

 

From his youth, Sinatra displayed sympathy for African Americans….and worked both publicly and privately all his life to help the struggle for equal rights…..as he blamed racial prejudice on the parents of children.  Sinatra played a major role in the desegregation of Nevada hotels and casinos in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  At the Sands in 1955, Sinatra went against policy by inviting Nat King Cole into the dining room….and in 1961, after an incident where an African-American couple entered the lobby of the hotel and were blocked by the security guard, Sinatra and Davis forced the hotel management to begin hiring black waiters and busboys.  On January 27, 1961, Sinatra played a benefit show at Carnegie Hall for Martin Luther King Jr…..and led his fellow Rat Pack members and Reprise label mates in boycotting hotels and casinos that refused entry to black patrons and performers.  According to his son, Frank Jr., King sat weeping in the audience at one of his father’s concerts in 1963 as Sinatra sang “Ol’ Man River”, a song from the musical Show Boat that is sung by an African-American stevedore.  When he changed his political affiliations in 1970, Sinatra became less outspoken on racial issues.  Though he did much towards civil rights causes, it did not stop the occasional racial jibe from him and the other Rat Pack members toward Davis at concerts.

 

Music – 1979 – Frank Sinatra Live – “The Best Is Yet To Come”                                

 Music – 1980 – Frank Sinatra & Friends Live – “Where Or When”                        

 

Sinatra died with his wife at his side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on May 14, 1998, aged 82, after a heart attack…..as he was in ill health during the last few years of his life….and was frequently hospitalized for heart and breathing problems, high blood pressure, pneumonia and bladder cancer.  He also suffered from dementia-like symptoms due to his usage of antidepressants.  He had made no public appearances following a heart attack in February 1997.  Sinatra’s wife encouraged him to “fight” while attempts were made to stabilize him….and reported that his final words were, “I’m losing.”  The night after Sinatra’s death, the lights on the Empire State Building in New York City were turned blue, the lights at the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor, and the casinos stopped spinning for one minute.  Sinatra’s funeral was held at the Roman Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, California, on May 20, 1998, with 400 mourners in attendance….and thousands of fans outside…..when Gregory Peck, Tony Bennett, and Sinatra’s son, Frank Jr., addressed the mourners…. who included many notable people from film and entertainment.  Sinatra was buried in a blue business suit along with mementos from family members including cherry-flavored Life Savers, Tootsie Rolls, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, a pack of Camel cigarettes, a Zippo lighter, stuffed toys, a dog biscuit and a roll of dimes that he always carried…..and was buried next to his parents in section B-8 of Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.

 

Music & Entertainment – 1998 – Memorial TV Special – Frank Sinatra — Friends & Celebrities Reflect On Ol Blue Eyes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Robert Christgau referred to Sinatra as “the greatest singer of the 20th century”…..as his popularity is matched only by Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson.  For Santopietro, Sinatra was the “greatest male pop singer in the history of America”…..who amassed “unprecedented power onscreen and off”…..and “seemed to exemplify the common man, an ethnic twentieth-century American male who reached the ‘top of the heap’, yet never forgot his roots”.  Santopietro argues that Sinatra created his own world….which he was able to dominate….as his career was centred around power….and perfecting the ability to capture an audience. Encyclopædia Britannica referred to Sinatra as “often hailed as the greatest American singer of 20th-century popular music….who through his life and his art, he transcended the status of mere icon to become one of the most recognizable symbols of American culture.”

 

Music – 1990 – Special – The Society Of Singers Honors Frank Sinatra

 

Sinatra has been portrayed on numerous occasions in film and television. A television miniseries based on Sinatra’s life, titled Sinatra, was aired by CBS in 1992. The series was directed by James Steven Sadwith, who won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Miniseries or a Special, and starred Philip Casnoff as Sinatra. Sinatra was written by Abby Mann and Philip Mastrosimone, and produced by Sinatra’s daughter, Tina.  Sinatra has subsequently been portrayed on screen by Ray Liotta (The Rat Pack, 1998), James Russo (Stealing Sinatra, 2003), Dennis Hopper (The Night We Called It a Day, 2003), and Robert Knepper (My Way, 2012), and spoofed by Joe Piscopo and Phil Hartman on Saturday Night Live. A biographical film directed by Martin Scorsese has long been planned.  A 1998 episode of the BBC documentary series ArenaThe Voice of the Century, focused on Sinatra.  Alex Gibney directed a four-part biographical series on Sinatra, All or Nothing At All, for HBO in 2015.  A musical tribute was aired on CBS television in December 2015 to mark Sinatra’s centenary. Sinatra was also portrayed by Rico Simonini in the 2018 feature film Frank & Ava, which is based on a play by Willard Manus.  Sinatra was convinced that Johnny Fontane, a mob-associated singer in Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather (1969), was based on his life. Puzo wrote in 1972 that when the author and singer met in Chasen’s, Sinatra “started to shout abuse”, calling Puzo a “pimp” and threatening physical violence….when Francis Ford Coppola, director of the film adaptation, said in the audio commentary that “Obviously Johnny Fontane was inspired by a kind of Frank Sinatra character”.

 

Music – 1966 – Frank Sinatra Live- “If You Go Away”

 Music – 1966 – Frank Sinatra Live – “Strangers In The Night”                                      

 

As I bring to conclusion the story of Frank Sinatra….I must say that I have never had so much video content to choose from, as from Frank Sinatra…and if you took the time to watch the videos posted herewith…..then you will most definitely have to agree with me that Ol Blues Eyes was a “one of a kind” singer and entertainer …..who approached life on his own terms…..while becoming a master of the talents that God gave him….as he left an undeniable legacy of proof that he gave his heart and his soul in every ounce of talent that he shared with the world….and like so many of those who found their talents at a young age…. who continued to hone and develop those talents until their time had passed….while giving everything that they had to give….for those are the ones that remain in the consciousness of their adoring fans forever.  I remember Bone Daddy commenting that as a child, he thought Ol Blue Eyes music was for old people….but as his life got further down the road….he said to me….“You know L E, the music of the Chairman of the Board (as Sinatra was referred too) is really lush and beautiful still today” …..and the wonderful collection of music shared in these videos in this story are evidence of just how true BD’s comment truly is….for when it comes to music that is easy to listen to, it just doesn’t get any better than a Frank Sinatra song. 

 

Movies & Music – 1935 To 1995 – TCM Tribute To Frank Sinatra – Narrated By Nancy Sinatra

 

 

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