Frank Sinatra - He Did It His Way (Part 1 of 3)
Part 1 Frank Sinatra
This is Part 1 of a 3 part series. The reason I selected Frank Sinatra is apart from his perfect voice, he set the standard for "back phrasing" in singing. Tony Bennett, "the singer's singer," followed Sinatra's introduction to back phrasing and uses this technique in all of his songs.
I've Got You Under My Skin
Introduction to The Man and His Music
I'm not old enough to be a "bobby-soxer", nor young enough not to recognize the name, Frank Sinatra. I am at an age where people remember his award-winning songs and timeless music from his albums like "Songs for Swing'in Lovers", "In the Wee Small Hours" and "Songs for Young Lovers". Yes, I am a senior who considers herself blessed indeed to belong to an era that could hear the voice of Frank Sinatra just by listening to the radio or playing one of his incredible albums on a record player. I also remember the times I would have enough money saved to run to the nearest "record store" to purchase his latest album. (In those days records were only known as Long-playing (LP) records.) As soon as the word was out, friends that I didn't know I had, began calling me to ask if they could come over to hear the latest album of Frank Sinatra. "Songs for Swing'in Lovers" was the ultimate dance album and oh my, did we ever dance! The sound of his smooth tones, lingering over a phrase of music, literally made girls melt. He is considered to be one of the greatest voices of all time. So allow me to take you back to that time now, with Part 1 of "Frank Sinatra - The Man and His Music. "
A Voice is Born
Francis Albert Sinatra, made his entrance on December 12, 1915 at 415 Monroe St. in Hoboken, New Jersey. The room was quiet as baby Frank struggled to be born. There was not a sound, not even the familiar cry or movement of a newborn baby. He was thought to be stillborn, but his grandmother would not give up on him and revived the infant by holding him under cold running water until he began breathing.
Frank was a huge disappointment to his mother, who wanted a girl. She bought things for her expected baby all in the color pink. She just knew that her child would turn out to be a precious little girl.
He was the only child of Italian immigrants. His father, Anthony Martin Sinatra (1894-1969), was a Sicillian fireman and a quiet man by nature. Anthony had immigrated to the United States in 1895. His mother, Natalie Della Garavanta (1896-1977) who went by the name "Dolly", was a talented, tempestuous Ligurian, who worked as a midwife, Democratic party ward boss, and part-time abortionist. Known as "Hatpin Dolly," she emigrated in 1897. Although it is part of the Sinatra folklore that Frank had an impoverished childhood, he was actually brought up in a middle-class environment, due to his father's secure job as a fireman and his mother's strong political ties to the Democratic Party in Hoboken. Both of Franks parents saw to it that their boy always had money and was well dressed. He even had his own charge account at a local department store and a wardrobe so fancy that his friends called him "Slacksey". Frank also had his own car (second hand) to go along with his wardrobe when he was only15. It was during the depression, when being hired for a job was un-heard of, that Frank had the luxury of being hired by the Jersey Observer Newspaper, unloading trucks. This job was fine with Frank, as he had just dropped out of school.
Frank loved all sports and while attending Demarest High School (Hoboken, NJ), participated in every sport offered. He particularly loved boxing. It was during Franks high school years that he would make a decision that would change his life forever.
He had been to one of Bing Crosby's live performances and decided he would follow in the singers footsteps. He dropped out of high school at age 15 which greatly disappointed his mother and father. They had hopes of his studying to be a Civil Engineer. Instead, their pride and joy, their only son announced that he was going to be a singer! I'm sure that his mother, Dolly, had hopes that Frankie would "get over it" and go back to studying to be a Civil Engineer.
No Sound But Great Footage
Harry Lillis aka "Bing" Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American popular singer and actor whose career stretched over more than half a century from 1926 until his death. Frank studied his "idol's" voice, singing along with Crosby's biggest hits. What was to become the most famous voice of that era was taking on its own style, phrasing and musicianship as the influence of Bing Crosby ensued.
Major Bowes Amateur Hour , American radios best-known talent show, was one of the most popular programs broadcast in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s. It was created and hosted by Edward Bowes(1874-1946).
In 1935 Frank Sinatra entered a radio talent program called Major Bowes Amateur Hour. For the performance Frank Sinatra partnered up with a singing and dancing trio called the Three Flashes and formed the " Hoboken Four." They won first prize and went on to more performances with Major Bowes' traveling show. Franks vocal group, The Hoboken Four's appearances were so popular on Major Bowes Amateur Hour in the mid-1930s, that they were brought back week after week, under a different name each time.
Within a few years, Sinatra was singing regularly on several radio stations. He became a very popular singer while working as a waiter at the Rustic Cabin in Inglewood, New Jersey. People began flocking to the Rustic Cabin just to hear this amazing voice. "Wait until you hear this singer - you won't believe the quality of his voice. It is absolutely mesmerizing", you would hear people say. The word was spreading like wildfire. While there, trumpet extraordinaire Harry James, found the young Sinatra and decided he would fit well as the lead singer for his band, "The Music Makers."
The X Factor
There’s something about him and his voice that resonates with people, and it continues to move people throughout the years and the generations” says reissue producer Charles Pignone. “I don’t know what that X factor is. It’s something that means different things to different people. It’s probably better that nobody knows what it is. It’s a great honor to Frank Sinatra that we still talk about his music so many years after it was recorded. We see how quickly things change in this world, and yet he’s still relevant. People still want to hear Frank Sinatra.
Birthplace Of Frank Sinatra
Summary of Part 1
It is an honor and a priviledge to write about my favorite singer, Frank Sinatra. I have spent hours researching facts about his life to make sure this article is truthful and that the integrity of his life is preserved. There are many biographies available about this great artist. I want to present his biography in a way that might also move and inspire the reader. If I can accomplish even a small part of this, I can feel good about attempting to put into words, all that Frank Sinatra means to the world through a magnificent and undefineable singing voice.