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Frank Sinatra - He Did It His Way (Part 1 of 3)

Updated on March 17, 2018
vocalcoach profile image

Respected vocal coach and professional singer, Audrey Hunt lays it on the line when it comes to the responsibility of singing.

Sinatra in November 1950
Sinatra in November 1950 | Source

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.

Introduction to The Man and His Music

I'm not old enough to be a "bobbysoxer", 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.

Sinatras' "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. "

I've Got You Under My Skin

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 Sicilian fireman and a quiet man by nature. Anthony had immigrated to the United States in 1895. His mother, Natalie Della Garaventa (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 (which was un-heard of at that time), 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 singer's 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.

But that was never going to happen.

The Movie That Brought World-Wide Attention to Sinatra's Vocal Technique With the Song "Old Man River."

In the movie "Till the Clouds Roll By." Sinatra's rendition of "Old Man River" is said to have been the greatest.
In the movie "Till the Clouds Roll By." Sinatra's rendition of "Old Man River" is said to have been the greatest. | Source

No Sound But Great Footage

Frank Sinatra's Beginning Career

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 ".

Frank Sinatra June 12, 1943

Frank Sinatra - 1943
Frank Sinatra - 1943 | Source

Birthplace Of Frank Sinatra

A
Hoboken, New Jersey:
Hoboken, NJ, USA

get directions

Hoboken, New Jersey, Birthplace of Frances Albert Sinatra

Frances Albert Sinatra (Frank Sinatra) would put Hoboken, New Jersey on the map with his astounding voice.
Frances Albert Sinatra (Frank Sinatra) would put Hoboken, New Jersey on the map with his astounding voice. | Source

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.

Thank you.

Which is your favorite male pop singer?

See results

© 2010 Audrey Hunt

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    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Au fait - I'd like to share your comments with the rest of the world! Sinatra's acting is remarkable due to his vulnerability. And his voice...Bing Crosby was Franks' idol and influence. So thanks Bing!

      I've followed-up with parts 2 and 3 which I hope you'll enjoy. I appreciate your vote, ratings and pinning. A big thank to you - Audrey

      JayeWisdom - "Smooth-as-silk" certainly describes Frank Sinatra's voice. His role as "Maggio" in "From Here To Eternity" was marvelous. I agree that "The Man With The Golden Arm" was indeed one of his best performances.

      Thank you for the vote Up+

      Audrey

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Sinatra's smooth-as-silk voice could certainly caress a lyric. He was one of those singers whose work stands the test of time. I also enjoyed his movies and think he was a very accomplished actor. After all, he won an Oscar for his portrayal of Maggio in "From Here to Eternity", and "The Man with the Golden Arm" was also one of his best dramatic performances.

      Voted Up+

      Jaye

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      So interesting! I used to love watching his old movies in the summer time when I didn't have to be in bed to get up for school the next day. Really enjoyed learning about how he got started. What a lasting difference he made in the world, and that tells us we can all make a difference if we want to. It may not be on the front news of a newspaper anywhere, but that doesn't mean it isn't important. Most of the good Sinatra accomplished isn't well known either. Looking forward to the next installment . . . :)

      Pinning this to my "Exceptional Men" board, voting it up, BAUI, and sharing with my followers.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Love Ole Blue Eyes and your hub tribute also! What an honor to Frank Sinatra!! I chose Michael Jackson as my favorite pop singer though. Followed by Elvis and then Frank :)

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      bravewarrior - I really envy you, having a mom that would make you dinner to eat by candelight while listening to Sinatra. Very special.

      I'm so glad you came by. Appreciate your support, my friend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Audrey, you did a fabulous job telling the story of Frank Sinatra. I found it interesting that he was thought to be stillborn and kinda weird that his mother was an abortionist!

      I've always loved Sinatra. He was a staple in our house when I was growing up. Every Friday mom would make steak for dinner. We'd eat by candlelight and listen to Ole Blue Eyes. Great memories....

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      GD Nunes - Nelson Riddle was the "soul" of Sinatra". What style he had and his arrangements, remarkable! I think Sinatras best songs were with Riddle, no doubt. Thank you and its great to find another Sinatra fan.

    • GD Nunes profile image

      Glen Nunes 

      7 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      This was a nice series on Sinatra, arguably the best male vocalist of the 20th Century. I've always especially loved his recordings with Nelson Riddle on Capitol Records. I learned quite a bit about the man and his music from your hubs!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      agvulpes - Didn't come across any information on "blotting his copy book on his visit to Australia." Help me out here - what does that mean? I am in the process of writing a hub about Perry, Dean and Sammy as we speak. Thank you so much and please get back to me on my question.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 

      8 years ago from Australia

      I agree that Frank Sinatra is up there with the best of them. However he blotted his copy book on a visit to Australia ( I hope you cover that in your other Hubs)?

      You did not mention other great crooners of the time such as Perry Como, Dean Martin Sammy Davis Junior!

      I look forward to reading your follow up Hubs on Frank Sinatra! You have a new Fan !!!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Wife Who Saves - How wonderful! Those records are priceless. I have to have my "Frank Fix" everyday. His beautiful, soothing voice simply makes me feel good. Thank you and I am eager to read you hubs. Peace, joy, harmony and love to you.

    • profile image

      Wife Who Saves 

      8 years ago

      I still have my Frank Sinatra records. I thoroughly enjoyed your hub.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Coolmom2009 - So glad you stopped by and enjoyed my hub. Looking forward to knowing you better through your marvelous hubs. Thank you.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 

      8 years ago from Texas, USA

      I never knew much about Sinatra, but I have always liked his singing. I enjoyed reading your article for its educational and entertaining qualities. I look forward to reading more from you soon.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Thanks Katie - I must say, I have enjoyed the research for this 3 part article. I thought I knew him quite well only to learn that there was so much more to this great singer than I thought. Glad you liked the video and all. I know he is way way before your time. Thanks Katie and peace to you too.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 

      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      That's a great article I learned a thing or two about Frank Sinatra I did not know. Great video and the poll well so many good choices and all unique and different. I'm gonna say their all my fave... Peace :)

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      theherbivorehippi - Your cat is named after Sinatra - I love it! So very glad you enjoyed my hub. Look for part 3, coming next week. Thanks so much!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 

      8 years ago from Holly, MI

      Oh....I soooo very much enjoyed this hub! Sinatra is my favorite...my cat is even named after him. lol He was just brilliant! My grandma used to play records (yes records) all the time so I grew up him. LOVED this hub!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      William F. Torpey - I love your comments and you make a very good point regarding the great Bing Crosby. Yes, the 40's were his best, vocally. I am grateful for your stopping by and eagerly look forward to reading your hubs.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      This is an excellent biography of Frank Sinatra, vocalcoach. I admire Frank's work, but, to me, he was at his best throughout the 1940s. I had to vote "other" in your poll because it does not include Bing Crosby, who I believe has no equal. Bing and Frank did some great work together. Bing once said of him, ""Frank Sinatra is the kind of singer who comes along once in a lifetime -- but why did it have to be my lifetime!"

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra are also on my list of favorite singers. Your researching about Sinatra’s life is truly appreciated! I love biographies. Have in fact Sinatra’s in my collection. You have covered the most important detail in a nice legato style. I’m looking forward to read the 2nd and 3rd part.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Dear saddlerider1 - You have said exactly almost word for word what I have expressed to other people. Bublea is not even in the same ball park in any way. It bothers me to hear him sing. I just finished my hub Pt 2 and it is published. Wasn't he a marvelous actor? I adored his role as "Maggio" in From here to Eternity. No, there will not ever be another Frank Sinatra. I love him too.

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 

      8 years ago

      Frank Sinatra what can I say. I listened to him so often, he was funny, talented actor, great singer and no one, I mean no one has come close. Many imitators out there like Michael Bublea, doesn't hold a candle to Frankie. Frankie had a style of his own, he was Mr Showman the real boss. I still have his albums and I play them often. He has so many hits. wow..I can't speak...I love the man. Can't wait to read your next post. You chose a winner for sure.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Wow! I didn't know this. Thanks so much for leaving your valuable comment. Appreciate it!

    • profile image

      randy 

      8 years ago

      What an amazing entertainer. He even influenced such hard to please musicians as Miles Davis, who cited Sinatra as a big influence on his phrasing.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Thank you, my Hubpage friend. I will be looking in to your hubs this week and leaving ratings.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      8 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Beautiful

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Yes Prasetio30, his voice set the standard. Some male singers come close, but Franks voice cannot be duplicated and I don't think it should. I thank you for commenting.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Frank Sinatra is one of my favorite singer. He had shown the best talent for the rest of his life. He dedicated his life for music. The world very proud of him. Thank you very much. I love this hub. You remind us to the old memories. But I believe this could never die. Vote this hub UP.

      Prasetio

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Hello Hello, Yes, Frank Sinatra has a "legato" (smooth and connected) to his tone that most singers can only dream of achieving. Thank you and have a beautiful day.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Dear Katiem2 - I agree with your comments. I continue to get chills every time I hear him sing and being a vocal coach trained to "evaluate" voices, I can completely relax my mind and simply enjoy his pure vocal tones. Thanks for commenting. Appreciate it.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Dear Bob - What a rare and wonderful experience for you to share with your brother. Ella Fitzgerald is one of the best female vocalists with her rich, dark and velvety tones. Thank you for your comments. Hope to see you again soon here on hubpages.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 

      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      Frank Sinatra is a legend and going no where, I can't imagine a wedding without a few tunes (at least) by Frank Sinatra, he has one of those rare voices that give you chills even if you've never seen him. Great tribute to Frankie!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      I personally could take to his singing and music. I know I will marched out in the morning and shot. I acknowledge your well written hub.

    • profile image

      Bob McSpadden 

      8 years ago

      Another excellent article from vocalcoach. I am a real fan of your writing. Two thumbs up for your article on one of my favorite singers. In 1960 my brother drug me to a presidential campaign rally at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Frank Sinatra was the guest celebrity along with Ella Fitzgerald. Listenig to those two belt out song after song for J.F.K.'s campaign and then hear the next president speak was one of the highlights of my life. Keep up the good writing. Looking forward to more articles from vocalcoach.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 

      8 years ago

      Just saw you on Twitter - very cool - look forward to part 2

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Dear Billy - I have to agree with you about his personal life. I will be getting more into that area in part II. Your Christmas album with Frank and Bing - oh my gosh - I sure would love to hear that album. Good choice in selecting John Lennon. I love "Imagine". Thanks, my friend, for the great comments.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 

      8 years ago

      Frank had so many great songs and such a presence. He seemed to be a real piece of work as a man but great crooner. I do have on old Christmas album by him and Bing Crosby I am sure you would love. Fav pop artist - though he would hate being called pop - I picked John Lennon though Elvis is the King :)

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      drchrischasse - I have always been a Manilow fan - what memories his music brings. Didn't know he had an album on Sinatra songs. Gonna order that one. Thanks so much for the info and the comment. You're the best!

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 

      8 years ago

      Hey, vocalcoach. Thanks. I just remembered it when you wrote about Frank.

      I think mostly she cried because although I could have sent them to her by so many methods, I came to look for her.

      She lived about 50 miles from where my parents lived and in the Philippines that was not an easy task. I learned a lot from you about Sinatra, so thank you and looking forward to learning more.

    • drcrischasse profile image

      Cristopher Chasse 

      8 years ago from Boston

      I actually have Manillow sings Sinatra and i love it!! Shhh do not tell anyone.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Dear msorensson - What a touching story! You should write a hub about that. You have such integrity. How fortunate your girlfiend is in having a friend like you. This brings tears to my eyes. You are the first to comment on my latest hub. Thank you so much. I shall return the kind gesture. Let's have more woman like you in the world!

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 

      8 years ago

      I love his voice, Frank Sinatra but overall my favorite is Michael Jackson, then John Lennon and then Frank Sinatra. I love them all but it is difficult to choose between your choices.

      I remember in High School, I promised one of my girl friends that I would buy her all the records of Frank Sinatra.

      I saw that girlfriend again, twenty years later with the cds of ALL of Frank Sinatra's songs. She cried.

      I would not normally take that kind of trip but I knew it would make her happy that I kept the promise of a 12 year old.

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