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The Life and Music of Frank Sinatra

Updated on July 28, 2013

Frank Sinatra - A Man and His Music

This lens is about a legend. It is about a man that came up from very little and became one of the most important figures of music in the 20th Century. His music spanned five decades and is still being played and enjoyed today. There is another side of Ol Blue Eyes and that was his hatred for bigotry. I hope you enjoy this lens and if you never heard a Sinatra song I hope this lens makes you aware of the great musical talent of this man.

It all began on December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey when Francis Albert Sinatra was born to Martin and Dolly Sinatra. His father Matrin was a firefighter and Dolly used to sing at local parties and events. As a child growing up in a tough middle class Italian neighborhood, Frank learned to box in order to protect himself. He always knew he wanted to be a singer. His uncle gave him a ukulele which was his first experience with music. He was known to go outside and play the ukulele and sing in the evenings.

The Early Years

It all began on December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey when Francis Albert Sinatra was born to Martin and Dolly Sinatra. His father Matrin was a firefighter and Dolly used to sing at local parties and events. As a child growing up in a tough middle class Italian neighborhood, Frank learned to box in order to protect himself. He always knew he wanted to be a singer. His uncle gave him a ukulele which was his first experience with music. He was known to go outside and play the ukulele and sing in the evenings.

The Beginning of His Career

Swing Music

In 1943 Frank Sinatra began his triumph with the signing of a contract with Columbia Records. Back then he was singing with the greats Tommy Dorsey and Harry James. He became an instant idol of all the young girls known as the "bobby soxers". My mom was one of them. He released his first album, "The Voice of Frank Sinatra" in 1943. At this time, he also starred in a number of movies. In 1945, he was given the lead in "Anchors Aweigh" This movie was nominated for the best picture in the 1946 Academy Awards. In 1949 he starred in "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and "On The Town", one of my favorites. In 1951 he appeared in "Meet Danny Wilson". He was mobbed by young fans wherever he went. However, by the 1950's, it looked like his career was just about over.

Rebirth Of A Legend

In 1953, Frank Sinatra starred in "From Here To Eternity". In that movie he played a private, Maggio, in the Army before World War II began. They were stationed in Pearl Harbor before and up to the time Japan unleashed her bombs. This movie brought Sinatra and his career back to life. He won an academy award for best supporting actor. Following this movie, in 1954, he starred in "Suddenly" here he played an assassin that was going to try to kill the president. The movie roles continued with the "Man With The Golden Arm, which he was nominated for best actor. Then came "Guys and Dolls" followed by "The Joker Is Wild", a story about the life of Joe E Lewis. It did not stop there. In 1958, "Some Came Running", 59 "Hole In The Head" and "Sergeants 3".

The Rat Pack

The "Rat Pack" was a term first used by Lauren Bacall. It was a term she used when she saw her husband, Humprey Bogart and his friends when they got back from a trip from Las Vegas. The original group had titles, Frank Sinatra was the Pack Master, Judy Garland 1st Vice President, Lauren Bacall was the Den Mother, Sid Luft the cage master, Humprey Bogart public relations, Swifty Lazar Recording Secretary/Treasurer, and Nathaniel Benchley Historian. The members were Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, David Niven, Cary Grant and Rex Harrison.

In 1965, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop were known as the "Rat Pack". They appeared together in Oceans 11, Robin and the Seven Hoods and Guys and Dolls. The talent that they brought together would never been seen again in movies and theatre.

The 1960 Years

During the 1960's, Sinatra's light was burning bright. His hits soared on the record charts to a new generation of fans. Sinatra was still signed with Capital Records but Frank was not happy with the arrangement. Sinatra decided to form his own record company and there you have the birth of the Reprise label. During the 60's Sinatra recorded songs like, Presley's Love Me Tender, Beatle hits like Yesterday, Something, Paul Simon's Mrs. Robinson. He also had his own recordings that were all smashed hits such as; It Was A Very Good Year,That's Life, September of My Years and Strangers in the Night. In the late 1960's, Sinatra did a duet, Something Stupid with his daughter Nancy.

The 1960's were also good years for his acting career. He starred in over 5 movies.

Sinatra Retires 1971

On June 13, 1971 the music world and the millions of fans received the shock, Frank Sinatra announced his retirement. No one ever thought that day would come. Sinatra, at the age of 55 years old decided he would put an end to his life in show business, where he has been for 35 years. Could this be the end of O'l Blue Eyes??

Two years later, the world learned that O'l Blue Eyes was back. He returned to the stage and with that return came a hosts of new songs and shows. His comeback song was, "Let Me Try Again" and the fans loved it. He became an instant success back in Las Vegas. He travels the world with his golden voice and was the most sort after entertainer during this time. He appeared in Madison Square Garden to sold out performances. He also had his smash hit, "New York New York". Sinatra also recorded duets with many of the singers of the 70's and 80's.

In 1976, Frank did what he did best, He reunited two friends that had been distanced from each other, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. They have not talked in years and at the 1976 MDA telethon, in front of the whole world, Sinatra brought Dean Martin on the stage.

Sinatra Fights Bigotry

In the early 1950's Frank Sinatra was incensed at the bigotry that existed. He spoke at rallies before it was politically correct and raised money for many causes to end bigotry. In 1945, he starred in a movie, "The House I Live In" about racial and religious tolerance. At that time, this movie could have killed his career but he made it anyway.

In the 1960's, the Rat Pack was preforming in Las Vegas. The hotel they were booked in had to sections one for whites and one for blacks. When Sammy Davis Jr. registered they told him he had to go to the other side. Sinatra made it very clear that if Davis could not get a room on his side then we would have to go to a different hotel. The hotel manager relented.

Sinatra's Political Activities

Sinatra actively campaigned for many democratic candidates for president starting with Franklin Delano Roosevelt; He then supported Harry Truman and Adlai Stevenson. He also raised money for the Democratic Party and their candidates for various officers.

During the election of President John F. Kennedy, Sinatra work to elect Kennedy. He and Davis, Lawford and Martin gave their time and their talents to get him elected. Sinatra had a very close relationship with Kennedy. After the election was over, Sinatra and Lawford organized the inaugural ball. Sinatra always felt that of all the presidents he knew none were closer to him than Kennedy. However, that would soon change when Sinatra felt that Kennedy disrespected him on a trip to Florida. Following the death of Kennedy, Sinatra would support Hubert Humphrey for president.

Sinatra's support for the Democratic Party changed when Ronald Regan ran for Governor of California. Sinatra supported him and he also supported Richard Nixon for president. That was the first time ever that Sinatra supported a republican for president. Sinatra then supported Regan for president and not only did he campaign for him across America he also donated millions of dollars to the campaign. After Regan was elected he asked Sinatra to coordinate his inaugural ball.

Movies Sinatra Starred In

1944 Higher and Higher

Step Lively

Anchors Aweigh

1945 The House I live In

1946 Till The Clouds Roll By

1947 It happened In Brooklyn

1948 The Kissing Bandit

The Miracle of the Bells

1949 Take Me Our To The Ballgame

On The Town

1951 Double Dynamite

1952 Meet Danny Wilson

1953 From Here To Eternity

1954 Young At Heart

Suddenly

1955 The Man With The Golden Arm

Guys and Dolls

The Tender Trap

Not As A Stranger

Finian's Rainbow

1956 High Society

Johnny Concho

Around The Worls In Eighty Days

Carousel

Meet Me In Las Vegas

1957 Pal Joey

The Joker Is Wild

The Pride and The Passion

1958 Some Came Running

Kings Go Forth

1959 Never So Few

Hole In The Head

1960 Can Can

Ocean's Eleven

Pepe

1961 The Devil At 4 O'Clock

1962 The Manchurian Candidate

The Road To Hong Kong

Sergents Three

1963 Four For Texas

Come Blow Your Horn

The List of Adrian Messenger

1964 Robin and the Seven Hoods

1965 Marriage On The Rocks

Von Ryan's Express

None But The Brave

Assault On A Queen

1966 Cast a Giant Shadow

The Oscar

Tony Rome

1967 The Naked Runner

The Detective

1968 The Lady In Cement

1970 Dirty Dingas Magee

1980 The First Deadly Sin

1984 Cannonball Run II

1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Song Hits by Sinatra

All of Me

All or Nothing at All

All the Way

Barbara

Begin the Beguine

The Best is Yet To Come

Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered

Birth of the Blues

Chicago That Toddlin Town

Come Fly With Me

Come Rain or Come Shine

Fly Me To The Moon

Hey Jealous Lover

High Hopes

The House I Live In

I Get A Kick Out Of You

I'll Never Smile Again

I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter

In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

It Was A Very Good Year

It Was Just One Of Those Things

I've Got A Crush On You

I've Got You Under My Skin

I've Got The World On A String

June In January

Just In Time

L.A. Is My Lady

The Lady Is A Tramp

Let Me Try Again

The Lords Prayer

Love and Marriage

Love Is A Many Splendored Thing

Love Is The Tender Trap

Loves Been Good To Me

Moon River

Moonlight Serenade

My Foolish Heart

My Kind Of Town (Chicago Is)

My Way

Nancy (With The Laughing Face)

New York New York

Nice n Easy

Night and Day

Pennies From Heaven

Pocket Full Of Memories

Put Your Dreams Away (For Another Day)

Send In The Clowns

September Of My Years

Serenade In Blue

Softly As I Leave You

Something Stupid

Somewhere Along The Way

Somewhere In Your Heart

Strangers In The Night

Summer Wind

Swinging On A Star

Taking A Chance On Love

That's Life

Theme from New York New York

Witchcraft

Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams

You Make Me Feel So Young

You Will Be My Music

Young At Heart

The Light Goes Out

The End Of An Era

The last public appearance of Frank Sinatra was in December 1994 when we appeared in Japan. After that appearance Frank Sinatra was no longer seen on stage. However, the last time he sang for an audience was on February 25, 1995. It was private party. 1995 was also Sinatra's 80th birthday. Awards and recognitions were many, including the lighting of the Empire State Building in blue to honor Sinatra.

On May 14, 1999 marked the end of a legend. Frank Sinatra died of a heart attack.

We probably would never see the talent and the generosity of Frank, May he rest in Peace.

Great Movies and Music of Sinatra

Let Me Hear Your Feelings On Frank And This Page

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