Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusic · 1 decade ago

what can you tell me about Frank Sinatra?

Heloo my fello Yahooiens!

I need some help for my history project...

what can you tell me about Frank Sinatra! i happen to love his music, but its hard to find things about his life!

Please & thank you!


3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Early Life

    Francis Albert Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey to a family living at 415 Monroe St. in Hoboken. He was the only child of a quiet Sicilian fireman, Anthony Martin Sinatra (1894-1969). Anthony had immigrated to the United States in 1895. His mother, Natalie Dolly Garavanta (1896-1977), 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. More exactly, the home he was raised in, especially after the age of 5, was comfortably middle-class even as the surrounding neighborhood tipped toward lower middle class.

    Following his teen years in New Jersey, Sinatra was interested in serving his country during World War II. But on December 9, 1941, close to his 26th birthday, Sinatra was classified as 4-F at Newark Induction Center, due to a punctured eardrum he suffered from a difficult forceps delivery. This allowed Sinatra to pursue entertainment, rather than being enlisted in the Army Air Corps.

    [edit] Early Career with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey

    One of Sinatra's earliest jobs as a singer was at the Hoboken Union Club where, in 1935 he got his first break when singing group The Three Flashes, along with Harold Arlen, were approached by talent scout Edward 'Major' Bowes. Frank's mother, Dolly, had been instrumental in getting her son work during these years, and managed to persuade the trio to include Frank, who would appear in non-singing roles - as a waiter and as part of a blackface minstrel group - in promotional films for Major Bowes' Amateur Hour.

    In September 1935 he appeared on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour as part a group called the Hoboken Four. The group won the show's talent contest with a record 40,000 votes, which led to a national tour with Bowes. Sinatra then took a job as a singing waiter and MC at the Rustic Cabin in Englewood, NJ. (Legend has it that Frank Sinatra was actually not going to get this job but when the first choice Frankie Manion turned down the job the owner chose Sinatra.) The pay was a mere $15 a week, and Sinatra was left to carry his own public-address-system around to local gigs, but the Rustic Cabin gig would allow Sinatra to be heard across New York on the WNEW radio station. In 1939 the wife of bandleader and trumpet player Harry James heard Sinatra on the radio. James, who Sinatra had been trying to contact via photos and letters sent, hired Sinatra on a salary of $75 a week and the two recorded together for the first time on July 13, 1939.

    Sinatra as caricatured by Sam Berman for NBC's 1947 promotional bookAlthough the Harry James Orchestra never met with a huge amount of success, they were generally well received and Sinatra, who recorded ten songs with the group for Brunswick and Columbia, gained a great deal of experience, and good notice from the likes of Metronome, during his tenure with the group. At the end of the year he left James to join the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, where he rose to fame as a ballad singer. His first and biggest hit with the band was 1940s "I'll Never Smile Again," which spent several weeks at number one - and was the first number one - on Billboard magazine's then-new chart of America's top-selling records. His vast appeal to the "bobby soxers," as teenage girls were called, revealed a whole new audience for popular music, which had appealed mainly to adults up to that time. (The complete span of his career with Dorsey was released in the 1994 box set The Song Is You.)

    From March 13 to April 9, 1940 Sinatra sang with the Tommy Dorsey Band at the New York Paramount, the venue in which he, as a solo singer, caused pandemonium during over the coming years. On record, Sinatra cut 29 singles with Dorsey during 1941, and was named Male Vocalist of the Year by Billboard that May. His departure from the Dorsey Band was announced on stage at the Circle Theatre in Indianapolis on August 28 1942.

    [edit] The Columbia Years and "The Voice"

    In 1943, he signed with Columbia Records as a solo artist with initially great success, particularly during the musicians' recording strikes. Vocalists were not part of the musician union and were allowed to record during the ban by using a cappella vocal backing. Sinatra scored several hits during the strike, then enjoyed one of his biggest hits when the strike ended with "Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night of the Week." He also starred on radio programs during this period and was widely considered the nation's second-most-popular singer, behind Bing Crosby, whose attendance/box office records at the New York Paramount he shattered in December 1942, when a two-week engagement was extended to eight. It was during these shows that teenage fans, known as Bobbysoxers, began to create a deafening roar, the likes of which had never been heard before, when Sinatra was on stage. "Sinatra-mania" was now, officially, in full swing as he landed no less than 23 top ten singles on Billboard between 1940 and early 1943 and became affectionately known as "The Voice."

    In 1943, Sinatra returned to the Paramount, made his debut at Madison Square Garden - in a benefit show from Greek War Relief - and caused a stir playing to a crowd of 10,000 at the Hollywood Bowl, a venue usually reserved for classical music and opera. The takings were so huge that the Bowl, in severe financial distress, was able to wipe all of its debt from the earnings. That October, Songs by Sinatra premiered on CBS radio, and ran over the course of the next two years.

    In 1944, Sinatra started his film career in earnest - after appearing in three pictures as the singer with the Dorsey Band in 1941/1942 - signing a seven-year contract with RKO and appearing in light musical vehicles - Step Lively, Higher and Higher, catered to appeal to teenage fans. Sinatra was soon noticed by Louis B. Mayer, who bought his contract from RKO and upped his salary from $25,000 to $130,000 per film under a $1.5 million contract with MGM.

    When Sinatra returned to the Paramount in October 1944, 35,000 fans caused a near riot outside the venue. Dubbed 'The Columbus Day Riot', it took the police hours to defuse the situation. Sinatra was rapidly becoming one of the biggest stars in all of the entertainment business, with estimates suggesting that he had some 40 million fans in America. He returned to the Paramount the following November, again playing to ecstatic crowds, something that was more than a trend across the nation as Sinatra embarked on a cross-country tour over the spring and summer of 1946, playing at the Golden Gate Theatre [San Francisco], Chicago Stadium, Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl amongst other major venues.

    In 1945, Sinatra co-starred with Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh. A major success, this set the standard for subsequent Kelly/Sinatra pictures, such as Take Me Out to the Ball Game and On the Town, all of which were hugely popular with fans and critics alike. That same year he was loaned out to RKO to star in a short film titled The House I Live In. Directed by Melvin LeRoy, this film on tolerance and racial equality earned a special Academy Award. In the 1950s, Sinatra reprised the song "The House I Live In" on the Frank Sinatra Show, saying "That's a fine piece of material. I wouldn't mind doing that every week."

    By 1946, Sinatra was performing 45 shows a week during some months. This year saw the release of his first concept album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra, and the debut of his own weekly radio show. On screen, he appeared at the finale of Till the Clouds Roll By singing Ol' Man River and starred in the well-received It Happened in Brooklyn.

    Frank Sinatra, 1947At the end of 1946, Frank Sinatra was also invited to Cuba, during the week of the Havana Conference for a gala party, but he was not there as a conference attendee. Sinatra's party was, however, used as a pretext for the Bosses to be in Havana. Sinatra flew to Havana with three members of the Chicago delegation, Al Capone cousins, Charlie, Rocco and Joseph Fischetti. Joseph Fischetti was there as Sinatra's chaperone, while Charlie and Rocco attended the meeting and also had the job of delivering a suitcase with $2 million to Lucky Luciano, his share of the U.S. rackets he still controlled.

    On April 13, 1947, Sinatra was at the Waldorf Astoria in New York to receive the Thomas Jefferson Award for Fighting Against Intolerance. October 13 was named "Frank Sinatra Day" in Hoboken, New Jersey, where Sinatra was presented with the key to the city by the Mayor and the chief of police.

    The down-side of fame for Sinatra was a series of public relations gaffes that tarnished his name and his image. Many saw him as a would-be thug, a womanizer and someone who wasn't adverse to slapping around members of the press if the got on the wrong side of him. Critic Lee Mortimer felt the brunt of Sinatra when he was struck in a Hollywood club after taking a dig at "It Happened in Brooklyn" and Sinatra's performance in a film that was otherwise well received.

    Of this first phase of Sinatra's career, it can be said that it anticipated virtually every phase of what, in the 1960s, would be called "The Youth Movement." His sudden--and for many his alarming--appeal to teenagers became a topic of journalistic and even sociological comment. Later musical idols would pass through the same stages of massive initial appeal, decline, and retrenchment, but few, however, would manage to attract as many new audiences as Sinatra did. This became essential to any popular music career that aspired to longevity.

    From November 13 to December 3, 1947, Sinatra was giving eight shows a day during a 17-day engagement at the Capitol Theatre in New York. While there, he got involved in the fixed Jake LaMotta-Billy Fox boxing match held at Madison Square Garden on November 14, which caused his sponsorship of a youth football team that played only one game (in the first Pop Warner Santa Claus Bowl in Philadelphia) and lost. On December 29, 1947, Sinatra appeared with Kathryn Grayson and Gene Kelly on a Lux Radio presentation of Anchors Aweigh.

    In 1948 Sinatra would act in two films, the critically panned The Kissing Bandit and in his first non-singing role as a priest in Miracle of the Bells. The latter fell foul of bad publicity when Sinatra was allegedly linked to mafia boss Lucky Luciano, prompting his agent, George Evans do announce that his $100,000 fee was being donated to the Church. But the film was savaged by critics, and any hopes that Sinatra may emulate Bing Crosby's Oscar-winning role as a priest in Going My Way went up in smoke.

    By the end of 1948 Sinatra himself felt that his career was "stalling," something that was confirmed to a degree when he slipped to No. 5 on Down Beat's annual poll of most popular singers. With record sales also slipping Sinatra tried a new musical approach, recording a couple of gospel songs and succumbing to recording the odd novelty tracks such as The Hucklebuck and Bop! Goes My Heart. But Sinatra never abandoned quality material, and would still record brilliant interpretations of Autumn in New York, Body and Soul, Laura and numerous standards besides.

    1949 saw a change for the better, as Frank once again teamed up with Gene Kelly to co-star in Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Directed by Busby Berkley and with strong support from Jules Munshin, Betty Garrett and Esther Williams Take Me Out to the Ball Game was well-received critically and became a major commercial success, raking in $3.4 million in rentals and becoming the 11th highest earning film of the year. That same year Sinatra would team up with Gene Kelly for a third time in On the Town. Hailed a classic of the genre, On the Town was groundbreaking for its location shooting - something unheard of at the time for a musical - in New York City. Jules Munshin and Betty Garrett would provide support yet again, as would Ann Miller who shone in several dance routines. By the end of 1949 alone On the Town would earn over $3 million, becoming the 17th biggest earning film of the year and earning a standing as one of the great musicals of Hollywood's Golden Era.

    [edit] 1950s

    [edit] Ava, Vegas Debut and Sinatra in Decline

    After two years of absence Sinatra returned to the concert stage on January 12, 1950, in Hartford, Connecticut. Takings of $18,267 over two nights were Sinatra's highest to date, but, under a hectic schedule over the ensuing years, Sinatra's voice suffered, resulting in him hemorrhaging his vocal chords on stage at the Copa on April 26, 1950.

    From July 10 to 23, 1950, Sinatra performed to standing-room-only crowds at the London Palladium, Ava Gardner being in attendance during, at least, one of his shows. In August 1950, Sinatra played to ecstatic crowds in Atlantic City, NJ.

    On October 7, 1950, The Frank Sinatra Show premiered on CBS. This Saturday night show was broadcast weekly from 9:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m., leading to a radio series, also on CBS, called Meet Frank Sinatra. A second series of The Frank Sinatra Show premiered on October 1, 1952, but, ratings were dwarfed by the likes of The Milton Berle Show.

    As Sinatra's career continued to decline as novelty tunes became popular with audiences, and Sinatra moved into his mid 30s, causing a loss of appeal to new teen-age audiences. But, contrary to popular belief, Sinatra did have some hits during this time - Birth of the Blues, Goodnight Irene, Castle Rock, Bim Bam Baby, Mama Will Bark - and continued to work on stage, TV and radio.

    On November 7, 1951, Sinatra married Ava Gardner.[3] They had an extremely tempestuous relationship, and the ascent of Gardner's career seemed to coincide with the decline in Sinatra's career.[3] They split up in 1953 and divorced in 1957. In September 1951, Sinatra made his Las Vegas debut at the Desert Inn. A month later, a second series of the Frank Sinatra Show aired on CBS.

    By 1952 Sinatra was at his lowest ebb. Double Dynamite, a movie vehicle with Jane Russell and Groucho Marx was a critical and commercial failure[4] whilst he badly needed his $25,000 fee for (the film) Meet Danny Wilson to stop the bank repossessing his home. Neither film proved popular, although in the latter, Sinatra acquitted himself well as the nightclub singer under the thumb of the mob.

    Between March 26 and April 8, 1952, Sinatra was back on stage at the Paramount Theater in New York, playing to a much smaller crowd than the days of the rioting Bobby-Soxers, whilst a British tour in 1953, playing in Blackpool, Dundee and Glasgow amongst other places, was met with a middling response.[5]

    After several flops on record, screen and stage, both Columbia and MCA dropped Sinatra in 1952.

    [edit] From Here to Eternity to Capitol Studios

    The rebirth of Sinatra's career began when he played Pvt. Angelo Maggio in the eve-of-Pearl Harbor drama From Here to Eternity (1953), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. This role and performance has become legendary, marking the turnaround in Sinatra's career, from which he went from being lost in a critical and commercial wilderness for several years, to an Oscar-winning actor and, once again, one of the top recordings artists in the world.[6]

    In 1953, Sinatra signed with Capitol Records, where he worked with many of the finest musical arrangers of the era, most notably Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, and Billy May. Sinatra reinvented himself with a series of albums featuring darker emotional material, starting with In the Wee Small Hours (1953), and followed by Frank Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely (1958), and Where Are You? (1957). He also developed a hipper, 'swinging' persona, as heard on Swing Easy! (1954), Songs For Swingin' Lovers (1956), Come Fly With Me (1957).

    Back on the big screen, Sinatra won rave reviews for a seething turn as an assassin determined to kill the President of the United States in the thriller Suddenly.[7]Young at Heart - the song that could be considered as his "comeback" single - peaked on the Billboard charts at #2 and would become the title of the Sinatra/Doris Day remake of the film Four Daughters. By the end of the year, Billboard named "Young at Heart" Song of the Year, Swing Easy! (his second album for Capitol) was named Album of the Year and Sinatra was named "Top Male Vocalist" by Billboard, Down Beat and Metronome.

    The following year Sinatra would win a starring role alongside Robert Mitchum and Olivia DeHavilland in the much anticipated screen adaptation of Morton Thompson's best-selling novel Not as a Stranger. Lighter fare would follow in the shape of The Tender Trap, a romantic musical with Debbie Reynolds, whilst despite failing to accrue the role of Sky Masterson, Sinatra co-starred with Marlon Brando in the hugely popular and successful Guys and Dolls, which was the highest grossing film of 1955.

    Released in 1955, Sinatra's first 12" LP In the Wee Small Hours was also his first collaboration with Nelson Riddle. Hailed as a masterpiece by critics, In the Wee Small Hours would set the standard for future Sinatra albums and signaled a huge leap forward for the concept album. It spent a record 18 weeks at #2 on the Billboard album chart.

    One of the most sensational films of its day was Otto Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) and here, in the lead-role as reformed heroin addict Frankie Machine, Sinatra gave arguably his best and most widely acclaimed performance.[8] Groundbreaking for its depiction of drug addition, bucking Hollywood's production codes and for a thrilling jazz score courtesy of Elmer Bernstein, The Man With the Golden Arm would prove popular at the box office whilst Sinatra was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor at the 29th Academy Awards.

    It was during these years in Hollywood that Sinatra would associate with Humphrey Bogart's "Holmby Hills Rat Pack", a group of actors - including Lauren Bacall, David Niven and Judy Garland - who had grown dissatisfied with the studio system. It was Bogart himself who bestowed upon Sinatra the long-lasting nickname "The Chairman of the Board", and once commented that "If he could stay away from the broads and devote his time to being an actor, he'd be one of the best in the business."

    In 1955 Sinatra starred in Our Town, a one-off TV drama based on the play by Thornton Wilder. Co-starring Eva Marie Saint and Paul Newman, Our Town was broadcast in colour live on NBC and was well recieved, garnering positive reviews, strong ratings and an Emmy Award for the song "Love and Marriage". Sinatra would complain, however, about the time taken to produce the show and stayed away from starring roles on TV until Contract on Cherry Street in 1977. In 2003 Paul Newman acted in a new stage production of Our Town in Sinatra's role as the stage manager.

    During this time Sinatra would also begin to explore several business ventures that would prove lucrative for him over the years. An acquisition of a percentage in the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas led him to performing exclusively there, whilst in 1956, he produced his first film, the psychological western Johnny Concho. The same year he co-starred with his boyhood idol, Bing Crosby, and Grace Kelly - in her final acting role - in the movie version of Cole Porter's High Society, which grossed over $13 million at the North American box office and became the 8th highest earning film of the year.

    Despite a hectic schedule during the mid-fifties, which included the filming of five movies in 1955 alone, Sinatra found time to serve as the conductor of the first album to be recorded at the Capitol Records Tower in Los Angeles, Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color. A second collaboration with Nelson Riddle, Songs For Swingin' Lovers, was an undisputed triumph, expanding on what Swing Easy! had suggested and doing so with the same panache and style that made In the Wee Small Hours such a success. The first ever number one album in the UK, Songs for Swingin' Lovers featured several updates of Broadway and Tin Pan Alley standards recorded by a singer at the very top of his game. The highlight for many remains the astonishing I've Got You Under My Skin - a 56 bar masterpiece that burns and build to an exhilarating trombone solo spun round Sinatra's remarkable vocal performance.

    In 1957 Sinatra gave one of his finest on-screen performances in The Joker Is Wild [9], a biopic of nightclub singer Joe E. Lewis, whose throat was cut by the mob forcing him to find a new career as a stand-up comic. Sinatra's starred with Rita Hayworth and - for a second time - Kim Novak in his next film Pal Joey. Based on the play by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart and once thought too risque for Hollywood, critics hailed Pal Joey as definitive Sinatra vehicle which was written about extensively by Leonard Maltin for the 2002 CD box-set Frank Sinatra in Hollywood 1940-1964. Sinatra won the Golden Globe for 'Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy' for his role as Joey Evans although this is one of the few post-From Here to Eternity movies in which Sinatra didn't top the bill. Here, he agreed to allow Rita Hayworth top billing, saying "It's ok to make it Hayworth/Sinatra/Novak. I don't mind being in the middle of that sandwich". [10]

    [edit] Come Fly With Me

    Come Fly With Me (1958) took several years to come to fruition, but when Sinatra and Billy May finally collaborated on this travelogue-style concept album, the results were, typically, outstanding. A number one album for five weeks on Billboard, Come Fly With Me remains one of the defining Sinatra albums, his interpretations of the title track ("Come Fly With Me"), "Moonlight in Vermont", "Autumn in New York" and It's Nice to Go Travelling being some of his finest recordings of the era. The mood would change dramatically, however, for Sinatra's second album of 1958, Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely. A stark collection of introspective saloon songs and blues-tinged ballads, this album contained some of the most lauded recordings of Sinatra's career and in many ways could be considered the apex of the Sinatra/Riddle collaborations. Only the Lonely was a mammoth commercial success, peaking at #1 on Billboard's album chart during a 120 week stay, whilst cuts from this LP such as "Angel Eyes" and "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" would remains staples of Sinatra's concerts until the very end.

    Sinatra would court further acclaim for his acting when he starred in Vincente Minnelli's highly revered small-town melodrama Some Came Running.[11] Based on the novel by James Jones, this would be the first film in which Sinatra and Dean Martin acted together, whilst Shirley MacLaine - who was Oscar Nominated for her role here - would become a long-time friend of Sinatra. For the film Kings Go Forth, Boris Karloff served as Sinatra's acting coach. Co-starring with Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood, this remains one of the few films based on the so-called "Champaign Campaign" in France at the end of World WarII.[12] Despite the cast, a secondary plot of interracial romance was somewhat taboo for the time, but all involved acquitted themselves well, Curtis having commented later that it was one of the most difficult roles of his career. Sinatra said, despite his stance on racial intolerance, that he "took the part as a performer, not a lecturer on racial problems."

    In 1957 Sinatra signed a $3 million deal with CBS to star in twenty one hour-long musical variety shows and ten half-hour dramas. Many top stars of the day appeared as guests - Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin - but the public and critics failed to warm to an over-ambitious program. Sinatra's subsequent TV projects with American Broadcasting Company was a series of four specials broadcast over 1959 and 1960 and sponsored by Timex.

    In November 1957, the New York Times reckoned that Frank Sinatra's annual income was $4 million, whilst had proven himself to be the most consistent album-seller in the U.S, shifting, on average, 200,000 copies of each release.

    In July 1958 Sinatra sang at a benefit in Monte Carlo. Princess Grace was in attendance and, on this night, Sinatra worked for the first time with Quincy Jones. Their working relationship would last until the 1980s, and their friendship until the end of Sinatra's life.

    [edit] J.F.K.

    By this time Sinatra had become close to the Kennedy family and was a friend and strong supporter of the soon-to-be President John F. Kennedy. Years later, Sinatra's youngest daughter Tina Sinatra stated that Sinatra and mafia figure Sam Giancana had helped Kennedy win a crucial primary election in 1960 by helping to deliver union votes.[13] Sinatra is said to have introduced Kennedy to Judith Campbell, who had been a girlfriend of both Sinatra's and Giancana. Campbell allegedly began a relationship with Kennedy; eventually Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy became alarmed and told his brother to distance himself from Sinatra. On March 24. 1962, Kennedy and Sinatra's friendship officially ended after President Kennedy chose to stay at Bing Crosby's house instead of Frank's[[5]]. This all soured Sinatra's relationship with the Kennedy family, including Peter Lawford (as explained in the above sentence's source), and the Democratic Party, and by the late 1960s Sinatra had become a Republican and supporter of Richard Nixon, who became President in 1968.[14] Sinatra would lose his Nevada casino license in 1963 when Giancana was seen in the Cal-Neva Lodge casino at the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, of which Sinatra was a part owner.[15]

    [edit] High Hopes

    After the bleakness of the much lauded Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely Sinatra was back in the recording studio to cut a more buoyant album during December of 1958. The result was the multi-Grammy Award winning album Come Dance With Me. A dozen-track swing-set that boasted a jaunty re-recording of an old Columbia favorite Saturday Night - although now, instead of friends coming to "call" Sinatra was singing about friends coming to ball - along with up-beat versions of I Could Have Danced all Night, Baubles, Bangles and Beads and Dancing in the Dark. A massive success, the album's title-track would win Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 1960 Grammy Awards, whilst the album itself would be named Album of the Year -- on Billboard, Come Dance With Me would peak at #2 during a 140 week chart-run... in the UK it would reach the same position during a 30 week stay.

    In 1959 Sinatra would act in his third war film, Never So Few. Based on the novel by Tom T. Chamales about U.S. Soldiers and guerrillas fighting the Japanese in Burma during World War II. Steve McQueen was hired after Sammy Davis, Jr. was dropped from the film after a falling out with Sinatra. Sinatra's last film of the decade would bring Frank Capra out of semi-retirement to direct what would be his penultimate film, A Hole In the Head.

    On televison, the first Frank Sinatra Timex Special was broadcast on ABC in October of 1959. Featuring Mitzi Gaynor, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby, positive reviews and good ratings helped ABC capitalise on their investment in Sinatra. The second special, The Frank Sinatra Timex Special: An Afternoon With Frank Sinatra was set to be taped in the Palm Springs desert but heavy rainfall forced the show back onto a soundstage and a hasty script re-write. Guest stars on the show were Juliet Prowse, Peter Lawford, The Hi-Lo's and Ella Fitzgerald.

    Between 1955 and 1959, Sinatra spent more weeks than anyone else on Billboard's album chart - 450 weeks in total - reaching the top-ten no less than 14 times. 10 of his singles reached the top-twenty on Billboard. In the U.K. Sinatra was just as successful, reaching the album top-ten fourteen times between 1956 and 1959, scoring four number ones in the process. Songs For Swingin' Lovers (1956) proved so popular that its sales registered on the singles chart, becoming the only album to rank among the U.K.'s top-twenty singles as well as becoming the first U.K. number one album on July 28, 1956.

    [edit] 1960s

    [edit] Reprise

    Sinatra would start the sixties as he ended the fifties, his first album of the decade, Nice 'n' Easy, topping Billboard's album chart and winning critical plaudits en masse, this, despite Sinatra growing discontented at Capitol Records and having decided to form his own label, Reprise Records. His first album on the label, Ring a Ding Ding (1961), was a major success peaking at #4 on Billboard and #8 in the UK. During this time, Sinatra was highly prolific on the album charts, placing 8 albums among Billboard's top ten over the course of 1960 and 1961 alone, a feat repeated in the UK.

    The Frank Sinatra Timex Special: Here's to the Ladies was a Valentines Day special in February 1960 and featured an appearance by Eleanor Roosvelt, who recited the lyrics to High Hopes whilst Lena Horne sang with Sinatra and Juliet Prowse guest starred for a second time. Sinatra's fourth - and final - Timex special was broadcast the following March and secured massive viewing figures. Titled It's Nice to Go Travelling the show is more commonly known as Welcome Home Elvis having featured Elvis Presley on his first TV appearance in three years.

    On May 29, 1960, Sinatra was in Tokyo to play his first shows in Japan, where he was extremely popular and would return several times over the coming decades, giving his final public performances at the Fukuoka Dome in 1994.

    Sinatra's first [released] movie of the 1960s was the all-star vehicle Can-Can. Featuring Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier, Shirley MacLaine and Juliet Prowse, the film was a major commercial success - especially after Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev visited the set in September of 1959, and lambasted the production as being an example of "western decadence" - whilst the accompanying album won the Grammy Award for Best Motion Picture Soundtrack at the 1960s awards.

    Following hot on the heels of Can Can was Ocean's 11, the film that would become the definitive on-screen outing for 'The Rat Pack'. A major success commercially, if hardly an artistic triumph, Ocean's 11 was the ninth most successful film of 1960, with over $5.5 million taken in domestic rentals.

    On January 27, 1961, Sinatra played a benefit show at Carnegie Hall for Martin Luther King, Jr. and would go on to play a major role in the desegregation of Nevada hotels and casinos in the 1960s. Sinatra led his fellow members of the Rat Pack and label-mates on Reprise in refusing to patronize hotels and casinos that wouldn't allow black singers to play live or wouldn't allow black patrons. Sinatra would often speak from the stage on desegragation.

    Later in the year, he returned to Australia for a series of shows at Sydney Stadium. As a live performer, Sinatra was far traveled, and, in April 1962, he embarked on a self-financed world tour to raise money for various children's charities. Concerts in China, Israel, Greece, Italy, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Tel Aviv and Japan raised in excess of one million dollars for various benefits. In Japan, Sinatra was presented with the key to Tokyo, the first time this honour had been bestowed upon a non-Japanese civilian.

    The only Sinatra picture released in 1961 was the disaster movie The Devil at Four O'Clock, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Sinatra would co-star with Spencer Tracy, who said of Sinatra, "Nobody at 'Metro' (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) ever had the power that Sinatra has today."

    In 1961 Sinatra would record a salute to former boss Tommy Dorsey in the form of the album I Remember Tommy. Here, Sinatra revisited several songs that he made standards with the Dorsey Band during the 1940s, with Sy Oliver providing new arrangements that were in tune with where Sinatra was musically at this time, but harked back to his heyday with Dorsey. With over 200,000 advance orders, I Remember Tommy would peak at #3 on Billboard.

    Over September 11th and 12th, 1961, Sinatra would record his final songs for Capitol Records. Quite aptly, these recordings would be arranged by Sinatra's former Columbia Records arranger Axel Stordahl. Harking to the past before moving forward, the title of the album would be Point of No Return - recordings of Noel Coward's "I'll See You Again" and Eubie Blake's "Memories of You" brought out the best in both Sinatra and Stordahl, whilst re-recordings of I'll Be Seeing You and These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) referenced Sinatra's halcyon days at Columbia on an album that peaked at #19 on Billboard's album chart.

    [edit] The Reprise Musical Repertory Theatre

    In 1962, Sinatra and Count Basie collaborated for the album Sinatra-Basie. This popular and successful release would prompt them to rejoin two years later for a follow-up It Might As Well Be Swing, which was arranged by Quincy Jones. One of Sinatra's more ambitious albums from the mid-sixties was The Concert Sinatra, which was recorded with a 73-piece symphony orchestra on 35 mm tape. Arguably the most lavish album of his career, The Concert Sinatra wasn't a live recording, but a studio album that found Sinatra recording five Rogers and Hammerstein and two Rogers and Hart compositions among the eight cuts, all of which were arranged by Nelson Riddle. On the album sleeve, it was suggested that this album was a "new achievement of artistic purity and control." It peaked at #6 on Billboard's album chart and #8 in the U.K.

    As Reprise Records flourished and Sinatra's artistic vision widened further, not to mention his commercial success remaining at a peak without falter for almost a decade solid by this time, he embarked upon a project that would boast the talent of the record label he started and owned: The Reprise Musical Repertory Theatre. Produced by Sinatra himself, complete scores from four lauded Broadway musicals were commissioned and a wealth of talent established to record. Weilding the baton was veteran Hollywood conductor Morriss Stoloff and the arrangements done by Sinatra stalwarts Billy May and Nelson Riddle. Sinatra, featuring only when and where appropriate would sing alongside Dean Martin, Debbie Reynolds, The Maguire Sisters, Jo Stafford, Clark Dennis, Rosemary Clooney, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dinah Shore and Bing Crosby on scores from Kiss Me Kate, Finian's Rainbow, South Pacific and Guys and Dolls, the latter featuring Sinatra's classic recording of Luck Be a Lady.

    [edit] The Manchurian Candidate

    Frank Sinatra as Maj. Bennett Marco in The Manchurian Candidate, 1962.In 1962, Sinatra resumed his strong film work in John Frankenheimer's classic thriller The Manchurian Candidate. Here, Sinatra gave one of his finest acting performances, playing the disturbed Major Bennett Marco, whose recurring nightmares about events during the Korean War lead him on a quest to find the meaning behind what's going on in his mind. Widely hailed as a masterpiece, The Manchurian Candidate featured career-best performances from both Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury, in a film with dark comic undertones, shades of noir and a cutting satirical edge that made it one of the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Films. But this was a film that struggled to make it to the screen, its complex plot and themes of cold war paranoia, spies and presidential assassination was strong enough to leave the head of United Artists, Arthur Krim, perplexed about its content and what the public reaction would be. Sinatra, who had a distribution deal with UA, personally approached John F. Kennedy to ask approval of its production. Kennedy, a fan of the novel on which the film was based, eagerly agreed that the film should be made. Sinatra would later comment on "A wonderful, wonderful experience of my life... It only happens once in a performer's life. Once."

    [edit] Directorial Debut and Sinatra at the Sands

    In 1963, Sinatra hosted the Academy Awards ceremony, whilst returning to the big screen in the first filmed adaptation of a Neil Simon play, Come Blow Your Horn, which was a massive success, grossing almost $13 million in America alone and garnering Sinatra a Golden Globe nomination in the process. Sinatra also worked briefly with John Huston and a host of stars such as Robert Mitchum, Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and George C. Scott in the cameo-laden mystery-thriller The List of Adrian Messenger. For a few minutes screen-time under disguise Sinatra was paid $75,000.

    Released in 1963 was the LP Sinatra's Sinatra, an album that conisted of remakes of songs recorded at Columbia and Capitol during the forties and fifties. This was an attempt by Sinatra to offer current versions of the same songs on his own label, where it was hoped this album would sell in spite of the previous versions. The end result was positive, with charming updates of Nancy (With the Laughing Face) and a gently swinging version of In the Wee Small Hours. Sinatra's Sinatra reached #9 on Billboard and on the UK album chart.

    A reunion with the Rat Pack in Robert Aldrich's 4 For Texas would also prove lucrative, but this would be the Clan's penultimate on-screen outing, their final (full) picture together coming the following year in the shape of a prohibition-era take on the legend of Robin Hood, Robin and the Seven Hoods. Complete with a grade-A cast, including Peter Falk, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bing Crosby and an un-billed cameo by Edward G. Robinson, Robin and the Seven Hoods would earn respectable reviews and a box office rentals of $4.5 million.

  • 1 decade ago

    It was in the late 80's... maybe early 90's he went to desert hospital in Palm Springs and had a nerve fixed in the back of his hand. I only know this because my mother was the nurse assisting on the surgery.. I begged her for one of the "sponges" (gauze pads) from the surgery for my scrap book.... lol

    She told me I was morbid. Wife Nancy signed him in and out.

  • 1 decade ago

    i think this lady said enough for us all.....i can say that he was an attractive man and drove the ladies crazy!

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