Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Band 4: Frank Sinatra, Part 1 of 2.

Ol' Frankie... You've lead quite a life, haven't you? A career spanning 60 years, recording a total of 272 songs between 1952 and 1963, not including the 5 albums done between 1940-1942, singing for Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra. I personally have no clue how many songs or albums he did before he became famous. Sorry for the letdown, folks.

There's a lot to cover, so please forgive me if I miss anything.

Born to Italian immigrants Natalie Della and Antonio Martino Sinatra in 1915, Francis grew up in Hoboken, NJ. 47 days after starting high school, he was expelled for "rowdy conduct" (pfft), and singing loudly when not supposed to. I find it funny how that insinuates there was a time in school with the sole purpose of loud singing.

Growing up in the great depression, his mother always had steady pocket cash for outings, whether they be with friends or family, and could even afford fancy clothes. This was probably because she ran an illegal abortion clinic out of their house, a crime for which she was arrested several times, and convicted twice.

Onto his career, his very first record was released in July of 1939, singing for the Harry James band. His one year contract payed $75 a week. The album, titled "From The Bottom of My Heart", sold only 8,000 copies, making it a hard/rare find for collectors. And in November of that year, he was asked by none other than Tommy Dorsey himself to replace Jack Leonard. This meeting sent his career sky-high, being signed with one of the hottest bands of the time.

They made their first public appearance in Illinois in 1940, and in their first year of recording, they already released over 40 songs, with "I'll Never Smile Again" topping the charts for 12 weeks. Personally, I liked "Whispering" and "The Sky Fell Down" better.

Jump ahead 10 years, to 1950. With the rebirth of his career, having stalled in 1948. This revival was brought on by co-starring in a film titled "From Here to Eternity" in 1953, a movie for which he won the Academy Award for "Best Supporting Actor". In the time of 1950 to 1960, Sinatra starred in a 25 episode radio series "Rocky Fortune", signed to Capitol Records, reinventing himself, and showing a darker, more emotional side in the 6 albums released that year,  "Swing Easy!" in 1954, "In The Wee Small Hours", in 1955, "Songs for Swingin' Lovers", in 1956, "Where Are You?" and "Come Fly With Me", both released in 1957. "Swing Easy" was named Album of The Year upon its release.

Jump ahead another 10 years to 1970. In the decade, Sinatra grew tired of Capitol records, and started his own record label, Reprise Records. His first album in the label, "Ring-A-Ding-Ding" became a widely known success, peaking at #4 on Billboard charts. On September 11th and 12th of 1961, he recorded his final songs for Capitol Records, ending his contract. He starred in the original movie Ocean's 11, starring Frankie himself, Sammy Davis Junior, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. The feature film will forever be known as the original screen outing of the Rat Pack.

And on that note, I bid you farewell, and I'll write and post Part 2 tomorrow evening. Goodnight, everybody.

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