Frank Sinatra Essay, Research Paper
Howard Cosell, a legendary commentator, spoke words about this legendary man that more or less sums up his legendary career. He said “Frank Sinatra, who has the phrasing, who has the control, who understands the composers, who knows what losing means as so many have, who made the great comeback, who stands still, enduringly, on top of the entertainment world. Ladies and gentlemen, from here on in it’s Frank Sinatra!” Frank Sinatra, the only singer in history to have hit records in five consecutive decades, led a lot more distinctive life than people were led to believe.
It all began December 12, 1915, when a boy named Francis Albert Sinatra was brought into the world. He was the son of Dolly and Anthony Sinatra, a pair of Italian immigrants. He was born and raised in Hoboken, New Jersey where he spent his teenage years unloading trucks for the Jersey Observer newspaper. He then became a copy boy where he found a passion to strive for, journalism. However, the editor at the newspaper said, “copy boys don’t know enough to be reporters.” So, Sinatra went to secretarial school. He studied English, typing, and shorthand. The newspaper’s editor eventually promoted him to cub sports reporter
After achieving his goal to be a journalist, Frank had another passion to strive for, singing. In his spare time, Sinatra appeared in on Major Bowes Amateur Hour, which was a popular radio talent show back in the day. Frank had never been taught to sing he taught himself. He was a natural. So the head of the Major Bowes Amateur Hour promoted Frank. For $25 a week he sang, waited tables, was the master of ceremonies, and a comedian at The Rustic Cabin. In 1939 a man by the name of Harry James discovered Frank while visiting The Rustic Cabin. He immediately signed Frank to sing for his new swing band. After touring with Harry James, Frank started to sing for with Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra.
After recording more than 90 songs with them, Frank moved on. He then moved to the popular radio show The Lucky Strike Hit Parade, where he worked as the MC. Frankie was a hit! Everyone loved him. He was the first teen model the country had ever seen. Amazingly enough, he almost caused a near riot at New York’s Paramount Theater in 1944.He then signed a contract with Columbia Records in 1943 and left in 1952. So in 1953 he signed another contract with Capitol Records, where he recorded such albums as Swing Easy, Songs for Swinging Lovers, and Come Fly with me. But, In 1960 Frank decided to move to a new record company. This company was called Reprise Records, which Frank co-owned. Sinatra recorded exclusively there.
Over the Years, Frank did various concerts, several movies, and many special appearances. During the 50’s and early 60’s Sinatra remained the top seller in the album market. He worked with everyone from his early inspiration Bing Crosby to young rock stars such as Quincy Jones and Elvis Presley.
Besides from being an excellent singer, Frank could act. He starred in such films as The Man with the Golden Arm, Suddenly, and one of his greatest films Guys and Dolls. “MGM said he (Frank) was so skinny, he wouldn’t throw a shadow. I told them he would throw the biggest shadow Hollywood has ever seen”(George Sidney 2). And in 1953, Frank did just that. He won an Academy Award in Best Supporting Actor for the role of Maggio in movie From Here to Eternity.
In 1939, Frank fulfilled one of his lifelong dreams; he married his childhood sweetheart Nancy Barbato. He had three kids: Nancy Sandra, Franklin Wayne Emmanuel (Frank Jr.), and Christina. However, in 1949, Frank divorced Nancy after ten years of marriage because of an affair involving Frank and Ava Gardner. This ran his career into a severe crisis. He was fired from his radio show, Columbia wanted him out, and six months later his New York concerts flopped! To make matters worse, he lost his voice do to vocal cord hemorrhage. Fortunate enough for Frank his voice problem was only temporary. He got his career going again by resuming his recording career and appearing in motion pictures again.
Frank then joined a legendary group known as the “Rat Pack.”
It included Frank, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. The group performed together in Las Vegas in the 1950s and co-starred in several movies, including Ocean’s Eleven, Sergeants Three, and Robin and the Seven Hoods. The Rat Pack first gained fame with their work for JFK’s presidential campaign. Sinatra and the others were big supporters of the campaign, doing publicity and photo shoots.
When you here the name Frank Sinatra most people think of the Mafia. Frank was first linked to the Mafia in 1947 in a column report that stated he was seen in Havana with mobster Lucky Luciano. Later, he was tied to both the Mafia “and” the Communists. The Committee on Un-American Activities said he followed some of the Communist Party line program. However, Sinatra denied any involvement with the Communists. Up to this point Sinatra was angry. In fact he was so angry he punched Hearst gossip columnist Lee Mortimer at Ciro’s, a Hollywood hot nightspot. The Hearst papers went nuts, running whole pages on this incident, and repeated stories on the Mafia/Communist charges. Sinatra, trying to come up with an excuse, said he punched Mortimer because the columnist called him a “dago”! Because of this whole fiasco, former president John F. Kennedy disowned Frank, which eventually turned this former democrat, into a strong republican.
For many years the FBI had been keeping an eye on Frank, and earlier this year they released some of those pages they had recorded on Sinatra. Some of the files were on such topics as The Rat Pack and prostitutes, Frank and the mob, and Affairs with numerous movie stars. Among the files, included a federal report on the plane crash that killed Sinatra’s mother, a report of a 1966 bomb threat against Sinatra in Miami Beach, and a 1969 death threat in which Sinatra
was given the option of a $2 million donation to the Vatican in return for his life.
Frank has many interesting facts about him that many people weren’t aware of. Many people don’t know that Frank did the singing swords voice in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Unlike the millions of men in America at this time, Frank eagerly wanted to serve in the military for WWII. However, because of a childhood street fight where Frank got hit in the ear by a bike chain, he has a punctured eardrum and was not able to join. Another interesting fact about Frank was that his first wife Nancy knit many of the bow ties Sinatra wore on his album covers. She encouraged Frank to wear them because she felt his Adam’s apple was too large. He was appropriately nicknamed ”the voice” because of his excellent singing ability. Many people don’t know that Frank made over 200 records and over 50 movies! Not bad for a singer whose part time job is an actor.
In 1971, Frankie called it quits. The King of Swing had retired. Most of his fans were bummed, but he reassured them that He would still return for some concerts and recordings but would keep mostly a low profile. Several years later, in 1983, Frank received the Kennedy Center honor for outstanding achievement in Musical Arts. Two years form that; Frank won another award, The Medal of Freedom. Former President Reagan, a long time friend of Frank, awarded him. In 1988-89, Sinatra teamed up with his old Rat Pack associates. Frank, Sammy, and Dean did a multi-city tour around the country.
Later in the 90’s Frank had success again. He made an album called “Duets,” and its Grammy winning sequel, “Duets II”, which combined singers like Bono and Streisand singing with Frank. His last performance was in concert in 1994 at age 78.
In 1997 Frank had a severe tragedy, a heart attack. It was the first heart attack Frank had ever had. For the next couple years Frank had not been seen in public. In 1998, Frank was back in the news. Unfortunately, it was about Frank’s Health. Sinatra had died of a heart attack at age 82 on May 14. The nation was astounded. This was the biggest music celebrity news since TuPac’s death. News channels everywhere interrupting their broadcasts for this special bulletin. The first teen idol that the country had ever seen was dead. The most ingenious singer the country had ever seen was dead. It was the second time the music had died. His life has touched the world and has forever changed the art of singing, as we know it.
William, Dean. “Sinatra, Frank.” Internet. March 14 2000. Available WWW.
Schoemer, Karen. “The Kid from Hoboken.” Newsweek. May 25 1998: 57.
“Sinatra, Frank.” Internet. March 14 2000. Available WWW.
Wilson, Jeff. “Sinatra outspoken”. Internet. March 14 2000. Available WWW
“Sinatra, Frank”. The World Book Encyclopedia. Volume 17 S-Sn.
World Book Inc. 93’.