Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12: "Ol' Blue Eyes," Frank Sinatra was born on this day in 1915 ...

... he died on May 14, 1998.

Francis Albert Sinatra began his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. He became a successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, being the idol of the "bobby-soxers."

In November 1939, in a meeting at the Palmer House in Chicago, Sinatra was asked by bandleader Tommy Dorsey to join his band as a replacement for Jack Leonard, who had recently left to launch a solo career. This meeting was a turning point in Sinatra's career, since by signing with Dorsey's band, one of the hottest bands at the time, he got greatly increased visibility with the American public.

Though Sinatra was still under contract with James, James recognized the opportunity Dorsey offered and graciously released Sinatra from his contract. Sinatra recognized his debt to James throughout his life and upon hearing of James' death in 1983, stated: "he [James] is the one that made it all possible."

On January 26, 1940, Sinatra made his first public appearance with the Dorsey band at the Coronado Theater in Rockford, Illinois.

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HIGHLY Recommended (Press album covers for direct links to Amazon):

Frank Sinatra: Concert CollectionFrank: The VoiceFrank Sinatra Christmas CollectionSinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings

His professional career stalled by the 1950s, but it was reborn in 1954 after he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in From Here to Eternity.
He signed with Capitol Records and released several popular albums, including  In the Wee Small Hours, Songs for Swingin' Lovers, Come Fly with Me, Only the Lonely and Nice 'n' Easy. Sinatra left Capitol to found his own record label, Reprise Records which produced a string of successful albums including Ring-A-Ding-Ding, Sinatra at the Sands and Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Frank toured across the world, was a founding member of the "Rat Pack" (which included Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Shirley MacLaine and fraternized with celebrities and statesmen, including John F. Kennedy.

When Sinatra turned 50 in 1965, he recorded the retrospective September of My Years, starred in the Emmy-winning television special Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music," and scored hits with "Strangers in the Night" and "My Way."

With sales of his music dwindling and after appearing in several poorly received films, Sinatra retired for the first time in 1971. Two years later, however, he came out of retirement and in 1973 recorded several albums, scored a Top 40 hit with "(Theme From) New York, New York" in 1980. He toured extensively, used his Las Vegas shows as a home base, until a short time before his death in 1998.

Sinatra also had a successful career as a film actor, besides winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in From Here to Eternity, he was a nominee for Best Actor for The Man with the Golden Arm, and critical acclaim for his performance in The Manchurian Candidate. Other movies he starred in included Some Came Running (with Dean Martin and Shirley McClaine), and High Hopes.

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Sinatra also starred in such musicals as High Society, Pal Joey, Guys and Dolls and On the Town.

Frank was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1983 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1985 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Sinatra was also the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Trustees Award, Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

More than 20 years after his death, Frank Sinatra remains one of the most popular entertainers of all time.


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