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Profile: Frank Sinatra


American singer and actor Frank Sinatra c. 1935
MPI/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Claims to fame:


  • The greatest crooner of his generation, and arguably the greatest interpretive singer of all time
  • The biggest-selling album artist of the Fifties and the second-biggest of the Sixties
  • Head of the famous "Rat Pack" of entertainers and a Vegas institution
  • The first verifiable "teen idol," whose nation of "bobbysoxers" helped usher in the idea of "teenage culture" in America
  • Staged several comebacks and successfully reinvented himself as a torch singer
  • One of the most successful actor-singer hyphenates in American history
  • Highly influential in style, politics, and culture
  • A hero to New Jersey natives



Francis Albert Sinatra on December 12, 1915, Hoboken, NJ; died May 14, 1998, Los Angeles, CA


Big Band, Great American Songbook, Rat Pack, Torch Song, Lounge, Adult Contemporary, Easy Listening, Jazz Vocal, Pop Vocal

Early years:

Francis Albert Sinatra grew up an only child, the son of a fireman and a Democratic ward boss (who also served as the neighborhood's midwife/abortionist). Though well-loved, he was a terror in school, and dropped out early; at age 17 he decided to become a singer after seeing Bing Crosby perform, a decision which got him thrown out of his boyhood home. Nevertheless, his mother soon relented, helping him to get local gigs with a group later called the Hoboken Four and, later, as a singing waiter at a nearby resort. Bandleader Harry James' wife heard Frank sing as a waiter and recommended him to her husband.


The James gig got Sinatra noticed in the industry, and a handful of sides were waxed that got some recognition. But it was only when bandleader Tommy Dorsey bought out the contract with James that "Ol' Blue Eyes" became a star. By 1942, he was the most popular big-band vocalist in the land; when he became upset that his allowance from Dorsey didn't match his fame, he lit out for a solo stint on Columbia. It was here that Frank became the idol of "bobbysoxer" teenage fans everywhere, culminating in the "Columbus Day Riot" of 1944, when 35,000 teenage girls mobbed the New York Paramount to see him sing.

Later years:

Changing tastes and the rise of hard R&B and rock in the postwar years dimmed Sinatra's star somewhat, and a failed marriage to sultry actress Ava Gardner complicated matters. But Sinatra rebounded masterfully, reinventing himself as a singer of mature torch songs for adults, and he soon led the new LP field. His foray into acting was a commercial and critical success; by the early Sixties, he'd become a Vegas institution, performing and partying with his "Rat Pack" of multitalented performers. He made several comebacks from then through the early Eighties, and died of a heart attack in 1998 at the age of 82.

Frank Sinatra awards and honors:


  • Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame (1980)
  • Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Medal of Honor (1983)
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom (1985)
  • GRAMMY Awards (1959, 1965, 1966, 1995)
  • GRAMMY Hall of Fame (1982, 1984, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2008)
  • Academy Award (1954)
  • Emmy Awards (1955, 1966)
  • Peabody Award (1966)
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame: 1600 Vine St. (motion pictures), 1637 Vine St. (recording), 6538 Hollywood Blvd (television)
  • New Jersey Hall of Fame (2008)


Other Frank Sinatra facts and trivia:


  • Harry James once suggested Sinatra change his name to "Frankie Satin"
  • Once hired two goons from Hoboken to beat up his drummer, Buddy Rich
  • Tommy Dorsey claimed the Mafia threatened him in order to let Sinatra out of his contract, a story depicted (with name changes) in The Godfather
  • WNEW DJ William B. Williams gave Frank his nickname "Chairman of the Board"
  • Was the first to invent the "concept album"
  • A staunch opponent of racism, the singer received many awards from minority groups for his constant support
  • The Empire State Building was lit all in blue on Sinatra's 80th birthday in order to honor "Ol' Blue Eyes"


Major Frank Sinatra films:

"Anchors Aweigh" (1945), "On The Town" (1949), "Meet Danny Wilson" (1951), "From Here To Eternity" (1953), "The Man With The Golden Arm" (1955), "The Tender Trap" (1955), "Guys And Dolls" (1955), "Pal Joey" (1957), "Some Came Running" (1958), "A Hole In The Head" (1959), "Can-Can" (1960), "Ocean's Eleven" (1960), "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962), "Von Ryan's Express" (1965)

Covered by:

Harry Connick, Jr., Michael Buble, David Lee Roth, Soul Coughing, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Elvis Presley, Shirley Bassey, Engelbert Humperdinck, Robbie Williams, The Living End, Willie Nelson, Victoria Williams, William Shatner, U2, They Might Be Giants, The Toadies, Reel Big Fish, Nico, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cake, Robert Palmer

#1 Albums:

In the Wee Small Hours (1955)
Come Fly With Me (1958)
Frank Sinatra sings For Only The Lonely (1958)
Nice 'N' Easy (1960)
Strangers In The Night (1966)

Live At The Meadowlands (2009)
Seduction: Sinatra Sings Of Love (2009)

Top 10 Albums:

Our Town (1955)
Songs For Swingin' Lovers! (1956)
Close To You (1957)
Pal Joey (1957)
This Is Sinatra! (1957)
Where Are You? (1957)
A Swingin' Affair! (1957)
This Is Sinatra, Volume Two (1958)
Come Dance With Me! (1959)
Look To Your Heart (1959)
No One Cares (1959)
Can-Can (1960)
All The Way (1961)
Come Swing With Me! (1961)
I Remember Tommy... (1961)
Ring-A-Ding Ding! (1961)
Sinatra Swings (1961)
Sinatra's Swingin' Session!!! (1961)
Sinatra & Strings (1962)
Sinatra's Sinatra (1963)
Sinatra-Basie (1963)
The Concert Sinatra (1963)

Songs Of Christmas (1964)
Days Of Wine And Roses, Moon River, And Other Academy Award Winners (1964)
Sinatra '65 (1965)
September Of My Years (1966)
Sinatra At The Sands (1966)
A Man And His Music (1966)
That's Life (1967)
The Sinatra Family Wish You A Merry Christmas (1967)
Duets (1993)
Nothing But The Best (2008)

Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (1967)
L.A. Is My Lady (1984)
With Red Norvo Quintet: Live In Australia 1959 (1997)
Young Blue Eyes: Birth Of A Crooner (2004)
Voice In Time (1939-1952) (2004)
Christmas With Sinatra And Friends (2009)
Classic Sinatra II (2009)
Sinatra: New York (2009)

#1 Hits:

With Tommy Dorsey
"I'll Never Smile Again" (1940)
"Dolores" (1941)
"In The Blue Of Evening" (1942)
"There Are Such Things" (1942)

With Harry James
"All Or Nothing At All" (1943)

"Oh! What It Seemed To Be" (1946)
"Five Minutes More" (1946)
"Mam'selle" (1947)
"Learnin' The Blues" (1955)
"Strangers In The Night" (1966)
"Somethin' Stupid" with Nancy Sinatra (1967)

Adult Contemporary:
"It Was a Very Good Year" (1966)
"Strangers In The Night" (1966)
"Summer Wind" (1966)
"That's Life" (1966)

Top 10 Hits:

With Tommy Dorsey
"Imagination" (1940)
"You're Lonely And I'm Lonely" (1940)
"Trade Winds" (1940)
"Our Love Affair" (1940)
"We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me)" (1940)
"Stardust" (1940)
"Oh! Look At Me Now" (1941)
"Do I Worry?" (1941)
"Everything Happens To Me" (1941)
"Let's Get Away From It All (Parts 1 & 2)" (1941)
"This Love Of Mine" (1941)
"Two In Love" (1941)
"How About You?" (1942)
"Just As Though You Were Here" (1942)
"Take Me" (1942)
"It Started All Over Again" (1943)

"Close To You" (1943)
"You'll Never Know" (1943)
"Sunday, Monday Or Always" (1943)
"People Will Say We're In Love" (1943)
"I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night" (1944)
"White Christmas" (1944)
"Saturday Night (Is The Loneliest Night)" (1944)
"I Dream Of You" (1944)
"I Should Care" (1945)
"Dream" (1945)
"If I Loved You" (1945)
"You'll Never Walk Alone" (1945)
"Don't Forget Tonight Tomorrow" (1945)
"Nancy (With The Laughing Face)" (1945)
"Day By Day" (1946)
"All Through The Day" (1946)
"They Say It's Wonderful" (1946)
"The Coffee Song" (1946)
"The Things We Did Last Summer" (1946)
"September Song" (1946)
"That's How Much I Love You" (1947)
"I Believe" (1947)
"So Far" (1947)
"Nature Boy" (1948)
"Some Enchanted Evening" (1949)
"The Hucklebuck" (1949)
"Don't Cry Joe" (1949)
"Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy" (1950)
"Goodnight Irene" (1950)
"One Finger Melody" (1950)
"Castle Rock" (1951)
"I'm Walking Behind You" (1953)
"Young At Heart" (1954)
"Three Coins In The Fountain" (1954)
"Love And Marriage" (1955)
"Hey! Jealous Lover" (1956)
"That's Life" (1966)

Adult Contemporary:
"Softly, As I Leave You" (1964)
"Somewhere In Your Heart" (1965)
"Cycles" (1968)
"I Can't Believe I'm Losing You" (1968)
"My Way Of Life" (1968)
"My Way" (1969)
"Rain In My Heart" (1969)
"I Would Be In Love (Anyway)" (1970)
"I Believe I'm Gonna Love You" (1975)


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