Writer: Judy Dick
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra - 1915 – 1998
On the 12th December 1915 a tiny Sagittarius with a perforated eardrum entered the American realm with a set of lungs that would later give him rise as one of the greatest singers of the twentieth century. Born to Anthony Sinatra, a New York fireman and Natalie (Dolly) Garavanta, a baby boy under the symbol of the archer would grow to attain a certain tenacity that would lead him toward audacious goals that held him captive until he conquered them. His aims remained high until at the age of 26 following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour he was pronounced unfit to join the armed services during World War II when he went to enlist.
Not to be denied and having already tasted limited success as a member of a singing group named The Three Flashes, one of their first gigs was at the Hoboken Union Club where they were approached by Edward “Major” Bowes who heard great potential and asked Sinatra to perform in several of his promotional films he was conducting called 'Amateur Hour'. That opportunity became the chain linking many more as Sinatra sang in, and won first prize in a talent contest which led to a national tour. After the tour, Sinatra became a singing waiter for $15 per week at a small, though well known venue called the Rustic Cabin. The cabin had a telephone wired to the New York radio station WNEW. That opportunity was the crucial move he needed to get his wheels turning.
1940 rounded the corner and a skinny, not very tall, big eared kid with a captivating voice had his sights on capsizing the reign of Bing Crosby, a seductive crooner. First however, he needed to emulate the style and talent of a man whom he idolized; the trombone playing Tommy Dorsey. Both men with an equally ambitious aim to reign had the young Sinatra eventually going solo having learned all he needed about Dorsey; without pausing for another look over his shoulder.
With a voice that was still maturing and would continue to tempt and attract many who would emulate Sinatra long after his death, there wasn't another being on the planet who could woo the breath out of an audience. He had an indescribable voice that expressed what was in his heart and he delivered it effortlessly from his soul.
The night he toppled Crosby was the night Sinatra knew in his gut he would truly succeed. His new wife Nancy was not even privileged to the altitude of her husband's arrogance which had been borne from having struggled to gain the fundamentals of success. He was tired of singing for pennies in Irish and Italian social clubs, tired of being 'Just what we need for the next commercial'. He was a great vocalist and he inherently knew it.
Sinatra became known as “The Voice” and he capitalized on it. Yet although he had a voluptuous mouth and sapphire blue eyes, he had a way of charming others to beat people up for him in shameful acts of bullying. Perhaps it was his way of smothering the demons within for he also possessed an underlying fear of humiliation. With a volatile temper that would trip sporadically and open the gates for drinking sessions that would dilute the 'red' he often saw, Sinatra never lost sight of the bigger picture. He never lost sight of what he set out to achieve.
With a voice that smouldered like melting satin, he was not an operatic tenor with a huge undefinable ego but a man whose soulful address and respect for music remained unequalled until his death on 14th May 1998.