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The World of Frank Sinatra

by Jim Allen

The World of Frank Sinatra


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When Francis Albert Sinatra came into the world on December 12, 1915, no one could have begun to imagine how the skinny kid from Hoboken, N.J., would change the world of music forever. In the early '40s, with the Tommy Dorsey band and on his own, Sinatra was one of pop's first real sex symbols, literally making teenage girls swoon with his crooning. But he wasn't just a pinup boy. He was the most masterful, innovative pop vocalist of the 20th century, putting an unprecedented amount of both passion and artfulness into his performances by bringing a jazz-schooled sensibility to the popular songbook of the day. Before the '50s were over, he had not only redefined "swing," he had also perfected an intensely emotive, elegantly orchestrated brand of torch song on his string of seminal concept albums.

Sinatra himself was inspired by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to cabaret queen Mabel Mercer, and in his own career he collaborated with a broad array of artists including Count Basie, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and of course, his notorious Rat Pack (Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, et al), with whom his large-living persona became a kind of American ideal. Almost from the beginning, there were Sinatra disciples, and each generation continues to offer up a few, be it Bobby Darin, Jack Jones, Harry Connick, Jr., or Michael Buble. It's all part of the Sinatra continuum covered here; remember, it's still Frank's world -- we're all just living in it.

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