* BIRTH (1915)
Francis Albert Sinatra, (Frank Sinatra) as his mother Dolly named him, was of Sicilian, Italian heritage, and was born on December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey. The birth delivery, a complicated one, required forceps, causing permanent scarring on the side of his face, and puncturing his eardrum.
* HIGH SCHOOL
As far as his high school days go, he only had 47 of them. The reason, being that he was expelled for rowdy behavior, and invited not to return.
* 1ST BIG BREAK (1935)
Sinatra scored his first big break in 1935 when he and a local trio, “The Three Flashes”, auditioned separately for an appearance on the “Major Bowes and His Original Amateur Hour Show”. Both were accepted, and were convinced to join forces, forming the “Hoboken Four” singing group. They won the weekly contest and Frank had the experience of touring around the country for the next three months with the group before returning home to try his hand at a solo career.
* BIG BAND SINGER & RECORDING ARTIST: (1939 – 1942)
He then spent his early twenties working as a singing waiter, and was discovered by Harry James in June of 1939. He signed a one year contract with his band, but left in November of that year to join Tommy Dorsey’s hugely popular orchestra. It was with the Dorsey Band that he began his recording career on RCA Records, and had his first #1 hit “I’ll Never Smile Again”.
* SOLO RECORDING ARTIST: (1942 – 1993)
The young Sinatra then left Dorsey in 1942, and officially launched his solo singing career the following year when he signed with Columbia Records, where he found unprecedented success as the idol of “Bobby Soxers” beginning with the release of his first album “The Voice of Frank Sinatra”. This album reached the number one position on the charts.
*1ST FILM CONTRACT: (1945)
Soon after joining Columbia Records, he was signed to Warner Brothers Picture Studios, where his first lead role as an actor was alongside Gene Kelly (“Singing in the Rain”) in the 1945 film “Anchors Aweigh”, which was followed by “On The Town”, and “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”. They costarred in all three of these popular song and dance movies, and Frank, showing a talent for dancing, worked hard with Kelly to do a good job with the choreography.
* SET BACK & COME BACK: (1950 – 1953)
Sinatra’s professional career stalled in the 50s’, during which he briefly lost his ability to sing after his vocal chords hemorrhaged during a performance on stage at The Copa in New York City. At the time, he was having a turbulent affair, which turned into a turbulent marriage with the actress and love of his life, Ava Gardner. Shortly after it ended, he brought his career back in 1953, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in The film “From Here to Eternity”.
* CAPITAL RECORDS YEARS: (1953 – 1961)
Signing with Capital Records that same year, he began to put out what most people believe to be his best albums, working predominantly with the brilliant Young arranger Nelson Riddle for the next eight years. Sinatra was responsible for being the first recording artist to come up with the “concept” album. Those records offered all swing tunes of a happy mood, or ballads of either all romantic songs, or all songs about love lost. Many of the best of those ballads written about sadness were called “saloon songs” because the scenes in the lyrics took place in that kind of environment. And for the record, Sinatra was known to have defined himself as a “saloon singer”.
* THE “RAT PACK” YEARS: (1960 – 1964)
It was also at this time that he decided to gather together some cronies for the purpose of having fun on stage at the Sands Hotel, where he had contractually agreed (for a small percentage of the ownership) to perform there exclusively whenever he was in Las Vegas. Although the boys liked to refer to themselves as “The Summit”, the tag that appealed to people (and still does) was “The Rat Pack”, which included FS himself as leader, along with Dean, Sammy, the actor Peter Lawford (because of his family ties to the Kennedy family), and comedian Joey Bishop, who wrote the monologue for the show. For the four years they were together on stage, it was the top act in Las Vegas.
* REPRISE RECORDS: (1961 – 1993)
With the increasing popularity of Rock N’ Roll, Sinatra founded his own label, Reprise Records, in 1961 in order to have more control over what song material he recorded. He would stay with his company for the next thirty two years, making many more Grammy award winning albums and singles, as well as signing Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and a variety of other successful artists along the way.