SINATRA, Frank: The Early Years, Vol. 2

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The Early Years, Vol. 2: 1939-1945

Hailed inmany quarters as Bing Crosby's natural successor, Sinatra became a major\voice" in popular culture during the latter half of the 20th century. As wehave frequently been reminded, he had a consistently searching way with lyrics:quite apart from the obvious male magnetism of his performance, the colour ofwords themselves and the rhythmic pulse of the music were always paramount tohim. Having early won idol status he had also, by the late 1940s, become theworld's most popular crooning sex-symbol; and as his histrionic developmentfrom average-to-mediocre screen actor in musicals progressed in the 1950s topolished leads in award-winning epics, the image of 'Swoonlight Sinatra', thestereotypical image of a lean-and-hungry girls' pin-up, took second place tohis now-legendary verbal impact.

FrancisAlbert Sinatra was born into a poor, immigrant, part-Italian, part-Sicilianfamily at 415, Monroe Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, on 12th December 1915. During1931 he briefly attended Hoboken Junior High School before being expelled forrowdy behaviour. Unsuited to further education, he took to working for a livinginstead, initially in various menial occupations, but at weekends sang withItalian and Irish musical groups at gigs and school dances. He joined The ThreeFlashes which, augmented to The Hoboken Four, in late 1935 won a Radio Citytalent contest and signed for a nationwide tour at $50 per week. From 1936onwards Frank doubled as a journalist while singing and MC-ing at the RusticCabin on Route 9-W, Alpine, New Jersey. He was already regularly featured onradio (albeit still not widely known) when he was "discovered" bytrumpeter-bandleader Harry James (1916-1983).

Frankjoined James as vocalist with his newly-formed Roseland Ballroom outfit inPhiladelphia in June 1939. An instant hit with female audiences, with James herecorded many popular numbers, including "All Or Nothing At All" (a 1939 Jack Lawrence-Arthur Altman songwhich provided Sinatra with his first solo US No.1 and first Golden Disc afterit was resurrected in 1943) and "Ciribiribin"(originally a vocal showpiece of 1898 by one Alberto Pestalozza andrevived by soprano Grace Moore in her 1934 film One Night Of Love, this tune was later adopted by James as asignature-tune).

InJanuary 1940 Frank left the James orchestra for that of his youthful idol TommyDorsey (1905-1956). During his sojourn with Dorsey (until mid-1942) he recordedmany hits, often sharing credits with Jo Stafford and The Pied Pipers. Severalof these were key songs of World War 2, including Ruth Lowe's "I'll Never SmileAgain" (a millionselling song and another Sinatra No.1), Sammy Fain's "I'll BeSeeing You" and Fools Rush In (a1940-vintage Rube Bloom-Johnny Mercer 'occasional' which charted at No.12).

During1943 (the year which brought him his first starring screen role, oppositeMichele Morgan in RKO's Higher And Higher),Sinatra also starred in the coast-to-coast radio show Your Hit Parade, made his Manhattan nightclub debut, sang for thefirst time at the Hollywood Bowl and extended his solo recording contract withColumbia Records. Owing to the American musicians' union recording ban, thesesides lack orchestral backing. However Sinatra's US No.2 account of "You'll Never Know" (the Mack Gordon-Harry Warren Academy Award winner from the 1943 Alice Faye film-musical Hello, Frisco, Hello) and "Sunday, Monday Or Always" (a US No.9version of a Jimmy Van Heusen-Johnny Burke song from Bing Crosby's film Dixie) benefit from the atmosphericchoral backing of The Bobby Tucker Singers.

Theprevious year, immediately after leaving Dorsey, Sinatra had begun a long andfruitful association with conductor-arranger Axel Stordahl (1913-1963). Theircollaboration, which spanned the rest of the decade, produced many gems. Headedby three No.1s ("Oh, What It Seemed To Be", "Five Minutes More" and"Mam'selle") the extensive list of their successes offers the AcademyAward-winning "I Fall In Love TooEasily" (classic Sinatra, courtesy of Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, fromhis 1945 MGM vehicle Anchors Aweigh!, a film which co-starred Gene Kelly- he dances with a cartoon mouse! - and Kathryn Grayson) in addition to variousrevivals, including the 1928 Richard A. Whiting best-seller "She's Funny That Way" and JeromeKern's "The Song Is You" (fromthe 1932 musical Music In The Air)and "You'll Never Walk Alone", acontemporary hit from Richard Rodgers' Carouselwhich, through football and other everyday associations, has sinceacquired the status of a popular anthem.

PeterDempsey, 2002

1. ALL ORNOTHING AT ALL (Jack Lawrence-Arthur Altman)

WithHarry James & His Orchestra

(ColumbiaCO 25288) Recorded September 1939, New York 3:02


CIRIBIRIBIN (Alberto Pestalozza, arr. Harry James)

WithHarry James & His Orchestra

(ColumbiaLA 2046-A) Recorded November 1939, Los Angeles 2:26

3. HERECOMES THE NIGHT (Frank Loesser-Edelstein-Hohengarten)

WithHarry James & His Orchestra

(ColumbiaCO 25285) Recorded September 1939, New York 2:53

4. FROM THEBOTTOM OF MY HEART (Hays-Gibson-Berk-Harry James)

WithHarry James & His Orchestra

(ColumbiaB 25057) Recorded July 1939, New York 3:18


WHISPERING (John & Malvin Schonberger)

WithTommy Dorsey & His Orchestra and The Pied Pipers

(VictorBS 051279) Recorded June 1940, New York 3:00

6. FOOLSRUSH IN (Johnny Mercer-Rube Bloom)

WithTommy Dorsey & His Orchestra

(VictorBS 048480) Recorded March 1940, New York 3:13/p>

7. HEARMY SONG, VIOLETTA (Lukesch-Klose-Harry Pepper)

WithTommy Dorsey & His Orchestra

(VictorBS 048479) Recorded March 1940, New York 2:55

8. EASTOF THE SUN (Brooks Bowman)

WithTommy Dorsey & His Orchestra

(VictorBS 048939) Recorded April 1940, New York 3:20


WithTommy Dorsey & His Orchestra

(VictorBS 048941) Recorded April 1940, New York 2:30

10. THESONG IS YOU (Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II)

With AxelStordahl's Orchestra

(Bluebird11515-B) Recorded July 1942, New York 3:25

11. THELAMPLIGHTER'S SERENADE (Hoagy Carmichael-Paul Francis Webster)

With AxelStordahl's Orchestra

(Bluebird11515-A) Recorded July 1942, New York 2:57


With AxelStordahl's Orchestra

(ColumbiaHCO 1184) Recorded December 1944, Hollywood 2:57

13. SHE'SFUNNY THAT WAY (Neil Moret-Richard A. Whiting)

With AxelStordahl's Orchestra

(ColumbiaHCO 1186) Recorded December 1944, Hollywood 3:25


YOU'LL NEVER KNOW (Harry Warren-Mack Gordon)

With TheBobby Tucker Singers

(ColumbiaCO 33251) Recorded March 1943, New York 3:03


SUNDAY, MONDAY OR ALWAYS (Jimmy Van Heusen-Johnny Burke)

With TheBobby Tucker Singers

(ColumbiaCO 33268) Recorded April 1943, New York 3:17

16. IBEGGED HER (Jule Styne-Samm
Disc: 1
You'll Never Walk Alone
1 All Or Nothing At All
2 Ciribiribin
3 Here Comes The Night
4 From The Bottom Of My Heart
5 Whispering
6 Fools Rush In
7 Hear My Song, Violetta
8 East Of The Sun
9 It's A Lovely Day Tomorrow
10 The Song Is You
11 The Lamplighter's Serenade
12 When Your Lover Has Gone
13 She's Funny That Way
14 You'll Never Know
15 Sunday, Monday Or Always
16 I Begged Her
17 What Makes The Sunset?
18 I Fall In Love Too Easily
19 The Charm Of You
20 You'll Never Walk Alone
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