The song said he did it “His Way”. . . and at the end of his life, it certainly appeared that he had. But upon deeper reflection, Frank’s life was like any other life in that it had highs and lows, except his were much higher and much lower.
In the early 1940s, the teenagers of that day screamed whenever Sinatra came on stage to sing. Much like they did for the Beatles in the 60s, and the way they do now for One Direction or any other popular artist.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Frank had a career slump. The teenagers who worshipped him had grown up, gotten married and were not screaming for teen idols. The music industry was changing and Frank, for a short period of time, lost “his way”. He was married to gorgeous Ava Gardner at that point. Her career was at its peak. This was a tumultuous time for Frank personally, and for Frank and Ava as a couple. But fate stepped in. Their marriage wasn’t destined to last, but Ava helped him secure one of the best parts of his career, that of Maggio in From Here To Eternity, for which he won the Academy Award. I, personally, felt that Ava “done him wrong” and his torch songs reflected this. But then again, Frank could sing a torch song like no other. The song that always reminded me of Ava is I’m A Fool To Want You.
After Frank’s Academy Award, his ascent to the top was steady. There was no stopping this performer who could sing, act and even dance.
I grew up when Frank was at his “coolest”. He was the leader of The Rat Pack. He, Dean, Sammy, Peter and Joey did it all their way and had so much fun. Frank’s records were selling again and he was at the pinnacle, and somehow he managed to stay there for the rest of his career. Oh, he retired for a couple of years in the middle, but then he made such a splash about his comeback (think Old Blue Eyes comes back), you had to wonder if it wasn’t all planned. I don’t think it was. Frank was a Sagittarius. He thought instinctively and reacted on those thoughts. He wanted to quit and so he did. But he could never stay away, and on some level the public wouldn’t let him. His voice stayed strong throughout his career and his music was wonderful.
I was in college and my roommate had one of the few stereos in the dorm. Her two favorites were Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra. So, my Friday with Frank in high school, became Frank whenever I wanted to listen to him. It stayed that way my whole life.
December, 2015 will mark the 100th birthday of this incredible performer who not only sang, but danced with Gene Kelly and gave tremendous dramatic performances as an actor. On Sunday, May 3rd, at 3pm Eastern / 12pm Pacific time, Movies Broadway Singers and Beyond will pay tribute to this musical icon.
Frank, this is a love letter from my whole family. My husband and I love you and your music. My father and mother loved you too. So, from my family to your family, thank you for the memories and the music.