Tommy Dorsey

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26-11-1940 One Night Stand With Tommy Dorsey

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:33+00:00 October 14th, 2015|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Published by Joyce Music, One Night Stand With Tommy Dorsey features 14 songs.

1940-11-26 Frank Sinatra One Night Stand with Tommy Dorsey

These songs are as following:

I Dream Of You
The Minor Goes A Muggin’
Milkman Keep Those Bottles Quiet
I Never Knew
So Little Time
Song Of India
Losers Weepers
The One I Love
Our Love Affair
Make Me Know It
Shadows On The Sand
Hawaiian War Chant
Funny Little Pedro
That’s How It Goes

The quality of the recordings are good, listenable and enjoyable. There are no flactuations in the quality during the songs.

Only Our Love Affair, Shadows On The Sand and That’s How It Goes were sung by Frank Sinatra that night.

1940-11-26 Frank Sinatra One Night Stand with Tommy Dorsey

Our Love Affair offers you excellent orchestration, and singing by Tommy Dorsey’s band and Frank Sinatra. Definitely a must to listen.

Shadows On The Sand, just like Our Love Affair, is top quality.

That’s How It Goes is simply the wrong key for Sinatra.

2 good songs out of 3 for a broadcast from 1940 is better than we can hope for. Happy listening.

 

(02,09,14)-03-1940 Sinatra College Concerts

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:33+00:00 October 14th, 2015|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Here is a collection of broadcasts recorded on March 2, March 9 and March 14 of 1940.

1940-03-02 Frank Sinatra Tommy Dorsey College Concerts

The song list is as follows:

After All
Polka Dots and Moonbeams
Deep Night
Whispering – Avalon – Japanese Sandman
Sky Fell Down
Isle Of May – Starlight Hour – It’s a Blue World
Fable Of The Rose
Marie
I’ll Get By – Talk Of The Town – If I Had You
A Lover Is Blue
Do I Love You – Careless – Say Si Si
Leaning On Old Top Rail – Starlight Hour – I Got My Eyes On You

The quality of the broadcast is listenable, but it is not very enjoyable. The quality of Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey Band at Meadowbrook is a little better than this one.

1940-03-02 Frank Sinatra Tommy Dorsey College Concerts Back

Now let’s talk about the songs that are worth mentioning.

Polka Dots and Moonbeams: Frank Sinatra delivers another amazing performance. I have not heard a single bad version of this song from Sinatra, just amazing.

Deep Night: This song actually fits Frank Sinatra perfectly with this tempo. Sinatra has great control over the song, especially when saying “come to my arms my darling”. The problem with this song is, sadly, The Pied Pipers. Without them, it would be perfect. The Columbia Records’ Deep Night can’t come close to this.

Fable Of The Rose: Can never go wrong with Fable Of The Rose with Sinatra, just like Polka Dots and Moonbeams.

If the sound quality was a little better, I could probably mention Sky Fell Down and I’ve Got My Eyes On You, as well but with this quality it wouldn’t be wise. If I could take only one song from this broadcast, it would be Deep Night.

24-02-1940 Frank Sinatra at Meadowbrook

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:33+00:00 October 14th, 2015|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On February 24 1940, Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra with Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford and The Pied Pipers had a live broadcast show at The Meadowbrook, New Jersey. It was a one-hour long broadcast on NBC Radio and they performed the following songs:

College Medley
A Lover Is Blue
Easy Does It
March of The Toys
What Can I Say Dear After I’ve Said I’m Sorry
I Know That You Know
Do I Love You
Careless
Say Si Si
Loser’s Weepers
I’ve Got My Eyes On You
Fraternity Medley
East Of The Sun
Melancholy Baby
Time On My Hands
I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
College Medley

1940-02-24 Frank Sinatra Tommy Dorsey Meadowbrook NJ

Firstly, let me say that the recordings are between listenable and good. It is highly understandable, but at certain tracks the quality decreases significantly at some intervals.

Frank Sinatra sang the songs A Lover Is Blue, Careless, I’ve Got My Eyes On You, East Of The Sun and Melancholy Baby during this program.

A Lover Is Blue was sang by Jack Leonard when he was in Tommy Dorsey band, too. Compared to Jack Leonard’s version, Frank Sinatra’s is smoother and more crooner-like. This is mostly due to characteristical differences between Leonard’s and Sinatra’s voice and emphasis. In this performance, the orchestra’s arrangement leads to easy-on-the-ears trombones as well, which keeps Sinatra and the band fit to each other.

1940-02-24 Frank Sinatra Tommy Dorsey Meadowbrook NJ

Careless is a rather OK performance. There are problems with the first parts of the song, but the finishing is fantastic. I would say, the first 2/3 of this song fits Allan Dewitt better, and the last 1/3 fits Frank Sinatra better. Not an easy song.

I’ve Got My Eyes On You starts with a good quality band arrangement, and is followed by a very correct and proper performance of Frank Sinatra. Absolutely worth a try.

East Of The Sun, which we know very well from Frank Sinatra’s recordings with Tommy Dorsey (recorded on 23.04.1940, 2 months after this broadcast), comes quite good. A little bit rushed, but good.

Melancholy Baby is probably the weakest link among these songs. Sinatra fails to hit high notes, just doesn’t fit.

And that concludes the Sinatra part of Meadowbrook broadcast. A Lover Is Blue and I’ve Got My Eyes On You are my picks from that night, and I hope you like them too.

Come Rain Or Come Shine

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:34+00:00 December 30th, 2012|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Come Rain or Come Shine, a beautiful song that Frank Sinatra really liked to sing, was written by Harold Arlen in 1946. Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics for Come Rain or Come Shine, and it was for the musical St. Louis Woman. In fact, whole music of this musical was by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. The recording was first made by Tommy Dorsey‘s Orchestra in 1946, and many singers, including Frank Sinatra, recorded or sang this song later. It became a standard then.

Come Rain or Come Shine Frank Sinatra Harold Arlen Johnny Mercer

Frank Sinatra sang Come Rain or Come Shine many times through his career, firstly via radio broadcasts, then in his albums. He first recorded the song on November 22, 1961, for his album “Sinatra and Strings”, which was released in 1962 and was arranged by Don Costa. In 1993, Frank Sinatra recorded Come Rain or Come Shine for his “Duets” album, and Gloria Estefan sang a part of it.

When Sinatra was singing at Caesars Palace, and was singing Come Rain or Come Shine, Don Costa was noted to say: “That’s still the best chart I wrote”. Will Friedwald, writer of “Sinatra! The Song Is You”, says: “The Sinatra-Costa “Come Rain or Come Shine” may well be the collaboration’s masterpiece, effectively combining the high drama of grand opera with the pure power of blues.”

Come Rain or Come Shine is really a piece of work, with its amazing orchestration. Ray Charles’ version is also worth mentioning, and could be perceived as better than Sinatra’s.

Below is a beautiful performance of Frank Sinatra, singing Come Rain or Come Shine.

What did Frank Sinatra say about Come Rain or Come Shine?

Frank Sinatra: This is a wonderful song by Johnn Mercer, arrangement by Don Costa. (1981 Argentina)

Frank Sinatra: This is a lovely song by Johnny Mercer, and Don Costa’s orchestration. I love this song. (1991/09/21 – Italy)

Frank Sinatra: Great song by Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer. Orchestrated by Don Costa. I love to sing this song. Great song. (Live at Meadowlands)

Frank Sinatra: Good song by Harold Arlen, and Johnny Mercer. Don Costa’s orchestration. One of my favourite songs. (1993/ November 21, Foxwoods Casino)

Frank Sinatra: One of my favourite songs. I probably have 10 or 12 songs and there are thousands of them. This one is by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, orchestrated beautifully by the late Don Costa. For you, from me. Wonderful song, I love it. ( 1990/12/12 Meadowlands)

Frank Sinatra: I love singing it, it is a fine song. (1993/06/02 Hamburg, Germany)

Frank Sinatra: One of my favourite songs of all times. (1983/11/28 Nassau Coliseum)

Frank Sinatra: I like this song, almost more than any other song I have ever sang. Mr. Harold Arlen and Mr. Johnny Mercer, wonderful orchestration by Don Costa. (1985 Japan Concert)

Frank Sinatra: This is something by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen, and Don Costa’s
orchestration. This is an absolute statement coming from me to all of you
because the fact that you come to spend an evening with me. (September 28
1991, Oslo)*

Frank Sinatra: This next song is a marvelous song written by two of the great song writers, I speak of Harold Arlen and Mr. Johnny Mercer. And they wrote many many wonderful songs together. THIS one is very special to me. Wonderful arrangement by Don Costa. (August 20 1982, Dominican Republic)*

Frank Sinatra: This song was written by Charlie Chapman and Tom Mix, I don’t even know this. Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, and orchestrated by the great Don Costa. Good song. This is from me to you, everywhere. (April 24 1994, Radio City Music Hall)*

Frank Sinatra: If I had to choose from 50 songs or 100 songs that we know, most of us know, this one would be included at all times. It was written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, great team. And also orchestrated by a brilliant man named Don Costa. And this is directly from me to you. (October 9 1991, The Point)*

Frank Sinatra: This is a marvelous song, I like singing this one. (December 19-20 1994, Fukuoka Dome)*

Frank SInatra: This could be one of the finest pieces of popular music ever written, in spite of the wonderful tunes we have. Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, and Don Costa did the orchestration. (December 30 1993, MGM)*

Frank Sinatra: Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen wrote this one. Arranged by Don Costa, one of my favorite songs of all time. Great song. This is dedicated to all of you in this room. (March 20 1984, Veterans Memorial Coliseum)*

*Special thanks to Michael Wind for his contributions regarding what did Sinatra say about Come Rain or Come Shine.

Stardust – Frank Sinatra

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:34+00:00 October 8th, 2012|Categories: Songs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Stardust, originally “Star Dust”, was firstly a song composed by Hoagy Carmichael in the year 1927. Two years later, in 1929, Mitchell Parish wrote the lyrics for Stardust. It is certainly a standard and was sung and recorded by many artists of jazz-swing era, including Frank Sinatra. Stardust was not just “one” of the songs that Sinatra sang, but a sentimental ballad Sinatra performed almost in perfection.

Stardust Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra first sang Stardust when he was in the band of Harry James. In fact, the very first song Frank sang with Harry James’ orchestra was Stardust. Jack Palmer, a trumpeter of Harry James said: “Just before the second show, Harry came out and introduced him as the new singer with the band. Frank then joined us at the next date we had, which I believe was in New Haven, Connecticut. I’ll never forget how Harry introduced him to the audience. He said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is our new vocalist, and we don’t have any arrangements for him as yet. Frank, do you think we can scare something up for you to sing?” Sinatra called out “Stardust,” which is not the easiest song to sing. Frank gave us the key and the piano and rhythm section began, and we just tried to get some background to hold it all together.

A version of Stardust can be found in Frank Sinatra and Harry James Complete Recordings. Compared to later versions, this Stardust version has a noticeable faster tempo.

Stardust had its part in Jo Stafford’s memories as well. Jo Stafford says: “We knew we were going to have a boy singer, but we didn’t know anything about him. We didn’t even meet him before the first show. Out came this rather frail looking young man with a whole bunch of hair. I just thought, hmm kinda thin. But he sang no more than a few bars of “Stardust” and a great hush fell over the theatre. Nobody had ever sounded like that before.”

Herb Sanford, Tommy Dorsey’s radio producer (after hearing Sinatra singing Stardust): “Boy, this is something else.”

Apparently, Sinatra sang Stardust to impress people after joining both Harry James’ and Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra.

In 1940, 11th of November, Frank Sinatra recorded Stardust with Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and showed us how Stardust should be performed; slower tempo, and a slow start of “Some-times-I-Won-der-Why-I-Spend The-lonely-Nights”. In this version, Sinatra starts to sing with “The Pied Pipers”, and just in the middle of “Nights”, Pied Pipers stop, and Frank Sinatra completes the word “Nights” in an amazing way, with a brilliant voice. The “You were in my arms” part is also quite notable. Stardust is one of the leading successful songs of Tommy Dorsey era of Frank Sinatra, and was a big hit in the year 1941.

“The 1940 “Stardust” is strictly the “Smile Again” layout applied to another tune. And most effectively too, judging by its effect on Buddy Rich, who was hardly the band’s sensitivity specialist. Rich, who prided himself on being hyper masculine and downright ant sentimental, later confided to friend Mel Torme that Sinatra’s rendition of “Stardust” had him hiding his face so that no one would catch a glimpse of his tears.” (SINATRA! The Song Is You by Will Friedwald)

A famous Stardust version of Sinatra is from 1943, performed in “Your Hit Parade”. It was presented by Lucky Strike, and the video of it is available.

Frank Sinatra recorded Stardust again in his album “Sinatra and Strings” in 1962 under Reprise Records. Don Costa arranged and conducted the song this time, yet this time Sinatra sang only the verse of the song. (And now the purple dusk of twilight time…) Only the verse itself with a beautiful string section is enough, as the recording shows us.
“Costa penned an elaborate introduction, proving he wasn’t averse to writing a verse to a verse for the Voice. This intro was a key reason why Sinatra guitarist Tony Mattola cited “Stardust” as his favorite Sinatra performance. “Don sets it up like almost a tone poem in the beginning,” he said, “and it could stand by itself as a classical piece.” Then Frank just sings this lovely verse, and then Don ends it, as he does in the beginning. Whoever thought of that idea-whether it was Frank or Don or whoever-it’s completely original and absolutely beautiful.” (SINATRA! The Song Is You by Will Friedwald)

Stardust would never be a choice for Sinatra’s concerts, but the brilliant versions from 1940’s are definitely more than enough.

Ben Sidran Interview – Frank Sinatra

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:37+00:00 March 20th, 2012|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , |

The jazz pianist, vocalist and song writer Ben Sidran has been kind enough to answer my questions about Frank Sinatra through an interview.

Ben Sidran, interview about Frank Sinatra

Ben Sidran

Hello Ben Sidran. I am Ozgun Akalin, owner of TheFrankSinatra.com. First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting to interview with me. I believe the readers of my site shall be quite interested in your answers about Sinatra, as you are a very talented artist. And the opinions of a great and world-wide popular artist such as you shall be highly respected and found worthy. Let me start with my first question.

As a great pianist and musician, you create your own music and sing/play them most of the time. And we clearly can see that you have tried to avoid singing and playing famous jazz pieces throughout your career. What is your personal opinion about artists’s covering songs instead of writing their own and where do you see yourself in this argument? Do you like singers covering famous Sinatra songs over and over?

The reason people continue to cover songs that Sinatra made famous is because Sinatra had impeccable taste and the songs he sang included all the great songs of the era. These songs are still — fifty years later — the greatest vehicles to express everyday human emotions, and so it is understandable that people continue to sing them. Sinatra is the standard for how they should be sung because of his great talent and his unique style that made every listener believe he was singing to them. I do not try to cover old songs but from time to time, I find myself doing it because the songs “call me”.

But there are still few songs that Frank Sinatra had sang and you have covered. Everything Happens To Me, which you had included in your album “Sentimental Journey”, is one of them. In fact, Everything Happens To Me was first recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1941 with Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra. What do you think about Sinatra’s and your version, how would you compare them?

I believe “Everything Happens to Me” was from my album “Too Hot to Touch” which also included “On the Sunny Side of the Street”. It was recorded in 1989 and although I could never compare my version to Sinatra’s, I did feel I found a sincere and relaxed place to sing them and very personal arrangements to support that.

Has Frank Sinatra somehow affected you at any point in your musical/personal life?

Frank Sinatra was very important to me from the first time I heard him sing “Birth of the Blues” back in the 50s and all throughout my college years; “Only the Lonely” remains one of the greatest records ever made.

And when listening to music, do you prefer Sinatra? If yes, which songs of Sinatra do you prefer?

I have so many choices these days, I usually put my computer on “shuffle” and just let the music wash over me but I am always happy when it turns up Sinatra.

We have come to last question. What do you think about Frank Sinatra? It can be about his style, career, influence on music industry or anything.

Frank was simply a modern man with great empathy and courage and his style of singing and living shaped a generation and then another and then another.

Mr. Sidran, thank you again for interviewing with me. I am sure Frank Sinatra fans will be quite satisfied. I wish you success and ultimate creativity in your life and music. Interviewing with you was a pleasure.

Ben Sidran Frank Sinatra Interview

Ben Sidran has some very nice songs, and I love that he includes lots of saxophone parts in his songs. Saxophone is simply my favourite instrument in jazz music.

For further reference and information about Ben Sidran, please refer to following links. There are also many great live performances of him on YouTube.

http://www.bensidran.com/bios/index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Sidran

 

The Song Is You (Box Set) – CD 1

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:37+00:00 March 8th, 2012|Categories: Albums|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The first CD of The Song Is You Box Set has many great songs of Frank Sinatra as expected; and firstly, let us take a look at the song list.

Frank Sinatra The Song Is You Box Set CD 1

Frank Sinatra The Song Is You Box Set CD 1

 

Frank Sinatra The Song Is You Box Set CD 1 Song List

Frank Sinatra The Song Is You Box Set CD 1 Song List

The Song Is You Box Set, CD 1 Song List

1. The Sky Fell Down
2. Too Romantic
3. Shake Down the Stars
4. Moments in the Moonlight
5. I’ll Be Seeing You
6. Say It
7. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
8. Fable of the Rose
9. This Is the Beginning of the End
10. Hear My Song, Violetta
11. Fools Rush in (Where Angels Fear to Tread)
12. Devil May Care
13. April Played the Fiddle
14. I Haven’t Time to Be a Millionaire
15. Imagination
16. Yours Is My Heart Alone
17. You’re Lonely and I’m Lonely
18. East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)
19. Head on My Pillow
20. It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow
21. I’ll Never Smile Again
22. All This and Heaven Too
23. Where Do You Keep Your Heart

I’ll Be Seeing You, Fools Rush In, Imagination, I’ll Never Smile Again are the songs that draw the attention as they can be considered as the most popular songs of Frank Sinatra’s Tommy Dorsey era, but these are not all. The first CD of The Song Is You box set has many amazing songs. Following comments are on the songs that I find at least “worth” listening, in my humble opinion, for the first CD of The Song Is You Box Set.

 

The Sky Fell Down, a very smooth piece, is sang by Frank Sinatra very well, and always is a great alternative to his popular songs. Well performed and recommended.

Too Romantic, again a great example. Lyrics might not be the best, but performance of the orchestra and Sinatra  make up for it.

Shake Down The Stars can be considered as “different” compared to other songs in the disc due to the arrangement and tempo, which make it great! Hard to realize how fast the song plays, quite enjoyable. The song also includes good saxophone parts, simply beautiful orchestration.

Moments In The Moonlight: I find the trombone parts at the beginning and end too much and loud, but when Frank Sinatra starts to sing, his talent makes it unimportant for me. The way he phrases “Moonlight” and following parts are especially quite nice, unique to Sinatra himself.

I’ll Be Seeing You is no doubt a very important song of Sinatra. Very hard to describe the beauty of this song with words. “I’ll be looking at the moon” part at minute 2:00 is sang a bit fast in my opinion, but the rest is pure perfection. Excellent performance and orchestration. No doubt it is many people’s favorite of Dorsey era.

Say It can be considered as an unpopular song of Sinatra. Nothing interesting with the lyrics, I like the “Say it, ooover and o-ver again” part though. Arrangement of finishing section could be better.

Polka Dots And Moonbeams is definitely one of my favorites, waiting for many people to be discovered. One of the many great songs that shows characteristics of Sinatra’s voice at the beginning of 1940’s. Recommended.

This Is The Beginning Of The End: Too fast. Sinatra loves to put emphasis on lyrics a lot, but when it is this fast, song loses a lot of its meaning, if it has any potential.

Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread): Another treasure from 1940’s. Fools rush in, where wise men never go. But wise men never fall in love, so how are they to know? Just amazing, a must.

Devil May Care begins with an ordinary arrangement of big band era songs. Nothing special, but worth a try.

April Played The Fiddle: Good arrangement and orchestration, OK song.

I Haven’t Time to Be a Millionaire: Could be one of the songs of Sinatra that you listen once in a blue moon.

Imagination could use a much better arrangement as it has huge potential. Sinatra later proved that this song can be performed way more beautifully. Still, it is very nice to listen this song from the “early” Sinatra.

East Of The Sun: Here is an interestingly beautiful song. Arrangement is very well for this song, and Sinatra simply shows his amazing singing talent. If there were no vocals except Sinatra, East of The Sun could be a lot better.

I’ll Never Smile Again: Pied Pipers and Frank Sinatra at their best. Simply beautiful and charming song, could not get any better than this version. The more you listen the song, the better you realize how good it is. Perfection.

All This And Heaven Too is an unpopular song of early years of Frank Sinatra, despite its beauty. The song begins with a smooth arrangement, with an excellent combination of instruments, continuing with Sinatra’s charming performance. The song’s lyrics are also very well written by Jimmy Van Heusen.

You give me your love and your love is a melody,
Deep in my heart I will carry this song with me,
You bring a love so divine, all this is mine
And heaven too.

To sum up, the first CD of this 5 CD The Song Is You Box Set is very satisfactory and a very important piece for Frank Sinatra fans with its 23 songs. It helps us to understand Sinatra’s early years, which are quite marvelous, a lot better. In time, I will post information about other CD´s of The Song Is You box set.

References

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:38+00:00 June 3rd, 2011|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The references play a very important part in my articles since information about Frank Sinatra does not come out of nowhere. I use some books to include detailed information in these articles, and here is the list of those books I use as references.

References for Frank Sinatra posts

Sinatra! The Song Is You, A Singer’s Art (Will Friedwald)

Frank Sinatra My Father (Nancy Sinatra)

My Father’s Daughter (Tina Sinatra)

Mr.S My Life With Frank Sinatra (George Jacobs, William Stadiem)

Rat Pack Confidental ( Shawn Levy)

Sinatra The Life (Anthony Summers, Robbyn Swan)

Frankly Just Between Us (Vincent Falcone, Bob Popyk)

Frank The Voice (James Kaplan)

His Way (Kitty Kelley)

The Way You Wear Your Hat (Bill Zehme)

Sessions with Sinatra (Charles Granata)

Sinatra (Richard Havers)

The Sinatra Treasures ( Charles Pignone)

Frank Sinatra An American Legend (Nancy Sinatra)

The Sinatra Files (Tom Kuntx, Phil Kuntz)

Why Sinatra Matters (Pete Hamill)

Tommy Dorsey (Peter Levinson)

The Swing Era (Gunther Schuller)

Ava Gardner (Lee Server)

Frank Sinatra Reading Book References

Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey Band

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:39+00:00 June 3rd, 2011|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

“See the singer guy? One day I’ll be sitting where he’s sitting.” That is what Frank Sinatra told his wife Nancy, when they went to see Tommy Dorsey’s band in 1937.

In my post about Frank Sinatra and Harry James I had mentioned that in Chicago, Frank Sinatra was offered to be the vocal of Tommy Dorsey’s band, and left the band of Harry James in January 1940. But unlike the times he worked with Harry James, now he wasn’t the only vocal in the band. There were four other people, also known as “Pied Pipers”: Chucky Lowry, Billy Wilson, John Huddleston and Jo Stafford. In February 1, they recorded “The Sky Fell Down” and “Too Romantic”.

Tommy Dorsey

“I was almost entirely unfamiliar with him. In fact I never laid eyes on him until he actually walked on stage for the first time. We were sitting on the stage when Dorsey introduced him. And he came on and sang “Stardust” and it was quite an experience. You knew after eight bars that you were hearing something just absolutely new and unique” says Jo Stafford about Frank Sinatra.

It is widely accepted that Frank Sinatra learned a lot from Tommy Dorsey, especially the technique of breathing. Frank was watching Tommy Dorsey playing the trombone and trying to figure out the way he was breathing. Later he discovered that Tommy had a sneak pinhole in the corner of his mouth which he was covering with his trombone and decided to use this technique while singing. He ran and swam a lot to improve his breathing and finally was able to make it. He could take a breath without breaking the note.

Frank Sinatra Tommy Dorsey Orchestra

Another thing Sinatra learned from Tommy Dorsey was focusing on the words. Dorsey told Frank “All that matters to Bing Crosby is the words, and that’s the only thing that should matter to you.” Maybe this is why he sings the “saloon songs” perfectly, like “Angel Eyes” or “One For My Baby”.

The first real hit of Frank Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey orchestra was “I’ll never smile again”, on 23 May 1940. This was also the first recording Frank did with Pied Pipers. In July the song hit No 1 on the charts and stayed there for 12 weeks. He recorded this song in 1959 and 1965 as well, in his albums “When No One Cares” and “A Man and His Music”. On January 1941 they recorded 2 very nice songs, “Stardust” and “Oh Look at Me Now”.

It was the year 1941 when Sinatra became a lot more and more popular. Girls were crazy about him and people were coming to performances to see Frank Sinatra now. He wasn’t just a vocal of Tommy Dorsey anymore, he was Frank Sinatra. And he was quite aware of this fact too. Sooner or later he was going to quit, just like the former vocal of the band did. Those years, it was the band leaders that were popular and known in the bands, and though he was very popular and making $400 a week, still he was in the shadow of Tommy and this was not for him since he had to achieve more. Being in a band was only a step on the way of being the greatest ever.

Frank Sinatra Tommy Dorsey Band Stage

In January 1942, Sinatra made his first step and recorded these songs with an orchestra conducted by Axel Stordahl, no Tommy Dorsey this time.

Night and Day
The Lamp Lighters Serenade
The Song Is You
The Night We Called A Day

Frank Sinatra: “When I went to leave, Tommy made it impossible. I remember that it was in the month of September, in Washington, Dc. I went into the dressing room and told Tommy that I wanted to leave the orchestra and he kind of smiled. What for? He said. You know you are doing great with the band we got a lot of arrangements for you. I said I understand that but I justto go out on my own. He said, I don’t think so. I said okay, but I’m going to leave. He said, you’ve got a contract. I said, I had a contract with Harry but Harry took the contract and tore it up and wished me luck. And I added, I’ll give you one year’s notice. This time next year I’m leaving.”

In 1942, Frank wanted to leave the band again but still the same obstacle, the contract Sinatra later named as “a ratty piece of paper.” In the contract, it was stated that if Frank Sinatra left the band, he would pay %43 of all the money he would earn throughout his career, to Tommy Dorsey and his agent. Dorsey first didn’t want to let Frank go. So Frank hired few lawyers and asked some friends to help him about this issue. Harry Jaffe threatened Tommy Dorsey about not broadcasting him on NBC.  After a while Tommy was persuaded and he accepted to take $75000.

Frank Sinatra: “Anyhow, that’s how I got out of Dorsey contract. No gangster called anyone. Sonofabitch, I’ve been with that thing for so many years..”

But this is not what Tommy Dorsey said, according to the book “Sinatra: The Life”. “Three guys from New York City by way of Boston and New Jersey approached me and said they would like to buy Sinatra’s contract. I said “Like hell you will”. And they pulled out a gun and said, “You wanna sign the contract?” And I did.” And before Tommy Dorsey died in 1956, he again said “I was visited by Willie Moretti and a couple of his boys. Willie fingered a gun and told me he was glad to hear that I was letting Frank out of my deal. I took the hint.”

In August 1943, Tommy Dorsey gave Sinatra his best wishes by saying “I hope you fall on your ass!” (not on the radio), and Frank finally owned himself.

When I think of Frank Sinatra’s years with Tommy Dorsey, I say thank god he was in that band. His voice was simply fascinating and he performed many nice songs. We can’t name the months of Sinatra with Harry James as rich, since they didn’t release many songs and we don’t have many recorded radio broadcasts survived till now. But Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey recorded lots of beautiful songs like “The Sky Fell Down, Too Romantic, I’ll Be Seeing You, Say It, Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Fools Rush In, April Played the Fiddle, Imagination, I’ll Never Smile Again, Stardust, Oh Look At Me Now, Without a Song, I Think of You, The Song Is You” and many others.

If you would like to listen more songs of Frank Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey, you should definitely check “Frank Sinatra Tommy Dorsey Complete”, which consists of 5 CD’s. Lots of beautiful songs there…

Frank Sinatra at Paramount Theater

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:39+00:00 June 3rd, 2011|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Frank Sinatra at Paramount Theater, how did it start?

After leaving Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra on September 1942, Frank Sinatra started looking for jobs as a singer at various places. He wasn’t a member of a band anymore, he was on his own. For two months, he had not been able to find a serious place. Many band vocals that left couldn’t make it, and Sinatra was to be one of them. Things were just like the times before he joined Harry James’ band. But in December 1942, things changed.

Frank Sinatra Young, Early 1940s

In December, the phone in Frank Sinatra’s house rang. It was Bob Weitman, the director of the famous Paramount Theater.

Bob Weitman: What are you doing in the New Year’s Eve?
Frank Sinatra: Not a thing. I can’t even get booked anywhere. I can’t find anywhere to work.
Bob Weitman: I’d like you to open at the joint.
Frank Sinatra: You mean on New Year’s Eve?
Bob Weitman: That’s right.
This was of course very surprising for him, considering that he couldn’t find a place even for a regular day. And now, he was to perform at Paramount Theater!

Frank Sinatra Fans at Paramount Theater, Manhattan

That night, when he was on stage after Benny Goodman in Paramount Theater, suddenly people started to yell and scream. People were like crazy. Jack Benny remembers that day as “I introduced Sinatra and I thought the goddamned building was going to cave in. I never heard such a commotion with people running down to the stage, screaming and nearly knocking me off the ramp. All this for a fellow I never heard of.”

Frank Sinatra Bobby Soxers Paramount Theater

Frank Sinatra: “The sound that greeted me was absolutely deafening. It was a tremendous roar. Five thousand kids, stamping, yelling, screaming, applauding. I was scared stiff. I couldn’t move a muscle. Benny Goodman froze, too. He was so scared he turned around, looked at the audience, and said, “What the hell was that?”

That night was so good that Paramount Theater extended his show first to a month, then to two months. And it was not like some regular show. They used to do 6-7 shows a day. One Saturday, Frank Sinatra did eleven shows, starting at 8:10 am and finishing at 2:30 am next day.

With the help of his press agent George Evans, “The Voice” was born.
After Paramount Theatre, he performed at Riobamba on 57th Street. Needless to say, the club was full every time he sang there. After leaving Riobamba, he returned to Paramount Theatre for another month and also sang at some concerts symphony orchestras.

Frank Sinatra Paramount Theater Bobby Soxers

Nick Sevano: This time, they threw more than roses. They threw their panties and their brassieres. They were nuts, absolutely nuts. (When Sinatra returned to Paramount Theater)

But that wasn’t all of course. He took part in some movies and radio broadcasts. He had a role in the move “Higher and Higher” and “Anchors Aweigh”. And he was also on radio every Saturday, on “Your Hit Parade”, with the Lucky Strike Orchestra.

Frank Sinatra Lucky Strike Your Hit Parade

On June 7 1943, he was going to sing in the studio of Columbia Records for the very first time, and his years known as “Columbia Years” was to start, slowly bringing an end to the big band era…