Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer and actor.
Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, being the idol of the “bobby soxers,” he released his first album, “The Voice of Frank Sinatra” in 1946. His professional career had stalled by the 1950s, but it was reborn in 1954 after he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “From Here to Eternity.”
He signed with Capitol Records and between 1954 and 1962 released several critically lauded albums, including “In the Wee Small Hours,” “Songs for Swingin' Lovers,” “Come Fly with Me,” “Only the Lonely” and “Nice 'n' Easy.” Sinatra left Capitol to found his own record label, Reprise Records, finding success with albums such as “Ring-A-Ding-Ding,” “Sinatra at the Sands” and “Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim,” toured internationally, was a founding member of the Rat Pack and fraternized with celebrities and statesmen, including John F. Kennedy.
Sinatra turned 50 in 1965, recorded the retrospective “September of My Years,” starred in the Emmy-winning television special “Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music,” and scored hits with “Strangers in the Night” and his signature tune, “My Way.”
With sales of his music dwindling and after appearing in several poorly received films, Sinatra retired for the first time in 1971. Two years later, however, he came out of retirement and in 1973 recorded several albums, scoring a Top 40 hit with “(Theme From) New York, New York” in 1980. Using his Las Vegas shows as a home base, he toured both within the United States and internationally, until a short time before his death in 1998.
Sinatra holds the unique distinction of singing on the first Billboard #1 single, “I'll Never Smile Again” in 1940. Sinatra also had the first ever #1 album in the U.K., 1956’s “Songs For Swingin' Lovers.” From his first released single in 1940 to the 1980 release of “Theme from New York, New York,” Sinatra had 209 hits on Billboard's Pop Singles charts. Of those, 127 made the Top 20, 70 made the Top 10 and 10 reached the #1 position. He also has the longest time span of charting Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 Albums chart at 62 years with “The Voice of Frank Sinatra” going to #1 in 1946, and “Nothing But the Best” going to #2 in 2008.
Sinatra was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1983 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1985 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Sinatra was also the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Trustees Award, Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.