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Ol’ Blue Eyes

ANUSHA NARAIN
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Music On his birthday, we look back on Frank Sinatra’s career

THE VOICEFrank SinatraPhoto: AP
THE VOICEFrank SinatraPhoto: AP

“Francis A. Sinatra lived to a ripe old age of 82. While younger geniuses, suffered from the Elvis syndrome (inability to handle success), got high and burned out, Ol’ Blue eyes was not going to join the ‘died young’ club. The leader of the Rat Pack was way too cool to give in so early and easily. He lived a full life. He said, “I would like to be remembered as a man who had a wonderful time living life, a man who had good friends, fine family — I don’t think I could ask for more than that actually.”

Often dubbed the first pop star, Sinatra was born in the U.S. on December 12, 1915 to Italian immigrant parents. He started his career as a singer with Columbia Records and reached an iconic status as a singer and actor by the mid-1940s. He starred in superhits such as It Happened In Brooklyn , Anchors Aweigh and On The Town . In short, he was the Elvis, the Beatles, the Michael Jackson, the Justin Beiber of the 1940s, only he was also a well established actor.  Sinatra’s star also began to fade by the late 1940s. And by the early 1950s along came Elvis to steal his fans.

On the personal front, he had his heart broken by Ava Gardner. But at this point there was a twist in the Sinatra tale. He picked himself up and got back in the race and saw a second coming. In the second phase, he went on to immortalise the character of Angelo Maggio ( From Here To Eternity ), for which he won an Oscar. He recorded hugely successful albums such as Only The Lonely and In The Wee Hours Of The Morning ; and his magnum opus, Strangers In The Night .

Another slump in his career sent him into retirement in 1972. But, with a little help from his long-time pal Gene Kelley, he was back to performing and continued to do shows until just before his death in 1998. Sinatra would have turned 97 this year. His voice still rises heavenwards from open windows. Sinatra lives.

ANUSHA NARAIN



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