Francis Albert Sinatra passed away on May 14, 1998. During his 82 years on Earth, he was one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In addition, he left an enormous imprint on pop culture via his success in film, radio, television and entertainment. Here are 20 quick facts about Ol’ Blue Eyes.
One of Sinatra’s earliest musical stints was as a member of the Hoboken Four, who passed an audition to appear on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour radio show. They each earned $12.50 for the appearance and won first prize—a six-month contract to perform on stage and radio across the United States.
During one 1940s Columbia Records recording session, Sinatra cut “Sweet Lorraine” with the Metronome All-Stars, a group that featured an array of legendary jazz musicians including Coleman Hawkins, Harry Carney, Charlie Shavers and Nat King Cole on piano.
Frank Sinatra founded Reprise Records in 1960 as a way to allow him more artistic freedom for his recordings. He garnered the nickname “The Chairman of the Board” and even after selling the imprint off to Warner Brothers in 1968, he retained a 20 percent ownership stake in the imprint.
On Jan. 27, 1961, Sinatra played a benefit show at Carnegie Hall for Martin Luther King, Jr. and led his fellow Rat Pack members and Reprise label mates in boycotting hotels and casinos that refused entry to black patrons and performers.
Sinatra sang for the very last time on Feb. 25, 1995, before a live audience of 1,200 select guests at the Palm Desert Marriott Ballroom, on the closing night of the Frank Sinatra Desert Classic golf tournament. “The Best is Yet to Come” was the last song he sang.
Check out more from LIW‘s Frank Sinatra theme issue:
- Sinatra Songbook Lives On
- Dishing On Frank Sinatra’s Connection To Patsy’s Italian Restaurant
- Sinatra’s Turn At The Movies
- That’s Life: 20 Facts About Frank Sinatra You Didn’t Know
- My Kind Of Book: The Best Stories On Frank Sinatra
- Rat Pack Fashion
- Crooner’s Classic Dozen: Top 12 Frank Sinatra Albums