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Frank, Nancy and Success


In the summer of 1934, the eighteen-year-old Frank met seventeen-year-old Nancy Carol Barbato, who came from a poor family in Jersey City, New Jersey. Nancy was sitting on her front porch doing her nails when Frank walked up to her with a ukulele in his hand. His opening line was ... Yo, what about me. I could use a manicure too! The spark was lit and the romance blossomed over the next four years. They lived one town apart and Frank would frequently take the bus to visit and date Nancy.


During these years, Frank was building his singing experience. Most gigs would pay around two dollars a night. Sometimes he performed at roadhouses for nothing more than a sandwich or cigarettes. Frank's first break came on September 8th, 1935 when he auditioned for a spot on the NBC radio show Major Bowes and His Original Amateur Hour. The show was broadcast live from the Capitol Theatre in New York City.


Frank teamed up with a group called the Three Flashes and they became the Hoboken Four. They performed the Bing Crosby hit 'Shine' and won a spot on the show, which was a 1930's forerunner to American Idol. Listeners phoned in to vote for their favorite act and the Hoboken Four proved so popular that Major Bowes invited them to return several times. However, the radio show appearances didn't lead to any lasting success. Frank returned to Hoboken and soon found himself once more begging for any jobs he could find.


In 1939, Frank and Nancy were married. Not long after that Frank was singing in a club called the Rustic Cabin. In the audience was Harry James, a big band leader who was auditioning for a lead singer. James was impressed with Frank's way of talking a lyric. He invited Sinatra to audition the next day. Although there were a lot of others who showed up for the job, when Frank opened his mouth the matter was settled.


He made his debut with the Harry James Band on June 30th, 1939 at the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore. The rest of that summer and into the fall he toured with the band to enthusiastic audiences.


By 1940 Sinatra's popularity was growing steadily. Then he switched bands mid-stream, jumping at the chance to sign on with the more famous Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The deal that Frank struck, though was hardly in his favour. He would give up a third of his earnings for life, plus 10 percent for Tommy's agent. But all that the young Frank, who had recently become a father, wanted was to sing and be famous. And besides, he would end up with more each week than he was getting with the old band. With the Tommy Dorsey Band, Frank travelled across the country. He ended up in Hollywood, California. In 1942, the band, with Sinatra out front, made a cameo in the MGM move 'Ship Ahoy.'


With the band behind him Frank had built up his profile. He appeared on the radio, in concert halls, on TV and in the movies. By the end of 1942, he was one of the most well known singers in the country – and he had replaced Bing Crosby as Billboard's top band vocalist and cut his first record with the band.



Going Solo


By the end of 1942, Frank had made up his mind to go it alone. He was clearly the star attraction of the Tommy Dorsey Band, so, while they may have needed him, he was more than able to hold an audience by himself. When he told Dorsey of his intentions, the band leader was furious. But Frank was determined and finally Dorsey relented. He did insist, however, that the contract for a third of Sinatra's earnings would remain in place. Frank decided that he would worry about the contract later. For now he would get out before Dorsey changed his mind.


Sinatra made his solo debut on his 27th birthday, December 12th, 1942. In the audience that night was Bob Weitman, manager of the Paramount Theatre. He was so impressed that he asked Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, if he minded having Frank on a bill with him at the Paramount. Goodman's response was ... Who the hell is Frank Sinatra? He would soon find out.


Sinatra's appearances at the Paramount made history. It was the start of the type of hysteria, epitomized by screaming and fainting girls, that would later greet Elvis and the Beatles. When Frank hit the stage, the theater erupted with wild scenes that had never been seen before. In 1944, with his popularity soaring, Frank became a father for a second time. Frank Sinatra Junior joined older sister Nancy at home while their father's star kept ascending. His record sales topped the billings and he was the most requested voice on the radio.


重点单词   查看全部解释    
band [bænd]


n. 带,箍,波段
n. 队,一群,乐队

frank [fræŋk]


adj. 坦白的,直率的,真诚的
vt. 免费

paramount ['pærəmaunt]


adj. 极为重要的,至高无上的 n. 最高统治者 Pa

orchestra ['ɔ:kistrə]


n. 管弦乐队

hysteria [his'tiəriə]


n. 歇斯特里症,不正常的兴奋

lasting ['læstiŋ]


adj. 永久的,永恒的

concert ['kɔnsət]


n. 音乐会,一致,和谐
vt. 制定计划,通

cameo ['kæmiəu]


n. 刻有浮雕的宝石或贝壳 n. (文艺或戏剧)小品,小



adj. 外加的;印象深刻的;了不起的;受感动的

enthusiastic [in.θju:zi'æstik]


adj. 热情的,热心的