This is it!! Happy 100th birthday to Francis Albert Sinatra, the man who changed the world and loved life doing it. The man who has taught so many people so much about what it means to live. I couldn’t be happier or more excited, I’m sure. With a post like this, there isn’t really very much that you can say, honestly. It’s too big. There’s so much to say that I find myself unable to say anything. But if there’s one thing I’ll say, it’s that it may be 100 years now, but he’s still as amazing as he ever was. Only Frank could do that. So, take a moment and feel that magnitude. Oh, and:
Technically, I am not south of the border, but I am a lot further south than I am used to being. So I thought that this song title would work particularly well for this post. I’m going to warn all of you right now that I don’t know what these while-I’m-away posts are going to be like. I’m kind of down to crunch time over here, and so just bear with me. Just know that whatever ends up happening is the best I could do.
That being said, it’s time for a fun fact!
On January 26, 1980, Frank finally made his way to Brazil to perform at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The people there had been waiting such a long time for him to come that the performance holds a world record for attendance. In her book about their life together, Frank’s wife Barbara talks about this performance and describes the tears in Frank’s eyes from the love that the people showed him while he was there.
And on our countdown we have officially reached 4 more days! 4 more days until Frank Sinatra Day everyone! Since there were no particular requests on yesterday’s post for further countdown posts, today I’ll begin something special. With 4 more days left, I’m going to begin (drum roll, please) 4 Ways Frank Sinatra Has Influenced Your Life. (I mean, it may still be a working title a little bit, and the acronym certainly doesn’t make sense but…) Yes, that’s right! Today I’ll begin to specifically tell you ways that Frank made this world wonderful, and how he influenced your life in the process.
So, for today’s Reason #1: Frank redefined fame.
When Frank rose to the top, being famous was something completely different. Stars were usually neutral politically to avoid losing popularity or support. And the solo artist wasn’t really a thing, honestly. There were people like Bing Crosby of course, wonderful Bing who was Frank’s idol. But in general there was really only so far an artist could go without a big band behind them. But when Frankie came to town, young Frankie with his unruly hair and floppy bow ties, things began to change. Frank came right out and declared that he had a party affiliation, he came right out and said that he was Frank Sinatra and that was that. It didn’t matter that he might lose popularity or even his career over it, he was honest from the beginning about where he stood. That was something pretty unknown to Hollywood at the time.
And more than that, Frank was politically active. He campaigned for presidents and gave speeches against racism in small towns. He showed other people in Hollywood that being famous was more than having your face on a record or the silver screen, that they could try and make a difference with the influence that they had. They could support things and raise awareness, and it could change the world for the better. He helped raise money for all sorts of charities throughout his entire career to the tune of $1 billion and throughout his life gave away millions anonymously. Post-WWII, Frank was one of the ones who tried to rally America into helping to save Europe’s Jews from the horrors of the Holocaust.
And these are only a few of the things that Frank did personally to help make the world a better place. The influence that he had on others to do the same was tremendous, and too far reaching to really understand. You can say that this would’ve eventually happened in Hollywood, of course, but Frank did it way before it’s time. He spoke out against or for controversial ideas and opinions when it wasn’t alright to do so. And with that, he helped to form a different world for all of us.
According to the countdown, there are now only 15 more days until Frank Sinatra Day! I am absolutely beyond excited, really, I can’t even tell you! And as promised, now that we’re closer to it I will begin posting different Frank facts to go along with the countdown. Since there are 15 days left, we’ll roll with the number 15.
Frank was born in 1915 on December 12. He was born at his parent’s small home in Hoboken, New Jersey and weighed an unbelievable 13 pounds. Because he was so large, he had to be removed with forceps, which caused his ear to almost be cut off, a punctured eardrum, and a deep gash from the left corner of his mouth down to his chin. (The scar from this is visible in some of his pictures.) However, he was not breathing and it was believed by the midwife that he was dead. He was therefore set on a table while the midwife turned her attention to Frank’s mother Dolly who was in danger of death. It was actually Frank’s aunt who realized that he was alive and saved him.
Every single time I think about this story I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for Frank’s aunt. She was clearly amazing. And so began the life of The Voice!
I would venture to say that Frank had a good childhood, even growing up as the child of Italian immigrants and the prejudices that brought. As the only child of his parents, however, he was admittedly a little spoiled. It is clear, though, that even as a child Frank always knew who he was and what he wanted. He didn’t decide that he wanted to become a singer until his teenage years, but that is part of a future post. But just take a look at the picture to the right. It is absolutely clear that even at the age of 8, Frank was who he was. The more I learn about him, the clearer it is that even from that moment on December 12, 1915 when he entered the world, Frank Sinatra was meant to be something.