Introduction FRANK SINATRA "You know, you can wait around and hope, but I'll tell you, you'll never see the likes of this again."
When Sinatra spoke these words in 1974's That's Entertainment, he was referring to a clip of Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell dancing across the screen in Broadway Melody of 3940. He might as easily have been talking about himself. Frank Sinatra defined the best of American popular music and was an integral part of the era that would produce the greatest body of music the civilized world has ever heard. As for those who had the good fortune to experience Sinatra performing live, they know how lucky they are. They witnessed, without question, the greatest entertainer of the twentieth century.
In today's environment of instant celebrity and superstars who burn out after five years, it is hard to fathom the full extent of Sinatra's fifty-plus-year career and the impact it had on generations of people across the world. This book attempts to impart a small slice of the Sinatra magic and history in its pages. Thanks to the Sinatra children (Nancy Jr., Frank Jr., and Tina) and their tireless and unending efforts to preserve and ensure their father's legacy, you now have access to priceless memorabilia, memories, and mementos from Sinatra's storied career.
In creating this book, the goal was simple to weave together the stories of Sinatra's life with memorabilia from the archives to create a collection of Sinatra's treasures. The major problem in searching the archives for mementos and photos was not what to include but what to leave out. If not for space limitations, this book could easily weigh upward of a thousand pounds! The pieces chosen will allow the reader to experience some of what it was like to be part of Sinatra's amazing life and career. Generations that never had the pleasure of witnessing that certain something that was Sinatra now have that chance, at least in part.
In writing the text it was crucial that we share what really happened as remembered by the people who were there. History has a way of being rewritten as the stories drift farther and farther from its players. Sadly, many of those who worked and played and lived alongside Frank Sinatra are no longer here to tell us what it was like. I feel privileged to have met many of the voices that grace these pages. Without them, the story could not be complete.
In 1993 those around Sinatra knew his performing days were drawing to a close. While we were aware he wouldn't be around forever, we consoled ourselves with the fact that his legacy would continue to entertain generations for years to come. In that same year, Sinatra said, "I consider myself among the luckiest people in the world to have been able to make a career out of what I love to do-interpret wonderful music."
Truth be told, we are the lucky ones. -Charles Pignone September 2003