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  • Writer's pictureCat T. Gardiner

The Big Apple's Story - #3

I have to admit, I'm sweet on young Frank Sinatra. His voice, particularly in the early years of his career does things to me, takes me far away. Those 1940 session recordings with Tommy Dorsey and The Pied Pipers w/ Jo Stafford are my go-to romance songs.

* * * F R A N K S I N A T R A * * *

The date was December 30, 1942 and the singer known then as "The Voice" hit the stage for his first solo concert at the Paramount Theater, a massive movie palace located at 43rd Street and Broadway. Francis Albert Sinatra had gained quite a following from his beginning days singing with Harry James followed by Tommy Dorsey. He'd already had a fifteen-week #1 Billboard hit with "I'll Never Smile Again," but the dam broke when Lucky Strike's Your Hit Parade featured him in their radio program. A younger audience fell hard and fast, which introduced the term: "Bobby-soxer" for their rolled down white socks.

“Not since the days of . . . Valentino has American womanhood made such unabashed public love to an entertainer.” – Time, 1943

That first concert at the Paramount brought out five thousand swooning and shrieking young women, some crying and fainting at just the sight of him. Traffic was at a standstill and riots even broke out! Benny Goodman, Sinatra's band accompaniment was speechless - immobilized - with shock at the frenzied screaming and applause! The Voice performed for six weeks, came back to the Paramount in July '43, then again in October '44 (above photograph.) By that time, he was a recording and movie sensation and his Bobby-soxer fans had increased to such a size and fever pitch that the 1944 wild crowd outside the Paramount was named "The Columbus Day Riot."

Yes, Frank had arrived and would continue captivating women and audiences over three generations as THE greatest voice, adding other nicknames such as "The Chairman of the Board, "Ol' Blue Eyes" as one of the popular members of "The Rat Pack" during the 1950s and '60s.

1944 Concert (no sound)

It's the sexual appeal, I think - much like the Beatles Bobby-soxer craze. As skinny as the young singer from Hoboken, NJ was, there was a sort of allure about him. Maybe it was his smile or maybe it was just "the voice."

KEEP 'EM FLYING, friends and until next time, I'll leave you with Frank and the Pied Pipers in "Stardust" What do you think of young Frank Sinatra?

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