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Frank Sinatra (Born: 12 December 1915  Died: 14 May 1998)

Francis Albert Sinatra was born in New Jersey to an Italian immigrant family. In a career spanning 60 years, Sinatra was the first teen music idol, an Oscar winning actor, and of course, owner of one of the smoothest, most distinctive voices in the history of music. With his chiseled good looks and piercing blue eyes, Sinatra was the total package. He started his music career in the Swing era performing with Harry James and then joined Tommy Dorsey and his big band. Going solo in 1943, it was not long before he became the number 1 idol of American screaming-teen bobby soxers. His stints performing in Las Vegas with fellow Rat Packers Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford are the stuff of showbiz legend and elevated his status from teen idol to globally successful King of the Crooners. The tracks in this sample of Sinatra’s majesty represent the extraordinary range and power of his voice. All have become firm fan favourites, including Chicago, Come Fly With Me, and Love and Marriage. Listen and you’ll understand why Sinatra said: “Throughout my career, if I have done anything, I have paid attention to every word I sing – if I respect the song, if I cannot project that to a listener, I fail.” Sinatra’s music has been influential in the careers of many artists, both in his lifetime and beyond. You can see and hear the spirit of Sinatra in the works of Harry Connick Jnr. and Michael Buble. Other artists influenced by Ol’ Blue Eyes include Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Robbie Williams, Bono, and The Killers’ Brandon Flowers.

Dean Martin (Born: 7 June 1917  Died: 25 December 1995)

Known as the King of Cool, Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in Ohio. Before becoming ‘Dean Martin’, he was a bootleg liquor runner, a speakeasy croupier and a boxer, known as Kid Crochet.  His career in show business started with the musical comedy duo he formed with comedian Jerry Lewis. The pair made a successful move into movies, making 16 comedy films in the 1950s. After splitting with Lewis, Martin joined Sinatra in Las Vegas as part of the Rat Pack. These legendary shows featured songs by each of the individual artists, duets and trios peppered with adult-themed comedy and chat. The songs included in this collection demonstrate just why Playboy magazine called him “the coolest man on earth.” Inspired by Bing Crosby and Perry Como, here Martin delivers both the swing and the swoon that made him great, including Memories Are Made Of This, Thats Amore and Sway.

Tony Bennett (Born: 3 August 1926)

Tony Bennett was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in New York City. The child of Italian immigrants, Bennett grew up poor and witnessed the ravages of The Great Depression, making him a lifelong supporter of the Democrats in the US. Influenced by artists like Count Basie, Art Tatum, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat “King” Cole and Frank Sinatra, Bennett owes his career breakthrough to movie star Bob Hope who saw him perform in Greenwich Village in 1949. Impressed with what he heard, Hope promptly took Benedetto on tour with him suggesting he change his name to Tony Bennett because it was much easier to pronounce. Warned by his management early in his career not to step on Sinatra’s toes, Bennett became a commercially successful pop crooner with hits like  Because Of You, Stranger In Paradise and I Left My Heart In San Francisco – a Recording Industry of America’s Song of the Century. Bennett’s appeal has not waned. He has been embraced by a new, younger audience and has influenced many contemporary artists. He headlined at the Glastonbury Music Festival in 1998, sang with the late Amy

Andy Williams (Born: 3 December 1927  Died: 25 September 2012)

Howard Andrew Williams was born in Iowa and came to national and international prominence largely through his music and television variety shows in the 1950s. With his brothers he formed the Williams Brothers Quartet in the late 1930s who had the distinction of recording with Williams’ idol Bing Crosby on his track, Swinging On A Star. Williams went solo in 1953 and in his long and distinguished music career, many of his songs have become easy listening standards including his sublime recording of Stranger On The Shore, included in this collection. Running parallel to his music career, Williams enjoyed success throughout the fifties and sixties with his TV variety show.  It was on this show that The Osmond Brothers received their first break. Williams mentored and supported them throughout their careers.

Bobby Darin (Born: 14 May 1936  Died: 20 December 1973)

Born Walden Robert Casotto in New York City, Bobby Darin started out as a songwriter at the Brill Building hit factory in New York City where he wrote songs for pop artists, including the first female pop star, Connie Francis. Darin had hits as a performer too with self-penned songs including Splish Splash, Dream Lover and Multiplication. Pop was getting somewhat crowded with new teen idols so he made a change in musical direction, going for a more grown up sound, recording peerless versions of songs like Mack The Knife and La Mer (Beyond The Sea.) Mack The Knife is included in the Recording Industry of America’s Songs of the Century.

Sammy Davis, Jr. (Born: 8 December 1925  Died: 16 May 1990)

Known as Mr Show Business and Mr Entertainment, Sammy Davis Jnr referred to himself as “the only black, Puerto Rican, one-eyed, Jewish entertainer in the world.” Born in New York City, he started out in Vaudeville with his father and uncle, and was never in one place long enough to receive a formal education. He was given his big break by Frank Sinatra in 1947 who invited him to play on the bill with him in Hollywood. This would be the start of an enduring friendship that lasted until Davis died in 1990. Davis signed to Decca in 1954. That same year he survived a car crash. Frank Sinatra paid his medical bills and helped to get him performing again.  It was at this point he converted to Judaism. The songs included here such as The Lady Is A Tramp, That Old Black Magic, and What Kind Of Fool Am I, are testament to Davis’ enduring talent and appeal. Davis was pivotal in breaking down racial barriers in America. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin refused to play at segregated venues and Davis is credited as having helped eradicate racial segregation in Miami Beach and Las Vegas. He has influenced stars including Liza Minelli, Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy.

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