“His name is Sinatra, and he thinks he’s the best voice in the business. Would you believe it? Nobody’s ever heard of him. He’s never had a hit, and looks like a wet rag, but he says he’s the greatest!” So said bandleader Harry James to a newspaper in 1939 about his latest prospect, one Francis Albert Sinatra. Frank Sinatra was arguably the single most influential vocalist of the twentieth century, and definitely the one who lived the most outsized life. The new book Frank Sinatra: A Life In Pictures captures some of the greatest shots of him over the course of a monumental 50-year career.
As the title indicates, this is primarily a book of photographs. I have to give credit to the introductory text however. While this 15-page biography is certainly no Frank: The Voice, it does a nice job of outlining the broad strokes of Sinatra’s life.
Obviously though, the attraction is the pictures, and there are some beauties in here. There are a number of well-known photos, such as the mug shot that hung in Tony Soprano’s office in The Sopranos. Other notable pictures include Frank with JFK and with Ava Gardner. There are also quite a number of vintage movie posters and album covers reproduced.
What I found most intriguing however were the not-so-famous pictures, of which there are a great many. From a candid shot of Frank (on the phone) in the kitchen with first wife Nancy, and daughter Nancy (1943), all the way up to an image captured live in concert in 1984, these photos are the real reason to buy Frank Sinatra: A Life In Pictures.
With so much little-known material, the book is a treasure trove to be sure. The main complaint I have is that I wish there were more Rat Pack pictures, because for a lot of us fans, this was his definitive period. That point is certainly open to debate however, with an artist whose career spanned decades. This is a truly marvelous collection of pictures, and I doubt that any Frank Sinatra fan will be disappointed by it.