The Voice of Frank Sinatra
Before rock music became mainstream in the mid fifties, traditional pop was popular because of its catchy lyrics and simple melodies. For many traditional pop artists, their most popular hits were American standards, or songs that were already well known by the public. Many artists however took these traditional, well known-songs and put their own spins on them. Some of the most well-known pop singers who took their own styles upon these well known songs were Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Peggy Lee, and Ella Fitzgerald. This new spin on traditional pop drew influence from swing, big band, and jazz music.
Before pop however, crooning, a new style of music, became popular in the early 30s. Electric sound recording had emerged in the late 20s, and as a result, this new technology helped bring about new styles of music. Swing bands were popular in almost all major cities during the 30s and 40s. one of the most famous bands was that of Glen Miller, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman. In 1944, Miller was killed in a plane crash and this marked the end of the swing era. After the war, inflation made large bands (such as swing bands) unprofitable and so popular music in the US came to be dominated instead by crooners and traditional pop, some of the most famous crooners being Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.
An iconic voice, Sinatra is one that will always be remembered. In 1940, one of Frank Sinatra’s first hit was a song called “Polka Dots and Moonbeams”, which he recorded with Tommy Dorsey and his band. One of Sinatra’s first solo songs, “Accidents Will Happen”, was first recorded by Bing Crosby and later recorded by Sinatra in 1950 (Crosby was the one who inspired a young Sinatra to become a singer in the first place). On Sinatra’s first album, “The Voice of Frank Sinatra”, his jazzy voice was accompanied by a four-piece rhythm section and a string quartet, Sinatra carrying this jazz standard style throughout his musical career. Sinatra was credited to opening a whole new era in pop music, using big orchestras in his music. Sinatra’s jazz-infused style of singing opened an era of music that put the vocalist at the forefront instead of the band leader as had been the case during the “Big Band” era.