Frank Sinatra is without question one of the biggest names in American musical history. He created dozens of hits and sold millions of records and was known for his unique and gorgeous singing style that was hard to define and impossible to ignore.
Though it is up for debate, most people agree that Frank Sinatra sang in the baritone register. Most musical experts have concluded that Sinatra’s voice most resembled a baritone more than any other classification.
Regardless of what type of voice he had, it won over millions of listeners during his impressive and storied career. Sinatra’s voice is still instantly recognizable and heralded as perhaps the greatest of all time.
The Life of Sinatra
Frank Sinatra, born Francis Albert Sinatra in 1915, was raised in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was the only child of Italian immigrants Natalina Garaventa and Antonino Martino Sinatra.
Sinatra’s birth was complicated and he had to be delivered with a pair of medical forceps, which caused injuries and damage to his cheek, neck, and ear. The damage to his ear was neer repaired and remained for the rest of his life.
Driven by his enthusiastic mother, young Sinatra quickly became engaged and interested in music. He was very fond of the popular big band jazz style that was all the rage in the 1920s and 30s.
Frank Sinatra idolized the work of Bing Crosby, Gene Austin, Bob Eberly, and more. He was given a ukulele for his 15th birthday and quickly took to performing for his family and friends.
Sinatra began to live and breathe music through his teenage years. After leaving high school, Sinatra spent his days singing for money in many clubs in New York.
The young performer became known for his consistent work at popular locations such as The Cat’s Meow and The Comedy Club. He also would sing for free on-location radio stations.
Sinatra would continue to sing in his 20s and joined a local singing group called the 3 Flashes, performing the baritone parts of music.
The group would later be renamed the Hoboken Four and Sinatra would become the lead singer. From there, Sinatra would find steady work singing at clubhouses and for local radio stations.
He would be signed to a two-year contract at the Paramount Theater in New York.
Sinatra found more success as the lead singer of the Tommy Dorsey band and began to make good money fronting the group. His work with Dorsey would lead to his first recordings that found success across the country.
In time, Sinatra would leave to play solo. As he entered the 1940s, Sinatra was poised to break big.
The 40s would find America enraptured with Sinatra and in the grips of what would be dubbed “Sinatramania”. It would be the beginning of a career that would last for decades and alter the music industry forever.
His Singing Style
There is no debate about Frank Sinatra’s talent. He was unquestionably a major star with serious talent and skill.
However, there is confusion and speculation about if Sinatra was classified as a baritone or tenor singer. The baritone style is the second-lowest singing range for males while the tenor style is the highest type of male voice.
It is hard to determine where exactly Sinatra’s voice resided but most people agree that he was a baritone, though he often was close to a tenor too.
Music critic Henry Pleasants once referred to Sinatra’s style as a “typical Italian light baritone with a two octave range.”
His voice changed over the years, especially in his later years. However, evidence suggests that he was a baritone singer throughout his life and that his voice in fact got deeper as he grew older.
Frank Sinatra’s beautiful baritone voice and his styling of music took the world by storm. He became the biggest thing in American music for decades and released multiple hits that are still played and respected today.
Despite the change in musical stylings over the years, Sinatra is still considered one of the greatest of all time.
He is known for more than just his voice. His personality and style were incredibly popular during his career and changed the way that people looked at popular musicians. He remains an iconic legend for many reasons.