A musical legend
MENTION his name today and younger people will most probably say they have never hard of him.
But to earlier generations Frank Paul LoVecchio remains a living musical legend.
He is best known by his stage name Frankie Laine, born in 1913, his father being mobster Al Capone’s personal barber. And he remains one of the biggest hit-makers of late 1940s/early 1950s, with more than 70 charted records, 21 gold records, and worldwide sales of over 250 million.
His 1946 recording of That's My Desire remains a landmark record signalling the end of both the big bands and the crooning styles favoured by contemporaries Dick Haymes and Frank Sinatra. Often called the first of the blue-eyed soul singers, Laine's style cleared the way for many artists who arose in the late 40s and early 50s, including Kay Starr, Tony Bennett, Johnnie Ray and Elvis Presley.
Throughout the 1950s, Laine enjoyed a second career singing the title songs over the opening credits of Hollywood films and television shows, including: Gunfight At OK Corral, 3:10 To Yuma, Bullwhip and Rawhide. His rendition of the title song for Mel Brooks' 1974 hit movie Blazing Saddles won an Oscar nomination for Best Song. His "Greatest Hits" album, released in 1957, has been a perennial best seller that has never gone out of print.
In 1953 he set two more records (this time on the UK charts): weeks at No 1 for a song ("I Believe," which held the number one spot for 18 weeks), and weeks at No 1 for an artist in a single year (27 weeks: a little over half the year, when "Hey Joe!" and "Answer Me" became number one hits as well). He recorded his last song to date, "Taps/My Buddy," shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attack on America.
Frankie Laine lives in semi-retirement in the San Diego area of California,
Written by The Editor - 30/01/2007 20:09:56
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