Frank Sinatra turns 105 today. The singer who became so identified with the Big Band era of the 1940s, and who branched out to become one of the Entertainment world’s great icons of the 20th century, was born on this December 12th in 1915.
There is very little that hasn’t been written about, examined, pored over, analyzed and argued about concerning the career of Frank Sinatra. As the days of the Big band began to fade, Sinatra re-invented himself; becoming an Academy Award winning actor,producer, record label owner as well as continuing his legendary status as a singer, but branching into headier, more sophisticated territory while maintaining a presence in Pop Music.
This particular appearance is rare – in fact, it was never thought to have existed. I originally ran it several years ago via the other site I was briefly affiliated with, but hasn’t been reposted before today.
This concert was a benefit for the refugees of the Hungarian revolt, which took place in 1956. It was at the height of the Red Scare and the harrowing stories of Soviet tanks rumbling through Budapest and the flood of refugees, attempting to escape a totalitarian regime brought about this benefit concert, as a means of aiding relief efforts by various International agencies.
Aside from Frank Sinatra’s appearance, Dean Martin, Danny Thomas and Zaza Gabor were also recorded. Who else got recorded and managed to survive isn’t known at the moment. Suffice to say, when opening the tape box, simply labeled Hungarian Relief – November 30, 1956, I had little idea what was preserved inside. All the tapes were part of the inventory of a recording studio in Hollywood, which had gone out of business in the early 1970s.
So aside from the celebration of one of the truly great artists of the 20th century, it’s also the a chance to hear a rare and long-lost recording of Frank Sinatra, during his pivotal transformation of the mid-1950s.
Celebrations all around – and a happy birthday to The Chairman Of The Board.