I could tell you that Frank Sinatra’s first studio album was “The Voice of Frank Sinatra,” his film debut was in “Higher and Higher,” his first singing group was the Hoboken Four, his first wife was Nancy Barbato, and his first born was Nancy Sinatra, but everyone knows all this. Right? How about a few significant “firsts” that may not be on the tip of everyone’s tongue and you can decide if they should be or not.
“The Voice” was the first pop idol. This is huge because he paved the way for other mega-stars such as Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and, yes, Justin Bieber. His combination of talent, looks, and bad-boy with a vulnerable sort of sex appeal was just what the doctor ordered to get screaming Bobby soxers to faint in the aisles. It seems every generation had their own pop icon, but it started with Frank.
While I’m talking about that bad-boy reputation he earned – and it seems he did earn it, having been expelled from high school for rowdiness – his first arrest came in 1938 for seduction. After it was learned that the woman was married, the charges were changed to adultery. The charges were later dismissed, but the significance is how he would later use these character misgivings to his advantage instead of trying to change or hide his ways. Once again, think of current pop characters like Bieber attempting to stay relevant by staying in the press by misbehaving (whether it works for him or not is certainly debatable).
Sinatra’s first live album was “Sinatra at the Sands” in 1966 with Count Basie and his Orchestra with arrangements by Quincy Jones. This highlights how important Frank was in building Las Vegas into the world-class city it is today. His embracement of the town put it on the entertainment map and opened the doors for everyone else to have a reason to come to Vegas.
I’m happy he created the Entertainment Capital of the World and perhaps helped the Sin City nickname too because there’s no better place to call home.