A celebration of Frank Sinatra, greatest male vocalist of the 20th Century, with Robert Harris

On the anniversary of Sinatra's birth, Robert explains the craft, the determination and the sheer hard work that went into creating that effortless voice.
Frank Sinatra in recording studio, circa 1956. (Credit: AP Photo/Herman Leonard, National Portrait Gallery)

Las Vegas comedian Shecky Greene once credited Frank Sinatra with saving his life.

"I was being beaten up badly by a couple of thugs and Frank said; 'That's enough, guys.'"

That's the popular image of Sinatra; the brawling, boisterous Rat Packer who liked to talk about "booze and broads." But beyond all the bad behaviour and the scandals, there was Sinatra the pure musician, the greatest male vocalist of the 20th Century.
Frank Sinatra backstage at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles after the taping of "Sinatra: 80 Years My Way" in 1995. (Kevork Djansezian/Associated Press)

He had the sensitivity of Puccini, the trained ear of Stravinsky, the musicality of Verdi. He was a perfectionist who would spend hours studying the lyrics of a song until he got it just right. 

Our guide to the music of Frank Sinatra, is Robert Harris.
Musicologist and broadcaster Robert Harris (CBC)

Robert is a long-time music journalist, writer, teacher and broadcaster.  From 2000-2008, he was the host and producer of "I Hear Music", a weekly show presented on CBC Radio 2. He is the author of two books, What To Listen For in Mozart, and What To Listen For in Beethoven. You can listen to his outstanding series, "Twenty Pieces of Music that Changed the World", here.

And you can also listen here, to Robert's picks for the best and the worst Christmas music.

Please note that we cannot include this celebration of the music of Frank Sinatra in our podcast of December 6, 2015, for music copyright reasons. However, it can be heard online in Canada here.

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