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Frank: The Voice

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  878 ratings  ·  126 reviews
Bestselling author James Kaplan redefines Frank Sinatra in a triumphant new biography that includes many rarely seen photographs.

Frank Sinatra was the best-known entertainer of the twentieth century—infinitely charismatic, lionized and notorious in equal measure. But despite his mammoth fame, Sinatra the man has remained an enigma. As Bob Spitz did with the Beatles, Tina
ebook, 688 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2010)
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from 1955 to 1959 frank sinatra recorded four of the greatest and saddest albums of all time with four of the greatest album covers ever printed. check 'em out:

1955. In the Wee Small Hours:

1957. Where Are You?:

1958. Only the Lonely:

1959. No One Cares:

ranging from the lush & melancholy to the almost unbearably bleak, this is the finest collection of ballads, saloon songs, and torch songs sung by the greatest crooner of all time. (tied with morrissey who, incidentally, considers frank as on
This is the first volume of a two parter. It ends just after Sinatra wins an oscar for “From Here to Eternity” and ressurects a stagnant career. Kaplan is still working on the second part. Kaplan apparently took his cue from Gary Giddens’s two parter on Bing Crosby. He alludes to Giddens’s work several times. Frank is well written and thoroughly researched. Probably the best of the four Sinatra bios (I’ve also read several books that pertain more to Sinatra’s music) I’ve read although I read Ear ...more
Joy H.
Added 5/1/15. (This book was first published in 2010.)
5/2/15 - I listened to the unabridged audio of this book. It's disappointing to hear the downside of Sinatra's life. I'd rather remember him for all the enjoyment he gave us with his great talent. It seems it's always the first wives of celebrities who get the short end of the stick. Celebrities like Sinatra are subject to too much temptation.

At any rate, I'm reliving the days when the teenagers screamed and swooned when Sinatra sang. The bo
This is a pretty recent book. I think it came out in 2010. It covers Frank Sinatra's life up to the moment of the 1953 Oscar ceremony, when he awaited the verdict on his nomination as Best Supporting Actor for FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. (I won't tell you if he won or not.)
Chances are you have an opinion about the man and an opinion about the music. James Kaplan's book goes into great detail about Sinatra's climb.
What I came away with was a sense of how dependent entertainers were on newspaper column
I have always liked Sinatra's singing but didn't know much of his life beyond the Rat Pack image. I became interested to know more about him after seeing a couple of his films recently, and was intrigued by this book because it looks in detail at his early career, which I knew little about.

It's certainly a dramatic story, telling how the brilliant but troubled singer originally rose to fame as idol of the Bobbysoxers. He then saw his career plummet during his disastrous marriage to Ava Gardner,
This is the best biography, or should I say partial biography of Sinatra that I have read. This account only takes us up to 1953/54 and his Oscar win for From Here to Eternity, and you can be certain that Volume 2 which will likely cover the second half of his extraordinary career is in the works.

I love the work and artistry of Sinatra, the entertainer that I consider the finest singer and lyric interpreter of the American Song book.

I am not so in love with Sinatra, the man.

Kaplan appears to
This is really the story of how Frankie became Frank. Whereas other Sinatra tomes go through his entire life or just focus on the music, James Kaplan has pulled the reader into Francis Albert's beginnings up until Ava's goodbye. We get a deepened look at the man who changed song, along with some sweet asides about the songwriters, the conductors, and the loves of The Voice's rise-fall-rise before he took off into the stratosphere.

It all started with Mama Dolly. Abortionist, midwife, neighborhood
Carl Rollyson

Frank Sinatra makes good copy. Just ask Kitty Kelley, Pete Hamill and a host of other biographers who have charted the transformation of the small-fry singing sensation from Hoboken, N.J., into an international star. Excuse the hackneyed phrasing, but the style of James Kaplan's ambitious yet pedestrian tome is infectious.

A fresh approach this is not. Although he does add some worthy research to the story, Kaplan relies heavily on the previous Sinatra biographies, while indulging in clichés suc
JoAnne Pulcino
Finally a powerful and stirring biography about one of the most chronicled men in modern history. Never has Frank Sinatra’s complicated genius been taken as seriously and with such sensitivity.
This is an enthralling account of a true American icon that was the first show business phenomenon of the 20th century. He was, unquestionably, the greatest singer of the American Songbook.
Frank: The Voice chronicles the first four decades of his stunning ride to the pinnacle of success, and his equally st
Along with Buster Keaton, Marcel Duchamp, Howard Hughes, Duke Ellington, Louise Brooks and Fritz Lang, I think Frank Sinatra is an icon of the 20th Century - or in many ways he is the 20th Century. Famous, but still a mystery, and a man who saw things differently then everyone else. James Kaplan, the biographer, sees him as a genius, and if that is true, then he is a man pretty much made up by his inner personality - which is insecurity, doubt, and pure instinct.

The plus side of the book is that
One of the biggest problems of this biography, it's -as it says on the front cover- "reads like a romance".

The fact is, that- for me at least- I want facts when I read a biography. That's the whole purpose for me! And the facts in this one are few between all the gossip, reference to other Sinatra's biographies and a lot of romanticized information that NO ONE could ever know, like: "And then, Sinatra thought...", or "Sinatra was alone at home, looked through the window while smoking a cigarette
Michael Barcas
Should have bought it at a local NBS if not that too much price tag (The hell with it.) This 2015 will be the centennial year (birth) of the crooner. This James Kaplan bio is essential as Alex Gibney's 2-part docu on HBO; "Sinatra is a genuine and tortured artist."
I've read my fair share of Sinatra books. This is one of the better reads, and of course Sinatra is great material to work on. His path from Hoboken to stardom to having everything collapse around him and back to the top is an amazing one no matter who tells it. We are long since past the point where facts and myths merged anyway, so I'm fine with Kaplan now and then telling us how Sinatra feels. He has done a lot of good research and has good endnotes for most of his stories.

"Dean & Me", Ka
Kuriztee Rainbow
It took me six months to read. Not because of the book, just because of my surroundings.

Good book, reads very easy and "like a romance"

What I liked about this book is that the author not only goes beneath the surface of the life of Frank Sinatra but stays there and sort of stays WITH Frank so that even when it's the bad side of Frank that's being discussed you have patience and understanding. Most bio's on FS give you the story and that's all but the author lets you get to know him before the st
As usual the mother gets blamed. James Kaplan researches the life of "The Chairman of the Board" with slightly more diligence than the quantum researchers looking for the Higgs Boson. Letters, telegrams, books, interviews, playbills, unpublished reminiscences, police reports, and on and on Kaplan all get quoted as Kaplan delves into the singer/actor's life to a heretofore unfathomable depth. We know what Frank ate (not much apparently), when he slept (most importantly who he was sleeping with) a ...more
The worst biography I have ever read and perhaps the worst book I have read. Buried under clichés, blatant stereotypes, crude language, and riddled with inane comments, what was Doubleday thinking. Less than zero, Goodreads needs to establish negative star ratings for books like this.
Alex Robinson
It's very easy to reduce Sinatra to a Piscopo-esque caricature but Kaplan does a great job showing his subtler sides. I was disappointed that this one only covered up to 1953. Hopefully the author is hard at work on volume 2.
Troy Rodgers
Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan There’s something transcendent in Frank Sinatra’s voice. You can describe it as poetically as you like, but it’s something undefinable that he knew he had, understood what it was, and honed for maximum benefit. With that skill, combined with an intimate understanding of the songs he sang, he would move anyone to joy or to tears. He could make you feel loneliness or desperation or longing. In the days of the Big Bands, Sinatra was the vocalist who caused the ladie ...more
At almost 700 pages, the fact that this book kept me engaged almost speaks for itself. The legend, genius and, at times, crazed personality of the man from Hoboken is set before your eyes in amazing detail. This book is special largely due to the author’s style of writing, which makes you feel like you're there through what seems like an endless roller coaster ride -- cycles of arduous effort, success, struggle and disappointment. You learn about the key role his mother played, as a strong and p ...more
I love Frank Sinatra and his music. I'm fairly certain I came out of the womb singing one of his songs because my mother always played his music and my grandfather? Well he had a shrine to him in his house. I'm sure if you ask any Italian American who lived during the 20th century - Frank Sinatra is and always will be #1.

Kaplan's work here is incredible because it's just so much detail. In that though lies the issue - where exactly is this information coming from? Well I guess it comes from a lo
Don't pay too much attention to my 3 stars. I really liked this book! In particular, the descriptions of the music - the sessions, the songs, the arrangements, the musicians, the Voice! - are fabulous (or as Frank would say, "marvelous"), written by and for a real music lover, full of insight and wonder. The portrait of Frank Sinatra as an artist is excellent.
But I have to agree with the reviewers who complain that the book has too much of the ups and downs with Ava Gardner (hundreds of painful
The problem with "celebrity" biographies is that one begins such books with curiosity over certain aspects of their life, but then has to wade through endless detail of things one has little or no interest in.

The opening section, detailing his youth in Hoboken, NJ, was fascinating, as were sections dealing with his work in one of my favorite films, "From Here to Eternity." I got more than a bit bogged down reading about his many short and long affairs, particularly the tempestuous romance/marria
Ernest Noel
Kaplan does a brilliant job in this book by suggesting how the way Sinatra sang the song, grew out of the life of an artist every bit as confounding and conflicted as his era — a man by turns generous, attentive decent, then ugly, violently abusive to the point of cruelty. His parents kept a saloon in Hoboken, N.J., called Marty O'Brien's, which was his father's nom de guerre in the ring during his bantamweight career. He appears to have exercised little influence over his son; not so his mothe ...more
Surprise - the book ends, 700+ pages later... in 1954.
First of all, this is a great Bio of Sinatra, even handed, interesting and a page-turner. However, I can't help but think the book is mis-titled, as it takes the reader only up through Age 39.... Surely there's more to know of "The Voice" after that? After all, he died in 1998. It seems more like the title could have been "Sinatra and Ava - roots of an epic romance", as the author seems to build to Sinatra's relationship with Ava Gardner, th
I mostly enjoyed reading this book.
When I was a teenager Frank Sinatra was not someone I would listen to on a regular basis.
As I aged I began to notice what a terrific singer he could be on a number of his songs.
Of course I had heard some stories about his behavior, especially from friends who lived
in Los Angeles.

I said; "mostly enjoyed this book" because James Kaplan is one of those authors who repeats
dialogue in the book as if it were actually said. It makes for an interesting account of many
James Kaplan covers Frank Sinatra from his birth in 1915 to his Academy Award in 1954. Much of the research is from other published biographies (of which there are many) but, this is not meant to be a documentary biography. These 700+ riveting pages are meant to develop the complex personality and character of Frank Sinatra. The style of Kaplan's prose fits his subject. It wouldn't work for a bio of Lincoln or Pavarotti, but it suits Sinatra to a tee.

Besides an interpretive look at the familiar
Book: Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan.

Kaplan’s purpose in writing this book is to inform his audience on who Frank Sinatra really was. True, to many, he was nothing but an artist with an ego. To others, he was a man with a vision. Frank: The Voice describes Frank Sinatra’s life in great depth. It is not only a biography on the man himself, but also an 800-page portrait of how his experiences shaped him. It is surprising to find out how little the common man knows about Frank Sinatra. His voice
All I could think, as I got to the end of this great big doorstop of a book is, "Now I want to know what happened next!" This wonderful biography follows Frank Sinatra from birth up until his winning the Academy Award for From Here to Eternity in 1954. It was a very interesting read for me, a huge Sinatra fan, but I think it would hold interest for even a casual fan. Frank was like that. Provocative, complex, at times not the nicest man in the world. But fascinating.

From his over-bearing abusiv
Everton Patterson
Frank Sinatra's fascinating life story, very well-told. The author has a conversational, almost noir-ish, style that suits Sinatra's story to a t. The book covers Sinatra's life from birth to the day that he wins the Academy Award for his performance in From Here To Eternity in 1954, marking his comeback after several years of his career being in a slump subsequent to his first burst of stardom, as "The Voice", in the early 1940s. He is not yet 40 years old at the book's end, and it is pre-rat p ...more
Let me warn you that this 700+ page tome stops at 1954. There is no volume 2. There is no printing error. In the life of Frank Sinatra, the book comes to an abrupt halt at 1954 when he won the Oscar for his performance in From Here to Eternity (1953). 1954 is a pinnacle year for Frank Sinatra. After having a tremendous singing career and some nice roles in a few key films, Sinatra's career was in a major slump. Rock 'n Roll was making waves and girls stopped swooning over Frank Sinatra and start ...more
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James Kaplan is a novelist and nonfiction writer whose essays, reviews, and profiles have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and New York. He coauthored John McEnroes autobiography, You Cannot Be Serious, a number-one New York Times bestseller, and coauthored the bestselling Dean and Me with Jerry Lewis. He lives in Westchester, New York, with his wife a ...more
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“I’m a Fool” may not be a great song, but Sinatra’s shattering performance of it transcends the material. His emotion is so naked that we’re at once embarrassed and compelled: we literally feel for him.” 1 likes
“to be all the way across the country. “Dad was on the air in the middle of a radio show broadcast live from Hollywood” 0 likes
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