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Frank: The Voice

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,807 ratings  ·  208 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 centuryinfinitely 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
Hardcover, 800 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  1,807 ratings  ·  208 reviews

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Dec 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, bio-autobio
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 Giddenss two parter on Bing Crosby. He alludes to Giddenss work several times. Frank is well written and thoroughly researched. Probably the best of the four Sinatra bios (Ive also read several books that pertain more to Sinatras music) Ive read although I read Earl ...more
Brooklyn Tayla
James Kaplan has penned what is one of the most spectacular biographies I've ever read. A rabid Sinatra fan; it was thrilling for me to discover lots of things I hadn't learnt about Ol Blue Eyes :) definitely can't wait to read book 2 :)
J. Kahele
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I think of Frank Sinatra the words of the song, Fly me to the moon, float into my mind, taking me back to my parents house as a kid.
Too bad Frank, didnt share the fond memories. I did as a child. Scarred at birth by forceps, a doctor tossing him on a counter, leaving him to die, while giving his full attention to his mother. His start at life was not good.
His voice was his escape, his golden ticket and the man seemed to be on the verge of complete happiness, but his choices and his ego,
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Joy H.
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Jun 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book to review. It has a tremendous amount of detailed information about Frank Sinatra. For me, that was a positive and a negative. Having detailed info is good, but I finally got tired of reading that much detail. If I were a huge Sinatra fan who wanted to learn as much as possible about Sinatra, I would feel differently about the amount of detailed info in the book.

While the author includes a ton of info about the part of Sinatra's life the book focuses on, the book addressed only
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Brian Willis
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As with most other popular culture icons, biographers examine the National Enquirer tabloid style details about Frank, and what is not to like with that approach? Mafia ties, tons of women, excessive drinking, tragedy and triumph and more tragedy and triumph. None truly explore how his talent worked, his psychological motivations and needs, as well as what made the man tick.

This biography is the first to do that. The lurid details are here, especially in the section dealing with Ava Gardner
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Carl Rollyson
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it

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
Jan 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I read the second book of Kaplan's two-part Sinatra bio first. Having done this, I think if you haven't read either book you should read The Voice first if you want to better appreciate it. Reading Sinatra: The Chairman first, I found I enjoyed this book more because I found this era of Sinatra's life more interesting. In The Voice, there's so much to muddle through and it's not all happy. To me the book didn't really start rolling until he met Ava, and right when it gets to a pivotal moment in ...more
Danusha Goska
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
James Kaplan's "Frank: The Voice" offers an intimate portrait of a truly weird human being, a portrait as deep as anything you might read in an Ancient Greek tragedy. Sinatra's life was intertwined with the lives of major entertainment figures like Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Louis B. Mayer, and of course Ava Gardner, as well as Mafiosi, and politicians. This book offers a panoply of life in mid-twentieth-century America.

I'd read two previous Sinatra books: Kitty Kelley's "His Way: The
Stewart Mitchell
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sinatra: a complicated figure, as every person is when looked at under a microscope. A man with many talents and many fears, many accomplishments and many shortcomings. Unparalleled singer, irresponsible husband, unbalanced actor, scandalous celebrity. An American legend, in the truest sense.

Kaplan's biography, divided into two books, covers every aspect of Sinatra's life, from his musical and film careers to his family life and failed relationships to his personal struggles and mommy issues.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal. Now to gear up for the second half!
Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
JoAnne Pulcino
Finally a powerful and stirring biography about one of the most chronicled men in modern history. Never has Frank Sinatras 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
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Tori C.
Jun 04, 2012 rated it liked it
The book Frank Sinatra: The Voice by James Kaplan is the story of Frank Sinatra. It talks about his early life, including his childhood and his family. It also talks about how he got his fame, starting in clubs and bars and moving up to Times Square and the Paramount. Also it talks a lot about his family and why Sinatra was the way he was.
I didnt really like this book, maybe because we had to read it for school. It would be interesting for someone who is interested about Sinatra, but it didnt
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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",
Barry Hammond
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part 1 of a massive two-volume set this compulsively readable Sinatra biography, which has been compared favorably to Peter Guralnick's equally massive tome on Elvis, this volume covers Frank's rise to stardom in the big band swing era, his downward trajectory after the war years when he could barely get a job, and the beginning of his mid-fifties rebirth, when he won an Oscar for the film "From Here To Eternity." James Kaplan presents the full picture: the musical and lyrical genius, the ...more
Aug 11, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Michael Barcas
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
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."
Alex Robinson
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music, bio
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.
Oct 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Clay Davis
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
The book was long enough to record his entire life but stops after he wins the Academy Award.
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lots of details of Frank's life up through 1954
Steven Meyers
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Kaplan's first book of his Frank Sinatra two-volume biography was published in 2011. 'Frank' covers the years from 1915 through 1954. At almost 720 pages, there was never a dull moment while reading it. Heck, even Mr. Sinatra's birth, beginning on page one, was dramatic. Ole Blue Eyes is a great study of the nature of celebrity and one man's insatiable ego. Sinatra was clearly recognized as a musical genius despite his inability to read music sheets. Each song and performance was unique ...more
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James Kaplan has been writing noted biography, journalism, and fiction for more than four decades. The author of Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman, the definitive two-volume biography of Frank Sinatra, he has written more than one hundred major profiles of figures ranging from Miles Davis to Meryl Streep, from Arthur Miller to Larry David.

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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.” 3 likes
“One cool morning—a rainstorm had swept through the night before; now the City of Angels sparkled like Eden itself—he was walking between soundstages in Culver City, carrying a cardboard cup of coffee, nodding to this glorious creature (dressed as a harem girl), then that glorious creature (a cowgirl), then that glorious creature (a secretary?)—they all smiled at him—when he ran into, of all people, an old pal of his from the Major Bowes days, a red-haired pianist who’d bounced around the Midwest in the 1930s, Lyle Henderson (Crosby would soon nickname him Skitch). Henderson was strolling with a creature much more glorious, if possible, than the three Sinatra had just encountered. She was tall, dark haired, with sleepy green eyes, killer cheekbones, and absurdly lush lips, lips he couldn’t stop staring at. Frankie! Henderson said, as they shook hands. His old chum was doing all right these days. Sinatra smiled, not at Henderson. The glorious creature smiled back bashfully, but with a teasing hint of directness in her dark eyes. The pianist—he was doing rehearsal duty at the studio—then got to say the six words that someone had to say, sometime, but that he and he alone got to say for the first time in history on this sparkling morning: Frank Sinatra, this is Ava Gardner.” 2 likes
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