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We're here with James Kaplan who is the author of the new Frank Sinatra biography called -- the voice welcome it's great to be here.
So you've written books with Jerry Lewis and with John McEnroe yes why did you pick Frank Sinatra -- -- the subject of your first biography.
I work with the big cats I wish kind of consent anger management cases IE.
I A do you I I did this book with Jerry Lewis and in the process -- interviewing him we talked a lot.
And then as we are finishing up the book and Jerry invited me to the 2004 telethon.
Which is an LA that your one night I went out to dinner with a bunch of musicians who were on the show and we went to an Italian restaurant Santa Monica.
We ate a lot we drank a lot and we had a lot of fun and it turned out about an hour to this dinner everybody was loosened up that everyone on these musicians had worked with Sinatra.
And so high and key which is there's a guy not a journalist kind of -- my hands ready for the that gossip to -- that start about you know the women and that fistfights in the mob.
But instead every one of these guys was speaking in -- of all about what a total musical genius Sinatra was this meant.
Who couldn't read a note of music these guys were all fantastic musicians who could read a score inside and out.
They were talking about Sinatra is being head and shoulders above them and so that that really struck me and it was getting to be time to do my next book and I thought.
You know here's a way of looking at Sinatra as other biographers have -- a certain what that compete for as as the genius as a complicated guy.
So was his genius what made him that top dog of all of these top dogs and is there anything else about his personality that.
Somehow lifted him above his -- Well it all had to do with the singing in -- role had to do with the voice and one of the big since that one of the two big surprises for me about doing this book was how incredibly hard he worked on that for it's on every part of it.
Breath control on getting the voice from his -- -- down into -- chest.
-- studying the lyrics to a song as if -- home before -- ever saying a note of music.
He really learned to live inside those songs that he sang and that combined with the fact that he was he's kind of been damaged guy he was he was damaged at -- physically.
He was thirteen pounds plus -- birth and the doctor yanked him out with forceps scarred up the left side of this face he's very self conscious about that.
Self conscious about being small about being Italian American the -- -- a lot of neuroses.
Filtered into the songs along with this -- -- understanding in this amazing match -- year for music made -- the singer like no no other.
-- really think -- Sinatra is a vulnerable -- Yeah incentives he's seen -- Harden just guys in hard drink are hardly a very hard to work area.
And what else about his vulnerability surprised you.
Well his vulnerability I think made an enormously.
Appealing to women.
From the very beginning of his career when he as a young man he found that when he would get up on the bandstand.
If he put a little catch in his voice when he singing one of his sets off balance.
But that girls would just melt and so he learned to use what he felt naturally he learned to use that.
To attract women off the bandstand and on the -- there.
What was Sinatra's big break.
His big break was going to work for Tommy Dorsey and nineteen and 1939.
Tommy Tommy Dorsey was the he was the star of the land he's the greatest band leader of the United States at a time when the big bands where everything.
When singers with the bands -- that said we're the second feature.
On the show.
-- the star was really the band leader and Tommy Dorsey was a superstar.
And what did he see in Sinatra that made him want.
To have this skinny little Italian kid be his singer.
Wasn't what he saw was what he heard -- that he first heard Sinatra on the radio and he heard this voice that didn't sound like anybody else this is the voice that had never.
The likes of which had never been heard before.
Bing Crosby came along before Sinatra and that was a new voice -- was a voice that was directed masculine and easy and it felt as though he's talking right to you.
Sinatra had that feeling too only he was sort of -- hotter character and Crosby.
A lot of passion in this music and again a lot of vulnerability.
Dorsey who had a great year himself genius trombonist genius band leader.
Heard that and Sinatra's voice and -- I gotta have this guy.
You mentioned the passion in his voice he also had a passion for the lady suggests tell me a little bit about his women problems and if that's how he dealt with women.
Well you might call them problems I mean -- men the women started coming at him from the beginning of this career day he was magnetic.
He was as I say scarred but it didn't matter he was there was certain beauty to -- and electricity and those bright blue eyes.
The vulnerability really caught women the way he sang a song.
They begin throwing themselves at him from the beginning despite the fact that Sinatra married in 1939.
Didn't matter he he.
Gratefully accepted all offers and there were hundreds and hundreds if not thousands -- them along the way did he have a eleven of his life.
Ava Gardner was the love of his life he first met her in 1941 when she's just nineteen years old and then they.
Really got together in the late forties and that was when Sinatra left his wife and children for -- garden.
He sounds so tortured behind the scene -- think he was ever happy.
When listen I think he was happy when he was.
He's having a nice moment with a lady I think that he was happy when the happiness of all.
When he was making great records that for him with everything it came ahead of everything came -- of friends.
He made a lot of movies but recording.
Songs was everything for him.
Now your book leaves Sinatra in 1954 cracked march 25 54 the night he won the Oscar.
Do you have plans to write a second book I think this book demands that -- second book but I think the second book is a very different book this.
This this book here is about the rise of Frank Sinatra it's a story that's less told that people know less about it's about Sinatra.
Ten years before Elvis as The -- twenty years before The Beatles.
He was the first national superstar Andy had a sixty year career this is about the beginnings of that career.
That book is called frank the voice and the author is James Kaplan.
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