It must be hard sometimes to live in the shadow of famous parents, especially if you decide to follow in their footsteps, down the same musical path.
Francis Wayne Sinatra – son of Frank, and the younger brother of Nancy – is no exception.
By his early teens he was performing at local clubs and venues, and at the of age nineteen he became the vocalist for Sam Donahue’s band. He also spent considerable time with Duke Ellington, learning the business inside out, the hard way.
Frank Jr. spent most of these early years on the road and by 1968 he had performed in 47 states and 30 countries, and already guested on several television shows
In 1965 he released his first album, Young Love For Sale, two years after being kidnapped (at the age of nineteen.) He was released two days later, after his father paid the $240,000 fee demanded by the people in question, who had demanded that all communication to be conducted by payphone.
During those conversations, Frank Sr. became so concerned that he would not have enough change, that he carried a roll of dimes with him at all times for the rest of his life – he was even buried with 10 dimes in his pocket.
Years later in 1988, at Frank Sr.’s request, Frank Jr. placed his own career on hold in order to act as musical director and conductor for his beloved dad.
In poet/vocalist Rod McKuen’s words: “As the senior Sinatra outlived one by one all of his conductors and nearly every arranger, and began to grow frail himself, his son knew he needed someone that he trusted near him. Frank Jr. was also savvy enough to know that performing was everything to his dad and the longer he kept that connection with his audience, the longer he would stay vital and alive.”
Frank Sinatra Jr’s voice comes scarily close to that of his fathers, but that is definitely no bad thing.
Watch him above in a wonderful, swinging rendition of The Turtles classic, ‘Happy Together’.
Words: Anders Knudsen