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Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan
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Frank: The Voice (2010)

by James Kaplan

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A great read. Every once in a while there is a passage that is a little overly-gossip column-like and that got under my nerves a bit, but other than that I loved this. Definitely reading part two, which is even longer. Never thought I'd read 1600 pages about Frank Sinatra, but there you have it. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Feb 28, 2019 |
A very well done bio on the early years of Frank Sinatra's most storied life and career. I was not a big fan and he was before my time but I am glad I was able experience his really amazing life in this work.

Maybe one of the most talented and flawed men in the entertainment world certainly there was, and are no more of his ilk. The crash and burn and the Phoenix rise make for a rather riveting read that James Kaplan reveals spectacularly.

It made me revisit the early recordings and marvel at the talent and ponder what went into their production as relayed in the book. The tumultuous nature of his marriages was also fascinating. The contrast between Nancy and Ava could not be more revealing to his compulsions and obsessions. There is a lot here to put together many of the pieces of this complex man. I look forward to the second edition and am left with one thing that stands out from this one; few have probably packed more into a lifetime then this guy. ( )
  knightlight777 | Jun 12, 2018 |
This is a must read for any Sinatra fan. I can't even imagine how much work Kaplan did researching this, the amount of detail is amazing. I love reading biographies where when you finish you feel like you know/knew the person, this is definitely one of those. ( )
  Charlie_Boling | Apr 19, 2017 |
Seemingly well researched accounts of a troubled, temperamental individual. I've always been a Sinatra fan and I still am, despite his less than perfect attitudes. The writing is clear and engaging, but it does come off as a bit gossipy at times. ( )
  hhornblower | Feb 7, 2017 |
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 politico. She was the one who shaped young Frankie, made him into the man he became, which isn't exactly Mr. Cool. Through his relentless quest to be better than Der Bingle, to his alienation of much of Hollywood, past his pursuit of Ava Gardner, to his sudden comeback, we get a solid picture of what made this guy the best of the best of the best.

There is a good section of the book devoted to Ava Gardner, of whom I had little interest or knowledge of before I read this, but now I want to know more about her. In my view, that means Kaplan did his job. It's also obvious that the author loves music, as evidenced when he suddenly describes some of Frankie's earlier songs and, especially, as the bowties disappear and the fedora and lamp post take over.

Sinatra was a lifelong Dodger fan, so I felt heartened to know that his favorite color scheme was orange and black...the colors of the Giants (it's worth another hour or so just to read Kaplan's notes/sources section).

Book Season = Summer (when the swinging begins) ( )
  Gold_Gato | Sep 16, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
James Kaplan’s Frank: The Voice is authentically a page-turner, a strident tabloid epic constructed out of facts—or more precisely out of the disparate and sometimes contradictory testimony of scores of participants in Frank Sinatra’s early life. There is certainly enough testimony to choose from; pieces of Sinatra, variously skewed and distorted, are scattered all over the latter part of the twentieth century. But they hardly converge into a unified portrait: confronted with the multitude of Sinatras that one must attempt to resolve into a single plausible person, there is a gathering sense of unsettling dissonance quite at odds with the perfected harmonies of his greatest recordings.
 
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Sinatra endowed the songs he sang with the explosive conflict of his own personality. He also made the very act of listening to pop music a more personal experience than it had ever been. In "Frank: The Voice," Kaplan reveals how he did it, bringing deeper insight than ever before to the complex psyche and turbulent life behind that incomparable vocal instrument.… (more)

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