Frank Sinatra's big break came inb 1939 when Harry James signed him to appear with his new swing band. After touring with James he rose to prominence with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra (1940-2).
Breaking away from Dorsey, in 1943 he began working solo and serving as emcee on the popular radio programme, Lucky Strike Hit Parade. He quickly emerged as one of the earliest and most adulated teen idols, and the hysteria he engendered in his ‘bobby-soxer' fans culminated in rioting at the Paramount Theatre in New York on Columbus Day, 1944.
He remained a popular radio star throughout the 1940s and recorded many hits for Columbia Records (1943-52), but becoming unhappy with conditions there he moved to Capitol Records (1953-62). His recordings during this period came to epitomize American popular singing at its finest, with a style that maintained fidelity to a song's lyric and mood while imbuing it with subtle elements of jazz beat and phrasing. In 1960 he was a co-founder of Reprise Records, which he recorded for exclusively after 1963.
This work brought him into the Hollywood community, where he became a member of the ‘Rat Pack', a group that included his occasional concert partners, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin.
He announced his retirement in 1971 but he returned for various concerts and tours in the next two decades. Among the many testaments to his special status as a pop superstar was his 1980 recording of ‘New York, New York' which made him the first singer in history to have hit records in five consecutive decades.
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