Charles Pignone’s new book SINATRA 100 is perhaps the definitive book for those who love Frank Sinatra. It is a large-format book with more than 400 black and white photos (many previously never released) and is jacketed with a screen-printed acetate, making it one of the most beautiful books about a single personality I have ever seen.
Frank Sinatra was born 100 years ago. I struggle to think of a singer who has contributed more to the recording arts. To listen to a Frank Sinatra recording is to forget about everything around you and become fully immersed in the song. Many of the recordings are truly iconic—“Theme from New York, New York,” “My Way,” “Love and Marriage,” “In Other Words (Fly Me to the Moon),” “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road” and there is so much more.
Then there is Frank Sinatra the Academy award-winning actor. Even without his singing career, if Sinatra had only been an actor—he would be remembered as one of the greats. There are so many facets of the man—in addition to some 1,400 recordings and 60 films, he produced eight motion pictures, received countless awards, Sinatra was a painter and many forget the countless contributions he made.
One of the things that makes Charles Pignone’s book touching is the forewords. Tony Bennett begins the book by the singer telling a story of Frank Sinatra’s kindness and mentoring. Bennett called Sinatra his “best friend in show business.” Following is a foreword by Steve Wynn, the visionary and founder of the Wynn Resorts Ltd. Wynn sums it up so simply and beautifully, “There will never be another Frank Sinatra, nor will there ever be another story like this.”
Once you get into the book, the first section is entitled “The Voice” and covers the years 1915-1952. Many of the photographs and anecdotes from both Sinatra and other contemporaries like Bing Crosby paint a picture of places, times and events to really bring the reader there. You’ll hear Sinatra recalling his first club date in New York, when a now mostly forgotten star Walter O’Keefe remarked “Ladies and gentlemen, I was your star of the evening, but tonight, in this club, we have all just seen a star born.” The book reads very quickly, with images as the main attraction, but you will hear many fascinating stories about the singer.
The section entitled “Chairman of the Board” covers the years 1953-1972 and makes up the bulk of the book. Things were not always easy for Frank Sinatra. As Bing Crosby shares in the book “After a meteoric beginning he had ever conceivable reversal and disappointment…few people in our business can rally from something like this. But he did, and big! And all by himself.”
The final section “Ol’ Blue Eyes” covers the years 1973 to the singer’s death in 1998. What’s most impressive about this section is how much Frank Sinatra accomplished in the later years of his life.There is a quote from Sinatra’s son, Frank Sinatra Jr. at the end of this section where he pretty well sums it up. “My father taught me to practice what you believe in devoutly and never to be afraid to believe in something and stand with it. There’s a word for it and it’s called integrity.”
The book clothes with three touching notes from Frank Sinatra’s children: Nancy Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Tina Sinatra. The end here is fitting because we remember despite the fact he is a cultural icon and to many a hero, he was nonetheless a man who touched many people on a personal level.
Nancy Sinatra remarks “he has never left us and never will.” The book captures the anomaly that Frank Sinatra was and continues to be. That is what I suppose I love about SINATRA 100 and why I recommend it. What Frank Sinatra created was timeless and will most certainly never be duplicated. SINATRA 100 celebrates the greatest entertainer of the 20th Century. As the author Charles Pignone says so succinctly in the introduction, “the world needs the man and his music more than ever.”
About the Author
Charles Pignone is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Sinatra Treasures and The Sinatra Family Album. He has produced numerous albums and box sets including Frank Sinatra: Nothing But the Best and Sinatra: Vegas, as well as the 2011 television special Sinatra Sings. Pignone has been associated with the Sinatra Family for over thirty years and is Senior Vice President of Frank Sinatra Enterprises.
SINATRA 100, by Charles Pignone
Forewords by Tony Bennett and Steve Wynn
Afterwords by Nancy Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, Jr., and Tina Sinatra
Published by Thames & Hudson Inc. Distributed to the trade by W.W. Norton & Company
Pub date: October 6, 2015
$60.00 | Hardcover | 10 7/8” x 13 5/8” | 288 pp | 400+ illustrations in b&w and color
Read my portrait of Charles Pignone HERE or listen to the interview here on YouTube.