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1965 was a very good year for Frank Sinatra

Saturday, 12 December, 2015

Observing the 50th birthday of Frank Sinatra in 1965, Billboard magazine suggested that he might have reached the “peak of his eminence”. To confound those early obituarists, Sinatra proceeded to record the retrospective September of My Years, which went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Album of the Year, and he topped the charts with Strangers in the Night and My Way. The same year, he appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival with Quincy Jones and they began a long, productive musical partnership.

Frank Sinatra was not short of flaws and he could be very harsh, even cruel, but in the 1940s, when it was neither popular nor profitable, he began to insist that the orchestras that backed him should be integrated. He gave work to musicians, regardless of race, and he helped open the door for many black entertainers. In an interview with Ebony Magazine in 1958, he said: “A friend to me has no race, no class and belongs to no minority. My friendships are formed out of affection, mutual respect and a feeling of having something in common. These are eternal values that cannot be classified.”

In June 1965, at the “peak of his eminence”, Frank Sinatra, along with Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin, played in St. Louis to benefit Dismas House, a prisoner rehabilitation centre that helped African Americans in particular. It was a very good year for Frank Sinatra, and for lots of others who experienced his greatness and generosity.


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