As the BBC quest to find The Voice goes on, the original and the best singer given that title was Frank Sinatra, says Richard Havers.
Seventy years ago, on a November evening in 1942, Robert A. Weitman, one of the most influential men in American entertainment had been persuaded to drive out from Manhattan to Newark, New Jersey, to check out the singer who had recently left Tommy Dorsey’s band to go solo.
According to Weitman, who was the manager of the prestigious Paramount Theatre on 43rd Street and Broadway at Times Square in New York City, not since Rudy Vallee had he seen a singer who induced so much squealing from young girls in an audience. The singer was Frank Sinatra.
Weitman was impressed enough to offer Sinatra a booking at the Paramount on a show to be headlined by Benny Goodman – one of the most popular bandleaders in America. They were booked into the theatre for four weeks from December 30th 1942 to play the tried and tested formula of a 2 for 1 show that included a movie – in this case, Star Spangled Rhythm starring Victor Moore and Betty Hutton – along with live entertainment featuring ‘theKing of Swing’, Benny Goodman and his famous Orchestra, his young vocalist, Peggy Lee, and the Radio Rogues along with Moke and Poke providing the laughs. Frank Sinatra, who had turned 27 a couple of weeks earlier was included as an extra-added attraction and billed as, ‘The Voice That Has Thrilled Millions’.
On the opening night, after Benny had worked his way through numbers including ‘Taking A Chance on Love’, his theme song, ‘Let’s Dance’ and Peggy had sung ‘Why Don’t you Do Right’ it was time for Frank. Benny Goodman’s introduction could not have been more low key, “
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk …
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