A career that would span more than 60 years, garner hundreds of awards and earn the moniker "Voice of the Century" began in earnest 80 years ago this week. On July 13, 1939, Frank Sinatra recorded his first song.
The song, "From the Bottom of My Heart," was a bomb for the Harry James Band, but for the young, skinny rookie vocalist who sang it, it was the start of something big.
Francis Albert Sinatra was born Dec. 12, 1915, in Hoboken, N.J., an only child of Italian immigrants. Sinatra said he was inspired to start singing after seeing Bing Crosby perform at Loew's Journal Square in Jersey City, N.J.
He started singing with a few friends from Hoboken while he was still in his teens. But his career was on the way up when he joined the Harry James Band when he was 24. According to the Sinatra website, James suggested Sinatra change his name to "Frankie Satin," but Sinatra chose to do it his way and refused.
He eventually left to work with the Tommy Dorsey band, where he had his first No. 1 hit, "I'll Never Smile Again."
Sinatra performed for U.S. troops during World War II, but could never serve himself because of a punctured eardrum he experienced at birth.
In the years to follow, Sinatra would sell more than 150 million singles worldwide, making him one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
In 2001, the BBC announced that Sinatra had been voted "Voice of the Century," beating out Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby and John Lennon. Sinatra died on May 14, 1998, at the age of 82.