Casey James sings “Blue Skies” on the American Idol Season 9 show. Harry Connick Jr mentors the Top 5 on the music of Frank Sinatra.
Frank's daughters Tina and Nancy, known for her 1966 signature hit "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", were in the audience for this very special tribute. They presented judge Simon Cowell, who has called Sinatra his all-time favorite singer, with Frank Sinatra's personal monogrammed hanky. "What I liked about Sinatra was he was the king of cool," Cowell stated later in the show.
Sinatra began his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. Sinatra became a successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, being the idol of the "bobby soxers." His professional career had stalled by the 1950s, but it was reborn in 1954 after he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
He signed with Capitol Records and released several critically lauded albums (such as "In the Wee Small Hours", "Songs for Swingin' Lovers", "Come Fly with Me", "Only the Lonely" and "Nice 'n' Easy"). Sinatra left Capitol to found his own record label, Reprise Records (finding success with albums such as "Ring-A-Ding-Ding", "Sinatra at the Sands" and "Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim"), toured internationally, was a founding member of the Rat Pack and fraternized with celebrities and presidents, including President John F. Kennedy. Sinatra turned 50 in 1965, recorded the retrospective "September of My Years", starred in the Emmy-winning television special Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music, and scored hits with "Strangers in the Night" and "My Way".
Sinatra attempted to weather the changing tastes in popular music, but with sales of his music dwindling, and after appearing in several poorly received films, he retired in 1971. Coming out of retirement in 1973, he recorded several albums; scored a Top 40 hit with "(Theme From) New York, New York" in 1980; and toured both within the United States and internationally until a few years before his death in 1998.
Sinatra also forged a career as an actor, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in From Here to Eternity, and he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for The Man with the Golden Arm. He also starred in such musicals as High Society, Pal Joey, Guys and Dolls and On the Town. Sinatra was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1983 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1985 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Sinatra was also the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Trustees Award, Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
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