Frankie Laine

Frankie Laine, born Frank Paul LoVecchio on March 30, 1913, is one of the most influential singers in history.

A clarion voiced pop singer with lots of style, able to fill halls without a microphone, and one of the biggest hit-makers of late 1940s/early 1950s, Laine had more than 70 charted records, 21 gold records, and worldwide sales of about 260 million disks. Originally a rhythm and blues influenced jazz singer, Laine excelled at virtually every music style, eventually expanding to such varied genres as popular standards, gospel, folk, country, western/Americana, rock 'n' roll, and the occasional novelty number. He is known as Mr Rhythm for his driving jazzy style.

His rendition of the title song for Mel Brooks' 1974 hit movie Blazing Saddles won an Oscar nomination for Best Song, and on television, Laine's featured recording of Rawhide for the series of the same name became one of the most popular theme songs of all time.



Eldest of eight children, Frankie Laine was born to Italian immigrant parents in Chicago's "Little Italy". He got his first taste of singing as a member of the choir in church of the Immaculate Conception's elementary school. At 17 he sang before a crowd of 5,000 at The Merry Garden Ballroom to such enthusiastic applause that he ended up performing five encores on his first night.

Signing as a member of The Merry Garden company, Laine toured with them, working dance marathons during the Great Depression (setting the world record with partner Ruthie Smith in 1932). He replaced Perry Como in the Freddy Carlone band in Cleveland in 1937, but success eluded him until 1946 when Hoagy Carmichael spotted him during a gig at Billy Berg's club in Los Angeles led to a Mercury contract. At Mercury and Columbia he worked closely with impressario Mitch Miller, and Carl Fischer who co-wrote many songs with Laine including the great standard We'll Be Together Again.

The first and biggest of a new breed of black-influenced singers who came to prominence in the post-WWII era, signalling the end of both the big bands and the crooning styles favored by contemporaries Dick Haymes and Frank Sinatra, his 1946 recording of That's My Desire remains a landmark record. Often called the first of the blue-eyed soul singers, Laine's style cleared the way for many artists who arose in the late 40s and early 50s, including Kay Starr, Tony Bennett, Johnnie Ray and Elvis Presley.

Frankie Laine's name was synonymous with jazz in the late 40's when, accompanied by Carl Fischer and some of the best jazz men in the business, he was swinging standards like "All of Me," "Black and Blue," "Rockin' Chair" and "Sleepy Ol' River" on the Mercury label. But Mitch Miller, who became the A&R man at Mercury in 1948, recognized a universal quality in Laine's voice which he began to exploit via a succession of chart-topping popular songs often with a folk or western flavor ("That Lucky Old Sun," "Swamp Girl," "Cry of the Wild Goose," "Mule Train"). "Mule Train" has been cited as the first song to utilize an "aural texture" that "set the pattern for virtually the entire first decade of rock." (Will Friedwald, "Sinatra! The Song Is You," Da Capo Press, 1997.)

In 1951, he was signed by the biggest label of the time, Columbia Records, where he immediately scored a double-sided hit with the single "Jezebel"/"Rose, Rose, I Love You," confirming his reputation as the premiere hitmaker of the early 50s. Other Laine hits from this period include, "High Noon," "Jealousy (Jalousie)," "The Girl in the Woods," "When You're in Love," "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Granada," "Hey Joe!," "The Kid's Last Fight," "Cool Water," "Someday," and "Moonlight Gambler." A consummate duettist, he also scored hits with Patti Page ("I Love You for That"), Doris Day ("Sugarbush"), Jo Stafford ("Hey, Good Lookin'," "Gambella," "Hambone"), Jimmy Boyd ("Tell Me a Story," "The Little Boy and the Old Man"), the Four Lads ("Rain, Rain, Rain") and Johnnie Ray ("Up Above My Head").

In 1953 he set two more records on the UK charts: weeks at No 1 for a song ("I Believe," which held the number one spot for 18 weeks), and weeks at No 1 for an artist in a single year (27 weeks: a little over half the year, when "Hey Joe!" and "Answer Me" became number one hits as well). Fifty-plus years later, both records still hold. Always exceedingly popular in the U.K., he broke attendance records at the London Palladium in 1952 gave a Command Performance for Queen Elizabeth II in 1954.

Throughout the 1950s, Laine had a second career singing the title songs over the opening credits of Hollywood films and television shows, inluding: Gunfight At OK Corral, 3:10 To Yuma, Bullwhip and Rawhide. In the 50s and 60s he released many great theme albums as well including Rockin', Jazz Spectacular (with jazz trumpet great Buck Clayton), Frankie Laine And The Four Lads (a gospel album that truly rocks), Reunion In Rhythm (with Michel Legrand), Hell Bent For Leather, Balladeer (folk songs), Torchin', Call Of The Wild, Wanderlust, etc.

Along with opening the door for many R&B performers, Laine played a significant role in the equal rights movements of the 1950s and 60s. When Nat King Cole's television show was unable to get a sponsor, Laine crossed the color line, becoming the first white artist to appear as a guest (foregoing his usual salary of $10,000.00 as Cole's sustainer show only paid scale). In the following decade, he joined several African American artists to give a free concert for Martin Luther King's supporters during their march on Washington DC.

After switching to ABC Records in the late 1960s, he was topping the charts again with songs like "I'll Take Care of Your Cares," "To Each His Own" and "Lord, You Gave Me A Mountain" (which was written for him by country legend Marty Robbins. His following switch to Amos Records proved less successful commercially, but produced two wonderful albums in a modern, rock-influenced vein which have developed a following through cd rereleases.

His career slowed down a little in the 1980s due to triple and quadruple bypasses, but he nevertheless continued cutting some terrific albums including "Wheels Of A Dream" (1998), "Old Man Jazz" (2002) and "The Nashville Connection" (2004).

Frankie Laine's 70-plus year career spanned most of the 20th century and has continued into the 21st. Laine was a key figure in the golden age of popular music, and remains, quite possibly the greatest singer of all time. On June 12, 1996, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 27th Annual Songwritersí Hall of Fame awards ceremony at the New York Sheraton

His first marriage was to actress Nan Grey, (June 1950 - July 1993) and Laine adopted her daughters from a previous marriage, Pam and Jan. His second marriage was to Marcia Ann Kline in June 1999.

Frankie Laine lives in semi-retirement in the Point Loma area of San Diego, California.


Classic Frankie Laine songs

(1946) Ainít That Just Like A Woman, Black and Blue, Blue Turning Grey Over You, It Ainít Gonne Be Like That, On The Sunny Side Of The Street, September In The Rain, Thatís My Desire, West End Blues
(1947) All Of Me, Mamíselle, Put Yourself In My Place Baby, Shine, A Sunday Kind Of Love, Weíll Be Together Again
(1948) Don't Have To Tell Nobody, I'm Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover, Monday Again, Rosetta, What Could Be Sweeter
(1949) At The End Of The Road, Don't Cry Little Children, Don't Do Something to Someone Else, Georgia On My Mind, Give Me A Kiss For Tomorrow, God Bless The Child, Mule Train, Rockiní Chair, Satan Wears A Satin Gown, Swamp Girl, That Lucky Old Sun
(1950 Cry Of The Wild Goose, Dream A Little Dream Of Me, If I Were You Baby (with Patti Page), I Love You For That (with Patti Page), I'm Gonna Live Till I Die, A Man Gets Awfully Lonesome, Music Maestro Please, Sleepy Ol' River, Stars And Stripes Forever
(1951) Gambella (The Gamblin' Lady)(with Jo Stafford), The Gang That Sang Heart Of My Heart, Get Happy, The Girl In The Wood, Hey Good Lookin (with Jo Stafford), I Would Do Most Anything For You, The Isle Of Capri, Jealousy (Jalousie), Jezebel, Love Is Such A Cheat, Necessary Evil, One For My Baby, Rose Rose I Love You, When Itís Sleepy Time Down South
(1952) High Noon, I'm Just A Poor Bachelor, My Ohio Home, Ramblin' Man, Rock Of Gibraltar, Settin' The Woods On Fire (with Jo Stafford), She's Funny That Way, Sugarbush (with Doris Day), Swan Song, Snow In Lovers Lane, Tonight You Belong To Me
(1953) Ace In The Hole, After You've Gone (with Carl Fischer), Answer Me O' Lord, Basin Street Blues (with Jo Stafford), Blowing Wild, Drill Ye Tarriers, Granada, Hey Joe!, I Believe, The Little Boy And The Old Man (with Jimmy Boyd), Long Distance Love, New Orleans, Old Shoes, Some Day, Some Day Sweetheart, Way Down Yonder In New Orleans, Willow Weep For Me, Your Cheatin' Heart
(1954) Back Where I Belong (with Jo Stafford),I Feel Like My Time Ain't Long (with The Four Lads), I'd Give My Life, In The Beginning, Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now, Let Me Be Ready Lord (with The Four Lads), My Friend, Out Of Nowhere, Rain,Rain,Rain (with The Four Lads), Wa-Hoo! (with The Four Lads), You Are Too Beautiful
(1955) Baby Baby All The Time (with Buck Clayton), Bring Your Smile Along, Cool Water, Hawk-Eye, Hummingbird, The Lord Don't Treat His Chillun That Way, Make Me A Child Again, My Little One, Remember Me (with The Four Lads), Roses Of Picardy (with Buck Clayton), Sixteen Tons, Stars Fell On Alabama (with Buck Clayton), Strange Lady In Town, Walking The Night Away, Where Can I Go (with The Four Lads), A Woman In Love, Your Love
(1956) Don't Cry, Hell Hath No Fury, Love Is A Golden Ring (with The Easy Riders), Moonlight Gambler, On The Road To Mandalay, Without Him
(1957) Annabel Lee, By The River Ste Marie, The Greater Sin, Gunfight At OK Corral, The Lonesome Road, 3:10 To Yuma, Up Above My Head (with Johnnie Ray), You Know How It Is
(1958) Autumn Leaves (with Michel Legrand), Blue Moon (with Michel Legrand), Body And Soul, El Diablo, Here Lies Love, I Have To Cry, Journey's End, Laura (with Michel Legrand), Lovin' Up A Storm, Magnificent Obsession, Torchin', Try A Little Tenderness, The Valley Of A Hundred Hills, When I Speak Your Name, You Are My Love, You've Changed
(1959) And Doesnít She Roll, Careless Love, Cherry Red, Jelly Coal Man, Lucy D, Old Blue, On A Monday, Rockin' Mother, Rocks And Gravel
(1960) Along The Navajo Trail, Bowie Knife, The Hanging Tree, Rawhide, Sampson, Seven Women, St James Infirmary, Wanted Man
(1961) Camptown Races, Cow-Cow Boogie, Dead Manís Hand, Deuces Wild, Gambliní Woman, Gunslinger, The Green Leaves Of Summer, The Hard Way, Horses And Women, Luck Be A Lady, The Roving Gambler, Miss Satan, Ride Through The Night
(1962) De Glory Road, I Let Her Go, On The Trail, North To Alaska, Riders In The Sky, Serenade, Song Of The Open Road, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Wagon Wheels
(1963) Donít Make Me Baby Blue, I'm Gonna Be Strong, Prairie Belle, Up Among The Stars
(1964) Lonely Days Of Winter, Tangolita
(1965) Come Sunday, He, May The Good Lord Bless And Keep You, O Bless This House
(1967) Ev'ry Street's A Boulevard, I'll Didn't Care, I'll Take Care Of Your Cares, Laura (What's He Got That I Ain't Got), Making Memories, Somewhere There's Someone, You Wanted Someone To Play With
(1968) Cold Cold Heart, Gentle On My MindThe Green Green Grass Of Home, Take Me Back, To Each His Own, The Wayward Wind, What A Wonderful World, You Always Hurt The One You Love
(1969) Allegra, The Story Of My Life, You Gave Me A Mountain
(1970) Rockin' remakes of: Don't Make My Baby Blue, I Believe, Jezebel, Moonlight Gambler, That Lucky Old Sun, That's My Desire, Your Cheatin' Heart
(1971) A Brand New Day, Mr. Bojangles, My God And I, Po' Folks, Proud Mary, Put Your Hand In The Hand, Talk About The Good Times
(1974) Blazing Saddles, My Own True Love
(1978) End Of Session Blues, Evergreen, Life Is Beautiful, Nan, Nobody But You, Send In The Clowns
(1986) I Believe In You, Jambalaya, Old Dogs Children And Watermelon Wine, One More Time, She Never Could Dance, When Will I Be Loved
(1988) Butterfly, Fallen Angel, Fever, I'd Do It Over Again, Makin' Whoopee, Rose Ellen, Them There Eyes
(1998) How Sweet It Is, Moonglow, Nature Boy, Scarlet Ribbons, Song Of India, That's All, They Call The Wind Maria, Until Now, Wheels Of A Dream, You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
(2002) After Me, Dandelion Wine, Heavy Breathing, I Don't Remember, Keep Goin' Back To Joe's, Old Man Jazz, Taps/My Buddy, Too Soon Old Too Late Smart, When Joanna Loves Me
And many more.

Lyrics By Laine

It Ainít Gonna Be Like That (with Mel Torme), It Only Happens Once (words and music by Laine), Put Yourself In My Place (with Hoagy Carmichael), Weíll Be Together Again (with Carl Fischer), Our Dream (words and music), I Havenít The Heart (with Matt Dennis), Iíd Give My Life (with Carl Fischer), What Could Be Sweeter? (with Carl Fischer), Baby, Just For Me (with Carl Fischer), Satan Wears A Satin Gown (with Jacques Wilson and Fred Katz), Donít Cry Little Children (with Norman Wallace), When Youíre In Love (with Carl Fischer), Only If We Love (with Al Lerner), Torchin ( with Al Lerner), The Love Of The Roses (with Carl Fischer), Magnificent Obsession (with Fred Karger), Forever More (with Carl Fischer), You Are My Love (with Carl Fischer), My Little Love (with Carl Eugster), And Doesnít She Roll (with Jack Wilson and Fred Katz), God Bless This House (with Jack Wilson and Fred Katz), Deuces Wild (with Mike Oatman and Ray Barr), Cow-Cow Boogie (with Don Raye, Gene DePaul and Benny Carter), The High Road (with Margaret Bristol and Leo Kempinski), The Moment of Truth (with Nell Western and Fred Katz), What Am I Here For? (with Duke Ellington), Allegra (with Matt Dennis), Forevermore, End Of Session Blues and Nan.


As Actor
Make Believe Ballroom - Columbia, 1949.
When Youíre Smiling - Columbia, 1950.
Sunny Side Of The Street - Columbia, 1951.
Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder - Columbia, 1952.
Bring Your Smile Along - Columbia, 1955.
He Laughed Last - Columbia, 1956.
Meet Me In Las Vegas - MGM, 1956.
Sang the Title Song
Blowing Wild - Warner, 1953.
A Man Without A Star - Universal, 1955.
Strange Lady In Town - Warner, 1955.
Gunfight At The OK Corral - Paramount, 1957.
The 3:10 To Yuma - Columbia, 1957.
Bullwhip - Republic, 1958.
Blazing Saddles - Warner/Crossbow, 1974.


The Frankie Laine Hour - 1950.
The Frankie Laine Show - 1954-5.
Frankie Laine Time - 1955-6.
Rawhide (sang the theme song)

Guest star as actor include

Perry Mason - CBS, 1959.
Rawhide - CBS, 1960.
Burke's Law - ABC, 1963.

Guest appearances

The Academy Awards
American Bandstand
Bachelor Father
The Danny Thomas Show
The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beachnut Show
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Garry Moore Show
The Hollywood Palace
The Mike Douglas Show
The Music Scene
The Nat King Cole Show
Toast of the Town
What's My Line?
and many others.


That Lucky Old Son, co-authored with Joseph F. Laredo, Pathfinder Publishing, 1993.

Video Documentary

Frankie Laine: An American Dreamer, 2003.

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