Frank Sinatra is one of the best-selling artists of all time. With a career that spanned over six decades, he has written his name in gold as a music giant. But here’s the million-dollar question, what genre is Frank Sinatra’s music?
Defining Frank’s music genre isn’t easy because his musical style is very dynamic. However, Frank Sinatra genre of music blends into jazz, swing, traditional pop, and easy listening.
Although today his music is still famous but considered oldies tracks, it was nothing like that at the time of release. So, do you want to know more about Frank Sinatra’s music? Then, you’re in the right place!
First and foremost, let’s get to know who the music legend, Frank Sinatra, is.
Who is Frank Sinatra?
Frank Sinatra is an American born in 1915, during the first World War. His music career began in the 1930s, around the Golden Age era of Hollywood. Today, he’s one of the greatest musicians of all time. Moreover, one of Sinatra’s biggest inspirations to make music was another music legend in the jazz genre, Bing Crosby.
Furthermore, Sinatra was a member of his high school’s glee club and began singing in nightclubs from the start of his career. So when he finally got a radio spot, he was picked up by the leader of the band, Harry James.
He recorded ‘All or Nothing at All’ with James. From there, it’s been a string of successes for him. In his prime, Frank Sinatra was a member of the Rat Pack, hanging out with legends such as Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis Jr. Besides, he was nicknamed ‘The Voice’ and ‘The Sultan of Swoon’ among others.
Now, let’s look at Frank Sinatra’s contribution to music.
How did Frank Sinatra Influence Music?
Frank Sinatra was a pioneer in his style of music. He’s so versatile. Frank’s one of the first artists to make music across these genres of music- jazz, pop, and swing. You can hear his influences all the time in songs about love, loss, and longing, as well as hope and despair.
In addition, it’s nearly impossible not to have heard any of Frank’s songs. His music transcends borders. ‘My Way‘, one of his biggest hits, featured in the trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Even today, singers like Michael Buble emulate his style.
What Genre of Music is Frank Sinatra?
Frank Sinatra’s music is dynamic. He sang songs across pop, jazz, swing, easy listening, and many other genres. Although, if we’re to pin a genre on him, it’d be pop. According to Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra was one of “pop music’s most enduring paragons” for 60 years.
In addition, his music themes are mostly love, loss, victory, and defeat. Besides, he never stopped doing what he loved- pumping out tunes! In his own words, Sinatra stated in a Playboy interview:
“I’m all for whatever gets you through the night, whether it’s prayer, tranquillizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”
Now, let’s discuss traditional pop and Frank’s involvement in the genre.
Frank Sinatra: Pop Music
Brief History of Pop Music
Pop music first appeared in the 1890s, nearly two decades before Sinatra was born. It began with the invention of the Gramophone or Phonograph, which could play music discs through a large trumpet inside people’s homes. This device’s the early version of what we now call a record player. The music that could be played on it became more popular as the device gained more ground.
While opera was the first genre of music for the phonograph because it was popular in the 1800s, it was quickly surpassed by two other genres. Vaudeville and ragtime were the two genres. After some years, these genres evolved into newer ones like pop, jazz, and blues. The invention of the radio made pop more popular.
Frank’s Involvement with the Radio
With the invention of the radio, music could be broadcast to a much larger audience, and the term “pop music” was coined in 1926 to describe music with broad appeal. When Sinatra became famous, he recognized the value of getting air time on the radio to boost his record sales, so he struck deals with radio stations. This move put his music at the forefront of the pop genre.
He also saw an opportunity to re-recording old hits in his crooning singing style. Because of his distinct singing style, he introduced something new to pop music: variety. This variety as a means of appealing to the masses is evident in his various recording methods.
Is Frank Sinatra a Pop Musician?
Frank Sinatra is best known for his smooth, crooning vocals and perfect articulation, and he has sold over 150 million records worldwide. As a result, he can be called a “pop” musician.
Pop music is arguably the broadest of all genres, as it refers to music that is popular at any given time. For example, Frank Sinatra has been heavily played on radio stations around the world for decades, and he has had remarkable success in the record-sale charts of many countries. Therefore, it can be easily decided that pop is the best genre to describe Frank Sinatra. The only problem with this label is that it does not describe the stylistic aspects of his music, only that it was a hit with the masses.
Evolution of Pop Music
Pop music evolves. Crooners like Frank Sinatra made “pop” before the rock and roll era. Traditional pop is the pre-21st century pop. Certain musical genres are called pop music, depending on the decade. For example, surf-rock was pop music in the early 1960s because it dominated the charts. Synth-based music was pop music in the 1980s, while surf rock had declined in popularity. Sinatra is still popular today, so he is undeniably a pop singer. Nonetheless, there are other musical genres that he has connections with.
Frank Sinatra: Jazz
Apart from traditional pop, another candidate for the Frank Sinatra genre of music is jazz. His backing bands mostly had popular jazz musicians of the time, and his instrumentals were similar to that of a traditional jazz group.
Some of Frank Sinatra’s songs link to jazz, but it would be unfair to confine him solely to this genre. The truth is that his music was a mash-up of many genres, which is why he was so popular throughout his illustrious career. There was little distinction between jazz and pop music when Frank Sinatra was making his name.
Frank Sinatra: Swing
Swing is a jazz subgenre to which Frank Sinatra may have also belonged. This style was extremely popular in the 1930s and 1940s, with a thriving live scene in clubs across the United States.
The emphasized off-beat, which was a staple of many early Sinatra recordings, inspired the name of the genre. It was so popular that the era was dubbed the “swing era,” and this was about the time Sinatra started his music career.
In the later years of Frank Sinatra’s music era, swing was out of favor. Despite this, the singer frequently paid homage to his roots by incorporating swing elements into his albums.
Frank Sinatra: Classical Music
Sinatra’s music was a unique blend of jazz and classical music, as he frequently added woodwind and string sections into his songs. This, together with the horns, bass, and drums, gave him his distinct sound.
While Sinatra was not a classically trained musician, he was known for having a keen musical ear. This helped him recognize out-of-tune instruments in his ensemble and explains how he could sing in key so consistently.
Frank Sinatra’s 1956 cover of ‘Close To You’ is an example of classical music’s influence on him. Moreover, Sinatra’s love for classical music inspired this song, which features a string quartet. Although, Sinatra had released an orchestral album titled ‘Tone Poems of Color’ before this recording.
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Frank Sinatra: Big Band
Big bands, usually with ten or more members, were responsible for the development of this genre. During the early 1940s, this genre dominated the music scene. However, at the same time that these big bands were popular, Frank Sinatra rose to fame.
‘Fly Me To The Moon’, and ‘New York‘ are two of his big band songs. Besides, Sinatra began his musical career as a singer in big bands such as the Harry James Band and the Tommy Dorsey Band.
Frank Sinatra: Early Listening
Frank Sinatra also has songs in the early listening genre. The subgenre was popular between the 1950s and the 1970s. An example of Frank Sinatra’s song in the early listening genre is ‘I Won’t Dance’.
How did Frank Sinatra Record His Music?
At the start of Frank’s music career, to record a song, the instrumental pieces are recorded separately from the vocals, and an audio technician then mixes everything. However, he was not a fan of the method. So instead, he chose to record everything at the same time and in the same room.
Frank Sinatra was the first artist to record at the famous Capitol Records building in downtown Los Angeles in 1956. The Voice of Frank Sinatra was his first album, and it featured him conducting an orchestra.
However, Sinatra was back in the building a month later, recording his album Close to You. Besides, he was able to do this because the recording facility had some new equipment about the time he was recording his album.
Furthermore, the magnetic tape recording helped Sinatra sing with the band without worrying about his vocals not coming out clearly. The technique greatly aided his radio sound and helped him become even more of a pop sensation, if that was even possible.
What did Frank Sinatra Sing about?
Frank Sinatra sang about anything and everything. However, he’s famous for his experiences with love and loss. That’s why his tone exudes “understatement, relaxation, wit, and ease.”
Frank Sinatra music genre was as much about introspection as he was about being loud and lofty. Yet, his music captures the rhythm of life to the point where you can hear his voice coming from within your own heart.
His contemporaries, such as Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong, were known for their big and bold gestures, whereas he is known for his quietness.
Why is Frank Sinatra the Greatest American Singer of the 20th Century?
One of the things that earned Frank Sinatra the title of the Greatest American Singer of the 20th Century is his unique voice. He has a warm, baritone voice that most pop-jazz singers try to imitate until now.
Another factor is his ability to internalize songs and deliver emotional lyrics in front of an audience. Sinatra also worked on his vocal cords to improve his craft. Besides, he trained his voice to sound like the melody of a trombone. This exercise helped him to sing in a smooth, seamless, and pleasant manner.
In addition, as his fame grew, so was his singing skills he became the reference to many music bands. As a result, his fame increased around the world. He’s the centre and focus of every entertainment event as his ability to sing uptempo songs, and even the most popular ballads then was hard to beat.
So, what is Frank Sinatra genre of music? For every fan that you ask, the answer may be different. However, there’s a consensus that you may find with all the answers. That’d be, ‘Frank Sinatra’s music is unique. Today, Frank’s style of music is still in use, but no one can match up with him. His music is so distinct and clear.
In a nutshell, the Frank Sinatra Music Genre has its melody and tempo. It is timeless, but you must be expressive. In Frank’s words: “Whatever else has been said about me personally is unimportant. I believe when I sing. I’m truthful.”