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Hoboken’s favorite son, Frank Sinatra, continues to evoke images of the good life nearly 17 years after a heart attack dealt its fatal blow on May 14, 1998. Ol’ Blue Eyes will always be remembered for meeting life on his own terms summed up in the signature anthem “My Way.” His long-breath, vocal style and impeccable phrasing conveyed emotions with personal conviction in the rhythms of everyday language, and for six decades, he influenced pop culture from the World War II swing era right up to his climatic multimillion selling “Duets” albums in the early ‘90s.
A man of mythic proportions, Sinatra was born on Dec. 12, 1915, weighing in at a hefty 13 pounds. The only child of Italian immigrants Martin and Natalie “Dolly” Sinatra, he made his 1935 public debut with the Hoboken Four on NBC Radio’s “Major Bowes and His Original Amateur Hour. Soon parting ways, he was discovered by trumpeter-band leader Harry James, who heard him on a 1939 radio broadcast originating from the Rustic Cabin in Englewood Cliffs. During the year Sinatra remained with James, he often played Atlantic City’s Steel Pier and scored a minor hit with “All or Nothing at All.”