Frank Sinatra discography
American vocalist Frank Sinatra has recorded 59 studio albums and 297 singles in his solo career, spanning 53 years. Sinatra signed with Columbia Records in 1943. Sinatra would achieve greater success with Capitol and Reprise Records, the former of which he released his final two albums on—Duets and Duets II. Eight compilation albums under Sinatra's name were released in his lifetime, with more albums released following his death in 1998. Columbia Records introduced the LP album on June 21, 1948. Sinatra's Capitol studio albums were released on Concepts in 1992, the bulk of his Capitol recordings released on the 1998 album The Capitol Years. Notes 1957 Frankie and Tommy 1988 All Time Greatest Hits, Vols. 1-4 1994 The Song Is You 1996 Frank Sinatra & Tommy Dorsey - Greatest Hits 1998 Frank Sinatra & the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra 2005 The Essential Frank Sinatra with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra 1953 Get Happy! 1955 Frankie 1955 The Voice 1956 That Old Feeling 1957 Adventures of the Heart 1957 Christmas Dreaming 1958 Love Is a Kick 1958 The Broadway Kick 1958 Put Your Dreams Away 1958 The Frank Sinatra Story in Music 1959 Come Back to Sorrento 1966 Greatest Hits: The Early Years 1966 Greatest Hits: The Early Years Volume Two 1968 Someone to Watch Over Me 1968 In Hollywood 1943-1949 1972 In The Beginning: 1943 To 1951 1986 The Voice: The Columbia Years 1987 Hello Young Lovers 1988 Sinatra Rarities: The Columbia Years 1993 The Columbia Years 1943-1952: The Complete Recordings 1994 The Columbia Years 1943–1952: The V-Discs 1994 The Essence of Frank Sinatra 1995 16 Most Requested Songs 1995 The Complete Recordings Nineteen Thirty-Nine 1995 I've Got a Crush on You 1996 Sinatra Sings Rodgers and Hammerstein 1997 Frank Sinatra Sings His Greatest Hits 1997 Portrait of Sinatra: Columbia Classics 1998 The Best of the Columbia Years: 1943-1952 2000 Super Hits 2001 Love Songs 2003 The Essential Frank Sinatra: The Columbia Years 2003 The Real Complete Columbia Years V-Discs 2003 Sinatra Sings Cole Porter 2003 Sinatra Sings George Gershwin 2007 A Voice in Time: 1939-1952 2009 From the Heart 2015 A Voice on Air 1935-1955 1954 Songs For Young Lovers 1954 Swing Easy!
1955 In The Wee Small Hours 1956 Songs for Swingin' Lovers 1956 This Is Sinatra! 1957 Close To You And More 1957 A Swingin' Affair! 1957 Where Are You? 1957 A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra 1958 This Is Sinatra Volume 2 1958 Come Fly With Me 1958 Frank Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely 1959 Look to Your Heart 1959 Come Dance With Me 1959 No One Cares 1960 Nice'N' Easy 1961 Come Swing With Me! 1961 Point Of No Return 1961 Look Over Your Shoulder 1961 All the Way 1962 The Great Years 1962 Sinatra Sings...of Love and Things 1963 Sinatra Sings the Select Johnny Mercer 1963 Sings Rodgers and Hart 1963 Tell Her You Love Her 1964 The Great Hits of Frank Sinatra 1965 Sings the Select Cole Porter 1966 Forever Frank 1967 Nevertheless I'm in Love With You 1967 Songs for the Young at Heart 1967 The Nearness of You 1967 Try a Little Tenderness 1968 The Best Of Frank Sinatra 1972 The Cole Porter Songbook 1972 The Great Years 1974 One More for the Road 1974 Round # 1 1987 The Frank Sinatra Collection 1988 Screen Sinatra 1989 The Capitol Collectors Series 1990 The Capitol Years 1992 Concepts 1992 The Best of the Capitol Years 1995 Sinatra 80th: All the Best 1996 The Complete Capitol Singles Collection 1998 The Capitol Years 2000 Classic Sinatra: His Greatest Performances 1953-1960 2002 Classic Duets 2004 The Platinum Collection 2007 Romance: Songs From the Heart 2008 Sinatra at the Movies 2009 Classic Sinatra II 2011 Sinatra: Best of the Best 2015 Ultimate Sinatra 1963 The Concert Sinatra 1964 Frank Sinatra, Count Basie - It Might as Well be Swing 1965 Sinatra'65: The Singer Today 1965 A Man and His Music 1965 My Kind of Broadway 1965 September of My Years 1966 A Man and His Music: The Frank Sinatra CBS Television Special 1967 Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim 1968 Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits 1972 Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 1977 Portrait of Sinatra - Forty Songs from the Life of a Man 1979 Sinatra-Jobim Sessions 1983 New York New York: His Greatest Hits 1990 The Reprise Collection 1991 Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years 1992 Sinatra: Soundtrack To The CBS Mini-Series 1994 The Sinatra Christmas Album 1995 The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings 1996 Everything Happens to Me 1997 The Very Best of Frank Sinatra 1997 My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra 1998 Lucky Numbers 2000 Reprise Musical Repertory Theatre 2002 Frank Sinatra in Hollywood 1940-1964 2002 Greatest Love Songs 2004 Frank Sinatra Christmas Collection 2004 Romance 2008 Nothing but the Best 2010 The Reprise Years 1995 Christmas Through the Years 2009 Seduction: Sinatra Sings of Love 2008 Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits 2010 Frank Sinatra: Concert Collection 1993 Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr: Rat Pack is Back A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra by Oscar Peterson Very Sinatra by Ruby Braff Perfectly Frank by Tony Bennett Voices in Standard by The Four F
Nelson Smock Riddle Jr. was an American arranger, composer and orchestrator whose career stretched from the late 1940s to the mid-1980s. His work for Capitol Records kept such vocalists as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney and Keely Smith household names, he found commercial and critical success again in the 1980s with a trio of Platinum albums with Linda Ronstadt. His orchestrations earned an Academy Award and three Grammy Awards. Riddle was born in Oradell, New Jersey, the only child of Marie Albertine Riddle and Nelson Smock Riddle, moved to nearby Ridgewood, where he attended Ridgewood High School, where he was encouraged to pursue his interest in music. Following his father's interest in music, he began taking piano lessons at age eight and trombone lessons at age fourteen. A formative experience was hearing Serge Koussevitsky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra playing Maurice Ravel's Boléro. Riddle said later: "...
I've never forgotten it. It's as if the orchestra leaped from the stage and smacked you in the face..."By his teenage years he had decided to become a professional musician. I wanted to be a jazz trombone player, but I didn't have the coordination." So his inclinations began to turn to writing — composing and arranging. Riddle and his family had a summer house in New Jersey, he enjoyed Rumson so much that he convinced his parents to allow him to attend high school there for his senior year. In Rumson while playing for trumpeter Charlie Briggs' band, the Briggadiers, he met one of the most important influences on his arranging style: Bill Finegan, with whom he began arranging lessons. Despite being only four years older than Riddle, Finegan was more musically sophisticated, within a few years creating not only some of the most popular arrangements from the swing era, such as Glenn Miller's "Little Brown Jug", but great jazz arrangements such as Tommy Dorsey's "Chloe" and "At Sundown" from the mid-1940s.
After his graduation from Rumson High School, he spent his late teens and early 20s playing trombone in and arranging for various local dance bands, culminating in his association with the Charlie Spivak Orchestra. In 1943, Riddle joined the Merchant Marine, serving at Sheepshead Bay, New York for about two years while continuing to work for the Charlie Spivak Orchestra, he studied orchestration under composer Alan Shulman. After his enlistment term ended, Riddle traveled to Chicago to join Tommy Dorsey's orchestra in 1944, where he remained the orchestra's third trombone for eleven months until drafted by the Army in April 1945, shortly before the end of World War II, he was discharged in June 1946, after fifteen months of active duty. He moved shortly thereafter to Hollywood to pursue his career as an arranger and spent the next several years writing arrangements for multiple radio and record projects. In May 1949, Doris Day had a #2 hit, "Again", backed by Riddle. In 1950, Riddle was hired by composer Les Baxter to write arrangements for a recording session with Nat King Cole.
Although one of the songs Riddle had arranged, "Mona Lisa," soon became the biggest selling single of Cole's career, the work was credited to Baxter. However, once Cole learned the identity of the arrangement's creator, he sought out Riddle's work for other sessions, thus began a fruitful partnership that furthered the careers of both men at Capitol. During the same year, Riddle struck up a conversation with Vern Yocum, a big band jazz musician who would transition into music preparation for Frank Sinatra and other entertainers at Capitol Records. A collaboration followed with Vern becoming Riddle's "right hand" as copyist and librarian for the next thirty years. In 1953, Capitol Records executives viewed the up-and-coming Riddle as a prime choice to arrange for the newly arrived Frank Sinatra. Sinatra was reluctant however, preferring instead to remain with Axel Stordahl, his long-time collaborator from his Columbia Records years; when success of the first few Capitol sides with Stordahl proved disappointing, Sinatra relented and Riddle was called in to arrange his first session for Sinatra, held on April 30, 1953.
The first product of the Riddle-Sinatra partnership, "I've Got the World on a String", became a runaway hit and is credited with relaunching the singer's slumping career. Riddle's personal favorite was a Sinatra ballad album, one of his most successful recordings, Only the Lonely. For the next decade, Riddle continued to arrange for Sinatra and Cole, in addition to such Capitol artists as Kate Smith, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Keely Smith, Sue Raney, Ed Townsend, he found time to release his own instrumental discs of 45 rpm and albums on the Capitol label. For example, Riddle's most successful tune was "Lisbon Antigua", released in November 1955 and reached and remained at the #1 position for four weeks in 1956. Riddle's most notable LP discs were Hey... Let Yourself Go and C'mon... Get Happy, both of which peaked at a respectable number twenty on the Billboard charts. While at Capitol, Riddle continued his successful career arranging music for film, most notably with MGM's Conrad Salinger on the first onscreen duet between Bing Crosby and Sinatra in High Society, the 1957 film version of Pal Joey directed by George Sidney for Columbia Pictures.
In 1969, he arranged and conducted the music for the film Paint Your Wagon, which starred a trio of non-singers, Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, Jean Seberg. In 1957, Riddle and his orchestra were feature
Francis Albert Sinatra was an American actor and singer, one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide. Born to Italian immigrants in Hoboken, New Jersey, Sinatra began his musical career in the swing era with bandleaders Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. Sinatra found success as a solo artist after he signed with Columbia Records in 1943, becoming the idol of the "bobby soxers", he released his debut album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra, in 1946. Sinatra's professional career had stalled by the early 1950s, he turned to Las Vegas, where he became one of its best known residency performers as part of the Rat Pack, his career was reborn in 1953 with the success of From Here to Eternity, with his performance subsequently winning an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. Sinatra released several critically lauded albums, including In the Wee Small Hours, Songs for Swingin' Lovers!, Come Fly with Me, Only the Lonely and Nice'n' Easy.
Sinatra left Capitol in 1960 to start his own record label, Reprise Records, released a string of successful albums. In 1965, he recorded the retrospective September of My Years and starred in the Emmy-winning television special Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music. After releasing Sinatra at the Sands, recorded at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Vegas with frequent collaborator Count Basie in early 1966, the following year he recorded one of his most famous collaborations with Tom Jobim, the album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, it was followed by 1968's Francis Edward K. with Duke Ellington. Sinatra retired for the first time in 1971, but came out of retirement two years and recorded several albums and resumed performing at Caesars Palace, reached success in 1980 with "New York, New York". Using his Las Vegas shows as a home base, he toured both within the United States and internationally until shortly before his death in 1998. Sinatra forged a successful career as a film actor.
After winning an Academy Award for From Here to Eternity, he starred in The Man with the Golden Arm, received critical acclaim for his performance in The Manchurian Candidate. He appeared in various musicals such as On the Town and Dolls, High Society, Pal Joey, winning another Golden Globe for the latter. Toward the end of his career, he became associated with playing detectives, including the title character in Tony Rome. Sinatra would receive the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1971. On television, The Frank Sinatra Show began on ABC in 1950, he continued to make appearances on television throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Sinatra was heavily involved with politics from the mid-1940s, campaigned for presidents such as Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. In crime, the FBI investigated his alleged relationship with the Mafia. While Sinatra never learned how to read music, he had an impressive understanding of it, he worked hard from a young age to improve his abilities in all aspects of music.
A perfectionist, renowned for his dress sense and performing presence, he always insisted on recording live with his band. His bright blue eyes earned him the popular nickname "Ol' Blue Eyes". Sinatra led a colorful personal life, was involved in turbulent affairs with women, such as with his second wife Ava Gardner, he married Mia Farrow in 1966 and Barbara Marx in 1976. Sinatra had several violent confrontations with journalists he felt had crossed him, or work bosses with whom he had disagreements, he was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1983, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1985, the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Sinatra was the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Trustees Award, Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, he was collectively included in Time magazine's compilation of the twentieth century's 100 most influential people. After his death, American music critic Robert Christgau called him "the greatest singer of the 20th century", he continues to be seen as an iconic figure.
Francis Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915, in an upstairs tenement at 415 Monroe Street in Hoboken, New Jersey, the only child of Italian immigrants Natalina "Dolly" Garaventa and Antonino Martino "Marty" Sinatra. Sinatra weighed 13.5 pounds at birth and had to be delivered with the aid of forceps, which caused severe scarring to his left cheek and ear, perforated his eardrum—damage that remained for life. Due to his injuries at birth, his baptism at St. Francis Church in Hoboken was delayed until April 2, 1916. A childhood operation on his mastoid bone left major scarring on his neck, during adolescence he suffered from cystic acne that further scarred his face and neck. Sinatra was raised Roman Catholic. Sinatra's mother was energetic and driven, biographers believe that she was the dominant factor in the development of her son's personality traits and self-confidence. Sinatra's fourth wife Barbara would claim that Dolly was abusive to him as a child, "knocked him around a lot".
Dolly became influential in local Democratic Party circles. She worked as a midwife, earning $50 for each delivery, according to Sinatra biographer Kitty Kelley ran an illegal abortion service that catered to Italian Catholic girls, for which she was nicknamed "Hatpin Dolly", she had a gift for languages and served as a local interpreter. Sinatra's illiterate father was a bantamweight boxer who fought under the name Mar
Sammy Cahn was an American lyricist and musician. He is best known for his romantic lyrics to films and Broadway songs, as well as stand-alone songs premiered by recording companies in the Greater Los Angeles Area, he and his collaborators had a series of hit recordings with Frank Sinatra during the singer's tenure at Capitol Records, but enjoyed hits with Dean Martin, Doris Day and many others. He played the violin, he won an Oscar 4 times for his songs, including the popular song "Three Coins in the Fountain". Among his most enduring songs is "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!", cowritten with Jule Styne in 1945. Cahn was born Samuel Cohen in the Lower East Side of New York City, the only son of Abraham and Elka Reiss Cohen, who were Jewish immigrants from Galicia ruled by Austria-Hungary, his sisters, Pearl and Evelyn, all studied the piano. His mother did not approve of Sammy studying it though, feeling that the piano was a woman's instrument, so he took violin lessons. After three lessons and following his bar mitzvah, he joined a small dixieland band called Pals of Harmony, which toured the Catskill Mountains in the summer and played at private parties.
This new dream of Cahn's destroyed. Some of the side jobs he had were playing violin in a theater-pit orchestra, working at a meat-packing plant, serving as a movie-house usher, freight-elevator operator, restaurant cashier, porter at a bindery. At age 16, he was watching vaudeville, of which he had been a fan since the age of 10, he witnessed Jack Osterman singing a ballad Osterman had written. Cahn was inspired and, on his way home from the theater, wrote his first lyric, titled "Like Niagara Falls, I'm Falling for You – Baby." Years he would say "I think a sense of vaudeville is strong in anything I do, anything I write. They call it'a vaudeville finish,' and it comes through in many of my songs. Just sing the end of'All the Way' or'Three Coins in the Fountain'—'Make it mine, make it mine, MAKE IT MINE!' If you let people know they should applaud, they will applaud."Much of Cahn's early work was written in partnership with Saul Chaplin. They first met. Cahn said, "I'd learned a few chords on the piano, maybe two, so I'd tried to write a song.
Something I called'Shake Your Head from Side to Side.'" Billed as "Cahn and Chaplin", they composed witty special material for Warner Brothers' musical short subjects, filmed at Warners' Vitaphone studio in Brooklyn, New York. "There was a legendary outfit on West 46th Street and Pransky... they were the MCA, the William Morris of the Borscht Belt. I got a room in their offices, we started writing special material. For anybody who'd have us—at whatever price." They did not make much money, but they did work with up-and-comers Milton Berle, Danny Kaye, Phil Silvers, Bob Hope. One of his childhood friends was Lou Levy, who had gone from neighborhood bum to blackface dancer with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Lyric writing has always been a thrilling adventure for me, something I've done with the kind of ease that only comes with joy! From the beginning the fates have conspired to help my career. Lou Levy, the eminent music publisher, lived around the corner and we met the day I was leaving my first music publisher's office.
This led to a partnership. Lou and I wrote "Rhythm is Our Business," material for Jimmie Lunceford's orchestra, which became my first ASCAP copyright. I'd been churning out "special lyrics" for special occasions for years and this helped facilitate my tremendous speed with lyric writing. Many might have written these lyrics better—but none faster! Glen Gray and Tommy Dorsey became regular customers and through Tommy came the enduring and most satisfying relationship of my lyric writing career – Frank Sinatra; the song became the Orchestra's signature song. The duo worked for Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra and their premiere at Paramount Theatre, they worked for Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy and they wrote Until the Real Thing Comes Along. Cahn wrote the lyrics to "Love and Marriage,", used as the theme song for the FOX TV show Married... with Children. The song debuted in a 1955 television production of Our Town, won an Emmy Award in 1956; this was only one of many songs that Jimmy Van Heusen wrote for Frank Sinatra.
They were "almost considered to be his personal songwriters."Cahn contributed lyrics for two otherwise unrelated films about the Land of Oz, Journey Back to Oz and The Wizard of Oz. The former were composed with Van Heusen, the latter with Allen Byrns, Joe Hisaishi, Yuichiro Oda. Cahn became a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, he took over the presidency of that organization from his friend Johnny Mercer when Mercer became ill. Cahn died on January 1993, at the age of 79 in Los Angeles, California from heart failure, his remains were interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. He changed his last name from Cohen to Kahn to avoid confusion with comic and MGM actor Sammy Cohen and again from Kahn to Cahn to avoid confusion with lyricist Gus Kahn, he was married twice: first in 1945 to vocalist and former Goldwyn girl Gloria Delson with whom he had two children. They divorced after 18 years of marriage. In 1965, she re-married Mike Franks. In 1970, he married Virginia Curtis, a former fashion coordinator for the clothes designer Donald Brooks.
He was the father of Laurie Cahn and jazz/fusion guitarist Steve Khan who, early
A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has varying roles during the recording process, they may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements. A producer may also: Select session musicians to play rhythm section accompaniment parts or solos Co-write Propose changes to the song arrangements Coach the singers and musicians in the studioThe producer supervises the entire process from preproduction, through to the sound recording and mixing stages, and, in some cases, all the way to the audio mastering stage; the producer may perform these roles themselves, or help select the engineer, provide suggestions to the engineer. The producer may pay session musicians and engineers and ensure that the entire project is completed within the record label's budget.
A record producer or music producer has a broad role in overseeing and managing the recording and production of a band or performer's music. A producer has many roles that may include, but are not limited to, gathering ideas for the project, composing the music for the project, selecting songs or session musicians, proposing changes to the song arrangements, coaching the artist and musicians in the studio, controlling the recording sessions, supervising the entire process through audio mixing and, in some cases, to the audio mastering stage. Producers often take on a wider entrepreneurial role, with responsibility for the budget, schedules and negotiations. Writer Chris Deville explains it, "Sometimes a producer functions like a creative consultant — someone who helps a band achieve a certain aesthetic, or who comes up with the perfect violin part to complement the vocal melody, or who insists that a chorus should be a bridge. Other times a producer will build a complete piece of music from the ground up and present the finished product to a vocalist, like Metro Boomin supplying Future with readymade beats or Jack Antonoff letting Taylor Swift add lyrics and melody to an otherwise-finished “Out Of The Woods.”The artist of an album may not be a record producer or music producer for his/her album.
While both contribute creatively, the official credit of "record producer" may depend on the record contract. Christina Aguilera, for example, did not receive record producer credits until many albums into her career. In the 2010s, the producer role is sometimes divided among up to three different individuals: executive producer, vocal producer and music producer. An executive producer oversees project finances, a vocal producers oversees the vocal production, a music producer oversees the creative process of recording and mixings; the music producer is often a competent arranger, musician or songwriter who can bring fresh ideas to a project. As well as making any songwriting and arrangement adjustments, the producer selects and/or collaborates with the mixing engineer, who takes the raw recorded tracks and edits and modifies them with hardware and software tools to create a stereo or surround sound "mix" of all the individual voices sounds and instruments, in turn given further adjustment by a mastering engineer for the various distribution media.
The producer oversees the recording engineer who concentrates on the technical aspects of recording. Noted producer Phil Ek described his role as "the person who creatively guides or directs the process of making a record", like a director would a movie. Indeed, in Bollywood music, the designation is music director; the music producer's job is to create and mold a piece of music. The scope of responsibility may be one or two songs or an artist's entire album – in which case the producer will develop an overall vision for the album and how the various songs may interrelate. At the beginning of record industry, the producer role was technically limited to record, in one shot, artists performing live; the immediate predecessors to record producers were the artists and repertoire executives of the late 1920s and 1930s who oversaw the "pop" product and led session orchestras. That was the case of Ben Selvin at Columbia Records, Nathaniel Shilkret at Victor Records and Bob Haring at Brunswick Records.
By the end of the 1930s, the first professional recording studios not owned by the major companies were established separating the roles of A&R man and producer, although it wouldn't be until the late 1940s when the term "producer" became used in the industry. The role of producers changed progressively over the 1960s due to technology; the development of multitrack recording caused a major change in the recording process. Before multitracking, all the elements of a song had to be performed simultaneously. All of these singers and musicians had to be assembled in a large studio where the performance was recorded. With multitrack recording, the "bed tracks" (rhythm section accompaniment parts such as the bassline and rhythm guitar could be recorded first, the vocals and solos could be added using as many "takes" as necessary, it was no longer necessary to get all the players in the studio at the same time. A pop band could record their backing tracks one week, a horn section could be brought in a week to add horn shots and punches, a string section could be brought in a week after that.
Multitrack recording had another pro
Earl Hawley Robinson was a composer and folk music singer-songwriter from Seattle, Washington. Robinson is remembered for his music, including the cantata "Ballad for Americans" and songs such as "Joe Hill" and "Black and White", which expressed his left-leaning political views, he wrote many popular songs and music for Hollywood films. He was a member of the Communist Party from the 1930s to the 1950s; the jazz clarinetist Perry Robinson was his son. Robinson studied violin and piano as a child, studied composition at the University of Washington, receiving a BM and teaching certificate in 1933. In 1934 he moved to New York City where he studied with Aaron Copland, he was involved with the depression-era WPA Federal Theater Project, was involved in the anti-fascist movement and was the musical director at the Communist-run Camp Unity in upstate New York. In the 1940s he worked on film scores in Hollywood. Unable to work in Hollywood, he moved back to New York, where he headed the music program at Elisabeth Irwin High School, directing the orchestra and chorus.
Robinson's musical influences began with both classical music and American folk music and included individuals such as Carl Sandburg, Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly, Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger. He composed "Ballad for Americans", which became a signature song for Robeson after it was broadcast on CBS in November 1939, it was recorded by Bing Crosby, Lawrence Tibbett and Odetta. In 1936, Robinson wrote and performed "Joe Hill" known as "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night", a setting of a poem by Alfred Hayes, a fellow staff member at Camp Unity; the song became a popular labour anthem and was recorded by Robeson, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, among others. It was directed by Bo Widerberg. In 1942, Robinson wrote the music for a cantata on the life and death of Abraham Lincoln entitled The Lonesome Train, it was recorded in 1944 by Burl Ives, performed live in 2009 for the first time since the spring of 1974, when it was performed publicly at Mesabi Community College in Virginia, Minnesota as the headliner for the Mesabi Creative Arts Festival.
The 2009 performance was in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. With Lampell, he wrote the ongoing ballad that accompanied the 1945 Lewis Milestone film A Walk in the Sun. With Lewis Allan, in 1942 Robinson wrote "The House I Live In", a hit recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1945 and by others. During the blacklist period, Robinson wrote the music for and sang in the short documentary film Muscle Beach, directed by Joseph Strick and Irving Lerner. Robinson co-wrote the folk musical Sandhog with blacklisted screenwriter Waldo Salt, it is based on "St. Columbia and the River," a story by Theodore Dreiser about the tunnel workers, known as "sandhogs," who built the first tunnel under the Hudson River; the musical debuted at the Phoenix Theater in New York on November 23, 1954. In 1954, Robinson wrote "Black and White", with David I. Arkin, the late father of actor Alan Arkin, a celebration of that year's Brown v. Board of Education decision; the song was first recorded by Sammy Davis Jr. in 1957 and by Pete Seeger, the folk-rock group Three Dog Night, the Jamaican reggae band The Maytones, the UK reggae band Greyhound.
Robinson's late works included a concerto for banjo, as well as a piano concerto entitled The New Human. His cantata "Preamble to Peace", based on the preamble to the United Nations Charter, was first performed in October 1960 by the Greater Trenton Symphony Orchestra and a chorus, with Eleanor Roosevelt in attendance, he was killed at the age of 81 in a car accident in his hometown of Seattle in 1991. Mari Jo Buhle Encyclopedia of the American Left, Oxford University Press Don Michael Randel Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music, Belknap Press Steven E. Gilbert. "Earl Robinson", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy, grovemusic.com. R. S. Denisoff Great Day Coming: Folk Music and the American Left, Maryland Robinson, Earl. Ballad of an American: The Autobiography of Earl Robinson. With Eric A. Gordon. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810834332. Allmusic Guide Entry Earl Robinson at Folkways Records Earl Robinson on IMDb