Often billed as Americas Number One Song Stylist, his other nicknames include Mr. Rhythm, Old Leather Lungs, and Mr. Steel Tonsils. His hits included Thats My Desire, That Lucky Old Sun, Mule Train, Cry of the Wild Goose, A Woman In Love, Jezebel, High Noon, I Believe, Hey Joe. The Kids Last Fight, Cool Water, Moonlight Gambler, Love Is a Golden Ring, Rawhide, and Lord, You Gave Me a Mountain. He sang well-known theme songs for many movie Western soundtracks, including 3,10 To Yuma, Gunfight at the O. K. Corral, and Blazing Saddles, although he was not a country & western singer. Laine sang a variety of song styles and genres, stretching from big band crooning to pop, western-themed songs, gospel, rock, folk, jazz. Laines enduring popularity was illustrated in June 2011, when a TV-advertised compilation called Hits reached No.16 on the British chart. The accomplishment was achieved nearly 60 years after his debut on the UK chart,64 years after his first major U. S. hit and he was also known as Mr. Rhythm for his driving jazzy style. Laine was the first and biggest of a new breed of singers who rose to prominence in the post–World War II era. This new, raw, emotionally charged style seemed at the time to signal the end of the previous eras singing styles and was, indeed, a harbinger of the rock n roll music that was to come. In the words of Jazz critic Richard Grudens, Franks style was very innovative and his 1946 recording of Thats My Desire remains a landmark record signaling the end of both the dominance of the big bands and the crooning styles favored by contemporary Dick Haymes and others. Often called the first of the soul singers, Laines style cleared the way for many artists who arose in the late 1940s and early 1950s, including Kay Starr, Tony Bennett. I think that Frank probably was one of the forerunner of…blues, a lot of singers who sing with a passionate demeanor—Frank was and is definitely that. I always used to love to him with Thats…my…desire. And then later Johnnie Ray came along that made all of those kind of movements, hes one of those singers thats not in one track. And yet and still I think that his records had more excitement, and I think that was his big selling point, that he was so full of energy. You know when you hear his records it was dynamite energy, — Herb Jeffries Frankie Laine was born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio on March 30,1913, to Giovanni and Cresenzia LoVecchio. His parents had emigrated from Monreale, Sicily, to Chicagos Near West Side, in Little Italy, Laines family appears to have had several organized crime connections, and young Francesco was living with his grandfather when the latter was killed by rival gangsters. He later attended Lane Technical High School, where he helped to develop his power and breath control by joining the track and field
Laine in 1954
Laine and Patti Page, circa 1950s.
Nan Grey and Frankie Laine in a scene from Rawhide, 1960.