• Frank

  • The Voice
  • By: James Kaplan
  • Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
  • Length: 22 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (357 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author James Kaplan redefines Frank Sinatra in a triumphant new biography that includes many rarely seen photographs.

Frank Sinatra was the best-known entertainer of the 20th century - infinitely charismatic, lionized, and notori­ous in equal measure. But despite his mammoth fame, Sinatra the man has remained an enigma. As Bob Spitz did with the Beatles, Tina Brown for Diana, and Peter Guralnick for Elvis, James Kaplan goes behind the legend and hype to bring alive a force that changed popular culture in fundamental ways.

Sinatra endowed the songs he sang with the explosive conflict of his own personality. He also made the very act of listening to pop music a more personal experience than it had ever been. In Frank: The Voice, Kaplan reveals how he did it, bringing deeper insight than ever before to the complex psyche and tur­bulent life behind that incomparable vocal instrument.

We relive the years 1915 to 1954 in glistening detail, experiencing as if for the first time Sinatra’s journey from the streets of Hoboken, his fall from the apex of celebrity, and his Oscar-winning return in From Here to Eternity. Here at last is the biographer who makes the reader feel what it was really like to be Frank Sinatra - as man, as musician, as tortured genius.

©2010 James Kaplan (P)2010 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Fascinating.... For anyone who wants to know what popular culture and celebrity felt like around the middle of the twentieth century, this book is the new bible." ( Booklist)
“The answer to 'what is there left to say about Sinatra' is staggeringly answered in James Kaplan's new book. This story has never been told with such incisiveness, care, research and respect. With so many new revelations, you might never really know who Frank Sinatra is until you read this book.” (Michael Feinstein)
“Jim Kaplan’s great gift is his own voice, in peak form—stylish, seductive, and richly resonant—that stands up to Sinatra’s powerful baritone. This is a perceptive, passionate biography of an immense and immensely flawed musical figure whose life and legend continue to fascinate.” (Bob Spitz, author of The Beatles)

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What listeners say about Frank

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Both fascinating and tedious

Rob Shapiro is perfect for this book, capturing Kaplan's informal narrative voice exceptionally well, and carrying the listener forward through what at times can be a mind-numbing level of detail about the first 20-some years of Sinatra's career. It's a tribute to Shapiro and Kaplan that one sticks with the book for 20+ hours, as there are passages that follow Sinatra's trail on almost a minute-by-minute detail.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Story of a legend.

I have always enjoyed Sinatra since being introduced to his music by my parents who were raised listening to the crooner but learning about his rise and troubles made me appreciate the man even more. Throughout the story I would break away to listen to some of the songs mentioned, Google a particular photo or watch a movie he was in to embrace the full effect. Great job by Mr Kaplan on "The Voice" and I am now jumping into the second Kaplan book.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The authoritative book on Sinatra, Part One...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Great research and details, great storytelling and structure.

What about Rob Shapiro’s performance did you like?

Shapiro seems interested in making sure the listener understands the book. He DOESN'T sound like he's just trying to get through the recording session to get his check.

Any additional comments?

Top notch, all around.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ol' Blue Eyes, Part 1

There’s something transcendent in Frank Sinatra’s voice. You can describe it as poetically as you like, but it’s something undefinable that he knew he had, understood what it was, and honed for maximum benefit. With that skill, combined with an intimate understanding of the songs he sang, he would move anyone to joy or to tears. He could make you feel loneliness or desperation or longing. In the days of the Big Bands, Sinatra was the vocalist who caused the ladies to abandon their guys on the dance floor and gather around the microphone. He would go on to record over 1300 tracks and leave a legacy as one of the greatest vocalists of the 20th century, if not (arguably) of all time.

This book looks into the life of the man behind the voice, a peek behind the curtain at where all of that emotion comes from, how he learned to harness it, and what happened when it was unleashed without direction. Straight from Sinatra's own words, we learn that he was only ever afraid of two people: his mother and Tommy Dorsey. From humble beginnings in a world of toughs, Sinatra's rise, fall, and roller coaster ride through to 1959 is chronicled here in a voice reminiscent of Frank's own speech patterns. Between Kaplan's writing and Shapiro's narration, this is about as close to perfection as a biography can get in terms of style and tone.

The downside is that, as I mentioned, this book does stop abruptly in 1959. The good news is that in a couple of months, the sequel will arrive, Sinatra: The Chairman. It will most definitely be on my reading list as soon as it drops.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Very disappointed.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Yes, it would be nice if it covered Mr. Sinatra's ENTIRE life.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

What? His life was over only half-way through it?

Would you be willing to try another one of Rob Shapiro’s performances?

Not if it can be avoided.

What else would you have wanted to know about James Kaplan’s life?

Why would I want to know anything about James Kaplan's life? It's a book about Frank Sinatra? Don't YOU at Audible even know what you're asking me about?

Any additional comments?

Mr. Shapiro's performance was awful. I stopped counting his mispronounciations at a dozen. At the end of the book there is a stated director. What does she do? Sit back and do her nails? Apparently she didn't listen to the book, or else she was also unaware of how to pronounce the many words the Mr. Shapiro didn't know how to pronounce. Shame on you.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very thorough but incomplete

What did you love best about Frank: The Voice?

Narrator did an excellent job

What about Rob Shapiro’s performance did you like?

Great

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Frank Sinatra, Part 1

Any additional comments?

Dissapointed that the book did not cover his full life story

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great narration!

Rob Shapiro did a great job bringing the Sinatra vibe and swagger to the story. You should know that there is no mention or chapter about Frank’s time in Vegas or with the Rat Pack. It focuses on his life long love affair with Ava Gardener. And shows a vulnerable, and often neurotic to the crooner. Very well told though!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

reads like a cheap tabloid

how about more about the music? nothing about his music past the late 50s ugh!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Master storytelling! And a great story!

All fabulous! This is a 20 season television series just waiting to happen. Onto the sequel.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful and Surprising

I knew nothing about Sinatra aside from the platitudes, generalizations and one dimensional hero myths. I am in my early 30's so he was old people music to me when I was young (and ignorant). I love his music now and wanted a good juicy biography, ones about old Hollywood figures are my favorite, this did not disappoint. I found my self shocked and surprised in some parts but related to him even when I wasn't necessarily liking him. Really great read, I mean listen! I just started the follow up book Frank: The Chairman, literally the day after finishing The Voice. Great read for anyone who loves the Old Hollywood biographies, biographies in general and obviously for Sinatra fans.

1 person found this helpful

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