Frankie Laine was born to Sicilian immigrant parents in Chicago’s Little Italy on 30 March 1913.
Ever since his recording of That’s My Desire burst onto the scene like a musical firework in 1947, praise has poured in from all corners, from young and old alike, for this gifted and versatile artist for top nightclub engagements, both in the US and in Europe.
In 1953, Laine’s stirring rendition of I Believe topped the British charts and stayed at Number One for eighteen weeks – an unbeaten performance that even The Beatles never matched.
His renown continued to grow as he went to England for a record-breaking engagement at the London Palladium.
His recording of You Gave Me a Mountain – a song written especially for Laine by his good friend, Marty Robbins – went gold in the early 1970’s, by which time many of his contemporaries had long since quieted down.
His hit records were followed by starring roles in several motion pictures, guest appearance on numerous major radio and television shows, and his own television variety program on CBS.
Laine became the first and most successful of the singers to be identified with title songs. He performed the title songs for seven motion pictures, including Mel Brooks’ Western farce, Blazing Saddles (1974), while his recording of Rawhide has become one of the most popular theme songs of all time.
Laine continued to record exciting new material while maintaining a healthy respect for songs like Mule Train, That Lucky Old Sun and Jezebel, which all his long-time admirers know by heart.
Many of these tunes were collected into an album entitled The World of Frankie Laine that topped the charts in England in 1982. Since then, this album has been issued in 43 different countries.
After recovering from a second bypass surgery in 1990, Laine began work on his autobiography which he mischievously called, That Lucky Old Sun. The book was published in 1993 and met with great success. His album, Wheels of Dreams was released in 1998.
On 12 June 1996, Laine was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 27th Annual Songwriter’s Hall of Fame awards at a ceremony at the New York Sheraton.
He eventually died of heart failure on 6 February 2007 at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego.