Who is the first person you think of when you hear the name Frankie? Avalon? Sinatra? Valli? If you were thinking Laine, then you are very much in luck, because he's the Frankie we're going for on this journey through Tunes on Tuesday. Francesco Paolo LoVecchio was born to newly-emigrated Sicilian Italians in Chicago in 1913. His dad, Giovanni, once had the pleasure of cutting the hair of none other than Al Capone, one of many gangsters with which the LoVecchio family had relations (Frankie's grandfather's life was cut short thanks to some of these relations). If ever there was a musician who suffered for his art, it was the younger LoVecchio. His magical voice was first discovered when he sang in an elementary school choir; however, success did not come to him right away. In fact, it took decades of struggle, toil and trouble. For a time, Frankie's troubles were such that he was living on a park bench in New York City's Central Park. But then he got a small time gig where the famous Hoagy Carmichael just happened to be in the audience and his fortunes began to change.
One recording deal morphed into a number of them. Then, he changed his name from LoVecchio to Laine, and he jumped onto the fast track to success. During a career that spanned eight decades, Laine sang with the big bands, he crooned, he sang pop songs, western, gospel, rock, folk, jazz and blues. By the time Laine died in 2007 at the age of 93, he had earned for himself the nickname of "America's Number One Vocal Stylist." If you want to listen to one of Frankie's songs, scroll down and listen to his version of "The Real True Meaning of Love." But if you want to connect with the man, come on over to the American Treasure Tour and enjoy his 45 r.p.m. record strategically hanging from a column in our Music Room.