FOREWORD by Clint Eastwood
I first heard Frankie Laine when I was a kid. Of course, Frankie Laine came on with “That’s My Desire,” his big record. I remember I was living in Oakland, California - and everybody loved him - he became an overnight sensation with that record and then he had the ensuing “Shine” and “Kiss Me Again” and all these things did really well with everybody I knew. I know my early romantic life was definitely driven by Frankie Laine’s records and if you could sit and hum “That’s My Desire” to some gal, sometimes it had interesting results. Then he took another leap in his career when he came back with “Lucky Old Son” and” Mule Train.” “Mule Train,” I suppose, stimulated him to record great songs like “High Noon” later on, and then enabled him as the first choice to do records like “Rawhide.”
After we were in production with Rawhide that had been written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, the same crew who had done “High Noon,” had this title song “Rawhide” and Frankie Laine was going to sing it. So, I was very excited. I never thought that I would be in a picture that Frankie Laine would be singing in much less meeting him later on when Frankie and his lovely wife came on the show as guest actors. So it was a great thrill for me because he was a legend for me.
Frankie Laine was from a generation that doesn’t exist anymore - the singers in those days all sang a lot - they were on the road, they had night club acts and appeared constantly all over. So everybody sang regularly and I think that’s why there were so many great singers out of the ‘40s and ‘30s because they sang all the time. So singers were very ‘trained up.’
In those days, people sang all the time. The women singers, the Peggy Lee’s, the Dinah Shore’s, the Doris Day’s, all sang with bands so the bands toured and they were out every night singing. I remembered when I first met Frankie Laine I asked him, “When did you know “That’s My Desire” would be a hit?” And he said: “Well, they suspected it,” because every time he would do it as part of his night club act it would always get a tremendous reception. So he suspected that it would go and when it took off I guess they were not surprised.
I think Frankie’s individuality - and they all had their own individual style and sound - that you knew who Frankie Laine was the moment he came on. You knew who Billy Eckstine was the moment he came on… Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra…all of the singers of the ‘40s you knew them the moment you heard them - you could hear one bar and you would be off and running - you knew exactly who it was. You knew the difference between Ella and Sarah Vaughan - you knew the difference between Peggy Lee and Doris Day because it was a great era of music and unfortunately we’re not in that great era of music right now, we’re in an era which is mostly gimmickry and dictated by wardrobe. In those days all singers would come out and they would wear a suit and tie and musicians too - but there was nothing fancy - the signature was the sound and not so much the look.
So, when I was a kid listening in the car, with the old tube radios, listening to “That’s My Desire” and with one hand on the wheel and the other around some young lady I was trying to be amorous with - I’ve got to thank Frankie Laine for those moments. I’ve got to thank him for all of the help he gave me in those days and later on when we got to work on Rawhide together. All of it was a great thrill for me and I’m very happy to be part of this tribute book about one of my great heroes, Frankie Laine.
BACK COVER TEXT:
This book celebrates the life and times and sights and sounds of Frankie Laine: the trials, the rejections, the heartbreak, the hard work, and eventual victory, punctuated by all the complexities that make up the ubiquitous profession called show business.
The foreword is written by one of America's greatest film stars, five time Academy Award winning actor and director, Clint Eastwood, an admirer and true friend of Frankie Laine.
“I've got to thank Frankie Laine for his great music and the memorable moments of the days we worked together on the television show Rawhide, where I started.” - Clint Eastwood
Frankie Laine amassed twenty-three Gold Records including blockbusters “Jezebel,” “Lucky Old Sun,” “Cry of the Wild Goose,” “I Believe,” “High Noon,” “Mule Train,” and his signature million seller “That's My Desire.”
Within are the personal tributes, from many walks of life, by those who cherished their friendship or association with this gentle giant: Rhonda Fleming, Jerry Vale, Tony Bennett, Doris Day, Ervin Drake, Maria (Mrs. Nat “King”) Cole, Julius La Rosa, Mitch Miller, Ron Della Chiesa, Cristina Fontanelli, Frank E. Dee, Will Jordan, Ann Jillian, Van Alexander, Pat Boone, broadcasters Don Kennedy and from the past Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby, Connie Haines, Bob Hope, Al Jolson, and many more.
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