Frank Sinatra organized John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball in 1961, after campaigning vigorously for the Senator from Massachusetts. However, in 1962 Kennedy snubbed Frank on a visit to California—choosing instead to stay with Bing Crosby, because Frank was too “controversial.”
You don’t snub Frank Sinatra…
“Frank was livid,” said fellow Rat Packer Peter Lawford, who was married to Patricia Kennedy—the President’s sister. “He called Bobby (Kennedy) every name in the book, and then rang me up and reamed me out again. He was quite unreasonable, irrational, really.” Sinatra had done extensive renovations to accommodate the President. Lawford told writer Kitty Kelly, “When [Frank] got off the phone, he went outside with a sledgehammer and started chopping up the concrete landing pad of his heliport. He was in a frenzy.”
The Kennedy line was “security reasons,” but in actuality, it was Sinatra’s relationship with reputed mob boss Sam Giancana that made it unsuitable. “We blamed it all on the Secret Service,” said Lawford, “but Frank didn’t buy that for a minute, and, with a couple of exceptions, he never spoke to me again.”
Frank drifted to the right, and made it back into the White House with the Nixon and later with the Reagan administration. Many felt he was obsessed with the power, yet Sinatra seemed to possess a reverent awe for the office—he knew where he came from and what it took to get there.
— CNN (@CNN) April 20, 2017
For some readers, it might be hard to imagine looking back fondly at the Nixon era, but with the likes of Ted Nugent and Kid Rock gaining audience with “the leader of the free world,” we’re left to reminisce about a slightly more elegant time.
Here’s Frank Sinatra performing with The United States Marine Band on April 17, 1973 at a State Dinner for Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti: