As we do every Friday, we take a moment to enjoy the music of Hoboken’s own Francis Albert Sinatra—born here at 415 Monroe Street on December 12, 1915.
A quick look at that math, and you’ll realize Frank’s 100th birthday is coming up. Because of that, a lot of people are starting to look back on the life and times of “the skinny kid from Hoboken.”
This weekend, HBO Documentaries will air a two-part special—“Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All”—directed by Alex Gibney (Jigsaw Productions). The program kicks off on Sunday, April 5 at 8 p.m., with part two on Monday, April 6.
“Focusing on Sinatra’s first 60 years – beginning with his birth in Hoboken, New Jersey and meteoric rise in his 20s – and drawing on comments from friends and family, as well as never-before-seen footage from home movies and concert performances, this unprecedented tribute to the beloved showman follows Sinatra’s growth from roadhouse performer to global singing sensation,” says HBO.com.
Hoboken will be very much a part of this documentary, as Hoboken is very much a part of Frank—and vice versa. Segments of “Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All” were reportedly filmed here in town—notably a few scenes at Moran’s (501 Garden Street), as members of the Sinatra family used to frequent the establishment that once occupied that corner.
Hoboken is proud of Frank, despite a tumultuous history between the two. To learn more about Sinatra and Hoboken, please visit the Hoboken Historical Museum. In preparation for Frank’s 100th birthday, the museum will be hosting its “My Way” gala event on Saturday, April 25.
As for “All Or Nothing At All”—the song—it was arguably Frank’s first big hit. Initially recorded in 1939, it was re-issued by Columbia Records in 1943.
In a 1944 interview, Sinatra said of the delayed success of the song, “That was the song, a few days after Harry James and myself recorded it, that gave us our walking papers out of the old Victor Hugo Cafe (a major entertainment venue of the 1930s) on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. The manager came up and waved his hands for us to stop. He said Harry’s trumpet playing was too loud for the joint and my singing was just plain lousy and fired Harry, me and the entire band on the spot. He said the two of us couldn’t draw flies as an attraction, and I guess he was right – the room was as empty as a barn. It’s a funny thing about that song. The recording we made of it 5 years ago is now one of the top spots among the best sellers. But it’s the same old recording. It’s also the song I auditioned with for Tommy Dorsey, who signed me on the strength of it. And now it’s my first big record.”