American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spanned nearly 75 years
Frankie Laine (born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio; March 30, 1913 – February 6, 2007) was an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spanned nearly 75 years, from his first concerts in 1930 with a marathon dance company to his final performance of "That's My Desire" in 2005. Often billed as "America's Number One Song Stylist", his other nicknames include "Mr. Rhythm", "Old Leather Lungs", and "Mr. Steel Tonsils". His hits included "That's My Desire", "That Lucky Old Sun", "Mule Train", "Jezebel", "High Noon", "I Believe", "Hey Joe!", "The Kid's Last Fight", "Cool Water", "Rawhide", and "You Gave Me a Mountain".
He sang well-known theme songs for many movie Western soundtracks, including 3:10 To Yuma, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and Blazing Saddles, although his recordings were not charted as a country & western. Laine sang an eclectic variety of song styles and genres, stretching from big band crooning to pop, western-themed songs, gospel, rock, folk, jazz, and blues. He did not sing the soundtrack song for High Noon, which was sung by Tex Ritter, but his own version (with somewhat altered lyrics, omitting the name of the antagonist, Frank Miller) was the one that became a bigger hit, nor did he sing the theme to another show he is commonly associated with—Champion the Wonder Horse (sung by Mike Stewart)—but released his own, subsequently more popular, version.
Laine's enduring popularity was illustrated in June 2011 when a TV-advertised compilation called Hits reached No. 16 on the UK Albums Chart. The accomplishment was achieved nearly 60 years after his debut on the UK chart, 64 years after his first major U.S. hit and four years after his death.
Actors about their rolesMusicWhen people nowadays say that Elvis was the first white guy to sound black, I have to shake my head; what can you do? At the time of 'That's My Desire' 1947 they were saying that I was the only white guy around who sounded black.
MotivationActors about themselvesI did all the usual things. I think I did everything that everybody else does. I did auditions. I went to see people. I went to see the right people in some instances, the wrong people in others. The wrong time in others. The right time in others. Nothing seemed to make any difference. I quit 5 times! I always went back to try again when circumstances came around to it.
MusicI fool around with guitar and I can fool around on piano. I don't really play either instrument although I can play a couple of songs on guitar. You don't really need to be able to play to compose. There are many composers and arrangers who work out of their heads.