Biography

Singer, composer and author Frankie Laine was born March 30, 1913 in Chicago. His real name was Francesco Paulo LoVecchio and he lived in Chicago’s Little Italy. Frankie was the oldest of eight children born to Sicilian immigrants John and Anna Lo Vecchio, who had come from Monreale, Sicily near Palermo. His father first worked as a water-boy for the Chicago Railroad and he was eventually promoted to laying rails. His father subsequently went to a Trade School and became a barber. One of his most famous clients was gangster Al Capone. Frankie made his first appearance in a choir at the Immaculate Conception Church where he was an altar boy. At 15, he performed at the Merry Garden Ballroom in Chicago while attending Lane Technical School. He supported himself by working as a car salesman, bouncer in a beer parlor and as a machinist. He also sang at a weekly radio station (wins) for $5.00 per week. The program director for wins convinced him to change his name to Frankie Laine after he auditioned for the radio. His name was stretched out to Frankie because opera singer Frances Lane (Dorothy Kirsten) and Fanny Rose (Dinah Shore) were singing at nearby radio station WNEW. At 18, he went to Baltimore and participated in a marathon dance contest after coming off the heels of winning ones in Stamford, CT. and Chicago. Laine set an all-time marathon dance record of 3501 hours in 145 consecutive days in 1932 at Wilson’s Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey and his competition was an Olympic miler named Joey Ray and included 101 other contestants. Altogether, he participated in 14 marathons, winning three, second once and fifth twice. His last contest was back in Chicago at the Arcadia where a 14-year-old girl was disqualified because the judges found out her age. She later became successful singer, Anita O’Day.

Laine moved to Los Angeles, California and worked at a defense plant. One day, he noticed a boy struggling in a neighborhood swimming pool and saved him from drowning. His name was Ronnie Como, son of singer Perry Como. Coincidentally, Laine replaced Como on the Frankie Carlone band. Laine was working at Hollywood and Vine in the Billy Berg Club when he was discovered by Hoagy Carmichael after Carmichael heard him sing his song “Old Rocking Chair”. The house trio was led by none other than Nat ‘King’ Cole. Laine introduced the song “That’s My Desire” at the Vine Street Club in Hollywood, California. He was also a first class jazz singer and, by 1952, he was among the top recording stars and had his own show at the London Palladium. He also made a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II. In 1950, he married Nan Grey, an actress, and raised her two children from a previous marriage. He joined ASCAP in 1952, and his chief musical collaborator was Carl Fischer. He toured Britain in 1988, singing as vigorously as ever. He has experienced open heart surgery (quad by-pass) and still performs. In the 1980s, he observed children in a park without shoes in the wintertime and petitioned radio stations across the United States to raise money to buy shoes at Christmas time for poor families with children. Thousands and thousands of dollars have been raised to benefit this effort. Some of Laine’s finest hits include “That’s My Desire” (1947), “Mule Train” (1949), “Jezebel, Cry of the Wild Goose” (1950), “On the Sunny Side Of The Street” (1951), “I Believe” (1953) and “Moonlight Gambler” in 1957. He sang the title song for the hit TV series, Rawhide (1959), that starred Clint Eastwood in the early 1960s. He co-wrote “We’ll Be Together Again”.

In 2006, he appeared on the PBS My Music special despite a recent stroke, performing “That’s My Desire”, and received a standing ovation. It proved to be his swan song to the world of popular music. Laine died of heart failure on February 6, 2007, at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego.  A memorial mass was held February 12, at the Immaculata parish church on the campus of the University of San Diego. The following day, his ashes, along with those of his late wife, Nan Grey, were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

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Licensing

As the exclusive licensing agent for Frankie Laine, CMG Worldwide is dedicated to maintaining and developing a positive brand image for our client. CMG is a leader and pioneer in its field, with over 37 years of experience arranging licensing agreements for hundreds of personalities and brands in various industries, including sports, entertainment, music, and more. We actively seek out commercial opportunities that are consistent with our brand positioning goals, and we are committed to pursuing strategies that meet the goals of our clients, as well as our licensing partners.

Please contact us today if you are interested in licensing opportunities with Frankie Laine. For a full list of CMG Clients, please visit our website here.

 

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