Laine by Numbers

Laine by Numbers

An Era of Gold

People have varying tastes in musical entertainment. This is especially true these days. There are so many genres of music. During the years after the 19th century to the mid-20th century, there was classical, spiritual, inspirational, ragtime, jazz, swing, western swing, popular, country, doo-op, and rock and roll to name a few. These days, we have even more music genres.

In my opinion, the years from the 1930s to the 1960s were the best years for music—the “Golden Era,” if you will. Of course, there are beautiful things happening with some of today’s music. But sometimes in striving to be creative, or to provide a statement, the sheer magic of beautiful music, great lyrics, and individuality is sacrificed.

I was sitting and thinking the other day about a line or cliché that has often been used in reference to some singers. “I wouldn’t walk across the street to see him (her)!” I think a lot of people have felt this way in recent years.

This line would have never been uttered during the Golden Era of music. This is because singers like Frankie Laine understood that emotion, style, beauty, delivery, and class were important components in creating song masterpieces.

In our society today, people are free to choose whatever musical entertainment they wish. I may be old-fashioned, but I prefer the Golden Era.

Frankie Laine is a singer whose music has endured the world over. His legacy of music will continue to make hearts happy for generations to come. Why is this true? I came up with my own three reasons. I am certain that there are several more numbers that can follow.

Number One:

Frankie had a unique talent for delivering a song lyric. His style was innovative. He had a passion for singing. He had the ability to become part of the song. In doing so, the listener became as entranced as if listening to a narrator read a gripping story. The nuance in his demeanor dictated the mood of his vocal line. There have not been many singers who could portray this method of delivery.

Number Two:

Frankie Laine had a great, powerful, beautiful, and riveting voice. He could melt hearts singing a love ballad. His tone was warm and full. His was vibrato soothing. Frankie also had the power to excite through a unique song delivery style that had many refer to him as a “belter.” His voice is unmistakable. When he sang, the listener understood each word. He enunciated—while singing his way. No other singer I know of used vociferous outcries—applied only when needed for effect—and with complete class—in songs designed to sound earthy and rugged. Examples of this would include “Cut ‘em out, ride ‘em in—ride ‘em in, cut ‘em out!” in the song “Rawhide”—or, the “hey!” before the instrumental interlude in “By the River Sainte Marie.” This is the man! So natural! A vocalization of classic interpretation only where needed—much like a drum rimshot!

Number Three:

Frankie had the ability to sing other music genres and sound authentic. Listen to the song “You’re Wonderful” and compare it to “The Call of the Wild.” Both songs are wonderful Laine examples of great singing. Both songs are so different and yet both delivered so believably. It’s the same with “Gunfight at the OK Corral,” “St. James Infirmary,” and “A Capital Ship.”

Three of my favorites by Frankie Laine are in three different styles: “Thanks for your Kisses,” “Rocks and Gravel,” and “Nao Tem Solucao.” Each song is very different. Each song has its own style and beauty. Frankie mastered them all.

Of course, there are hundreds of songs in Frankie’s library that are inspiring, beautiful, exciting, and each executed by the unforgettable and talented Frankie Laine.

The Era

Yes, people are free to choose whatever musical entertainment they wish. I prefer the Golden Era where singers like Frankie Laine and his peers ruled. This was a musical era of class, individual style, and high standards.

If he were still living, I would definitely cross the street to see Frankie Laine. And I know I would have everybody else joining me. We would truly be “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”




About the Author:

Craig Cronbaugh, Director of the Legislative Information Office with the Legislative Services Agency at the Iowa State Capitol. As famed singer Frankie Laine’s special friend and a collector of Laine’s recordings and career memorabilia, Craig has written articles; has written, produced, directed, and hosted a distinctive radio program; and has appeared on Iowa statewide television regarding his Frankie Laine avocation. Craig has been highlighted briefly and has been given a research screen credit in the 2003 internationally distributed documentary Frankie Laine: An American Dreamer. Craig’s book, a memoir, Reaching for a Star, featuring his friendship with Laine, was published in 2005.