Frank Sinatra, the legendary leader of the "Rat Pack" and arguably the greatest entertainer of this century, died of a heart attack Thursday night in Los Angeles at the age of 82.
Sinatra, whose approach to song and style has drawn the adoration of modern artists from Bono (see "Bono On Sinatra's Legacy") to Chrissie Hynde to Hootie and the Blowfish, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he had been treated several times over the past few years.
Over the course of his almost 50 years in show business, Sinatra evolved from pop music's first swoon-inducing teen idol to a respected vocal stylist to an Academy Award-winning actor.
In the 50's, the singer was also one of the first to approach albums as cohesive works, not merely collections of singles. His releases from moody volumes like "In The Wee Small Hours" and "Only The Lonely" to bouncing romps like "Swingin' Session" and "Come Fly With Me" laid the foundation
for concept albums.
The soulful crooner also established himself as he branched out into films, and won an Oscar award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the 1956 film "From Here To Eternity," and appeared in such classic films as "Guys and Dolls," "High Society," "Manchurian Candidate" and "Ocean's 11," which teamed him with the other members of the "Rat Pack," which included Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin.
Sinatra enjoyed his most recent chart success in 1993 with the album "Duets," which debuted on the album charts at number two and featured performances by Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross and Bono, and the performer was honored in 1995 by an all-star concert for his 80th birthday.
Despite his many accomplishments, Sinatra may be best remembered not for what he did, but for how he did it. His swagger and his cocksure ways butted against his tender voice, earning him a reputation as a man who was equal parts lover and fighter. As U2 frontman Bono said
when presenting Sinatra with a Lifetime Achievement Award at 1994's Grammy Awards, "Rock and Roll people love Frank Sinatra because Frank has got what we want: swagger and attitude; he's big on attitude. Serious attitude, bad attitude. Frank's the Chairman of the bad. Rock and Roll plays at being tough but this guy, well, he's the boss."