James Kaplan: Sinatra: The Chairman

A brilliant evocation of the life, times and art of the late great appalling Frank Sinatra, the all conquering voice of popular music till The Beatles and all those other rock bands came along and conquered even him, though he lived life his way till the end.

The Chairman (Sphere) is the second half of James Kaplan’s masterly, highly-readable and huge biography of Sinatra. The first half – and the first thousand pages – was subtitled The Voice and offered major insight to Sinatra’s big band years and its many wild and dodgy characters.

This second half of the story picks up at the end of the 1950s and sees him through the Rat Pack years, the many love affairs, including his love affair with the mafia.

And the music, of course. And Kaplan’s very good on the music – so good he sent me scuttling off to find if I could still stand to listen to Sinatra and his old schtick.

I could. He’s good. And sort of eternal, of course.

Shocking crazy bastard though.

For musical accompaniment, try a compilation from his classy mid-period called Sinatra With Love. I found it in JB Hi-Fi for nine bucks.