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Word Count: 988
My speech today is on not just a man but a man who owns tens of millions of recordings nine Grammys and two Academy Awards some 60 films worldwide tours television specials and hundreds of millions of dollars raised for charities In sheer productivity few popular artists could touch the hem of his tuxedo jacket In pure smoldering style he was unexcelled His rueful macho star power ensured that the music and lyrics of the swing era would resonate throughout the later years of the 20th Century - despite a near-endless string of horror stories about his vulgarity hot temper and alleged ties to organized crime Frank Sinatra was alluring and powerful not despite his contradictions but because of them He was bigger than life but human as the next guy and keenly aware of his public personas many sides And yet he knew deep down that the music - The Voice - was clear enough powerful enough and passionate enough to eclipse the publics darkest doubts about Sinatra the man Francis Albert Sinatra was born Dec 12 1915 the only child of working-class Italian-American immigrants in a tenement at 415 Monroe St in Hoboken New Jersey His father Anthony was a boxer-turned-fireman his mother Natalie Dolly Sinatra was a former barmaid who often sang at family gatherings Their home and their neighborhood rang with the sounds of the Italian bel canto style of singing which Sinatra said inspired him to sing In high school he saw his hero crooner Bing Crosby perform live an event that inspired him to become a solo vocalist Between working various jobs at The Jersey Observer Sinatra sang with a neighborhood vocal group the Hoboken Four and appeared in neighborhood theater amateur shows where first prize was usually 10 or a set of dishes His first professional gig was at the Rustic Cabin roadhouse in Englewood Cliffs my Grandmother saw him perform there way back when where Sinatra
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