Sinatra returned to number one on the singles charts for the first time in 11 years with the million-selling "Strangers in the Night" in July ; the song won him Grammys for Record of the Year and best vocal performance. On radio, there was Meet Frank Sinatra, which found the singer acting as a disc jockey; it ran through the end of the season. In April , he made his first credited appearance in a motion picture, singing "Night and Day" in Reveille With Beverly. His next regular album was a year in coming, and when it did, Nice 'n' Easy was a mid-tempo collection, breaking his pattern of alternating fast and slow albums. By , the market was glutted. Meanwhile, he ruled the LP charts. Before the end of the year, Sinatra had released two more Top Ten, gold-selling albums, Sinatra at the Sands and That's Life, the latter anchored by the title song, a Top Five single. Then there was the 10" LP Songs for Young Lovers, the first of Sinatra's "concept" albums, on which he and Riddle revisited classic songs by Cole Porter , the Gershwins, and Rodgers and Hart in contemporary arrangements with vocal interpretations that conveyed the wit and grace of the lyrics.
That month, Capitol released Come Fly with Me, a travel-themed rhythm album, which hit number one. He was able to take the work of great theater composers of that period, such as Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin , George Gershwin , Cole Porter , and Richard Rodgers, and reinterpret their songs for later audiences in a way that led to their rediscovery and their permanent enshrinement as classics. He entered the fall of with both a new radio show and his first venture into television. MGM was sufficiently impressed by these performances to put him under contract. James hired Sinatra, and the new singer made his first recordings on July 13, There was also the March compilation All the Way on Capitol, making for six releases in one year. As a result, record stores were deluged with five new Sinatra albums in The title was used for a movie in which Sinatra starred. It made him a popular phenomenon, the first real teen idol, with school girls swooning in the aisles. In the spring of , at the age of 55, Sinatra announced his retirement. On film, he appeared in five more movies through the end of the decade, including both big-budget MGM musicals like On the Town and minor efforts such as The Kissing Bandit. Sinatra's career was in decline by the start of the s, but he was far from inactive. The recording ban called by the American Federation of Musicians, which had begun the previous month, initially prevented him from making records, but he appeared on a minute radio series, Songs By Sinatra, from October through the end of the year and also did a few live dates. His popularity as a singer and his productivity has resulted in an overwhelming discography. But he remained retired only until the fall of , when he returned to action with a new gold-selling album and a TV special both called Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back. Sinatra agreed to a long-term, boilerplate contract with Capitol Records, which had been co-founded by Johnny Mercer a decade earlier and had a roster full of faded '40s performers. Nearing 50, he released September of My Years, a ballad collection keyed to the passage of time. He came to the fore during the swing era of the s and '40s, helped to define the "sing era" of the '40s and '50s, and continued to attract listeners during the rock era that began in the mid-'50s. That same month, Sinatra mounted a commercial comeback by emphasizing his own advancing age. In , he re-signed to Capitol Records and recorded Duets, on which he re-recorded his old favorites, joined by other popular singers ranging from Tony Bennett to Bono of U2 none of whom actually performed in the studio with him. Sinatra himself, meanwhile, while continuing to tour, had not made a new recording since his LP L. The wait may have caused pent-up demand; the album spent many weeks at number one and went gold. Although Sinatra had not yet completed his recording commitment to Capitol, he began in December to make recordings for his own label, which he called Reprise Records. In a professional career that lasted 60 years, he demonstrated a remarkable ability to maintain his appeal and pursue his musical goals despite often countervailing trends. It ran weekly for the next two seasons, concluding in June A follow-up album named after the single topped the LP charts and went platinum.
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